No. 146 – July 2007.
He has just been appointed curator of the Rojas Art Space by José Miguel Onaindia, current director. He knows that he is now in charge of the difficult task of facing the legacy of Gumier Maier in a place that was foundational for the art of the 90’s. He accepts the challenge and shares his plans and ideas with us.
AAD: What is your current position?
MJ: Coordinator of Visual Arts, curator of the gallery and of the other activities in the gallery. I am the visible face of visual arts in the Cultural Center.
AAD: Who summoned you?
MJ: José Miguel Onaindia, the current director of the Rojas Cultural Center. This happened very quickly. I got together a week before ArteBA started. I felt that the gallery was empty, that there was no one in charge; I didn’t know him and I started calling friends who did know him. I showed him a small project of what I would like to do in the room and why.
AAD: Why were you interested in this space?
MJ: For various reasons. Let me start with the personal ones. I was raised in that room for different contextual, family, and circumstantial reasons. In the 90’s it was an interesting place to go, the first assignment I did in college was an exhibition at the Rojas, the Bruzzone collection. The first exhibitions I remember seeing were at Rojas. In 2000 I conducted an investigation with Valeria González on how the Rojas had discursively contracted, if it could be considered movement or not. I have a thesis on what the Rojas was in the ’90s and how it influences current art. I think it is the first place where I was able to experience the construction of something related to an aesthetic phenomenon. I have studied everything else, I love the Di Tella but I studied it, instead I lived the Rojas experience. On the other hand, I wanted to propose what I think I can improve on, because it is positive that if a place is empty, it can be occupied. I think that when Gumier Maier left, the Rojas entered a plateau, there were very good exhibitions and very good artists but there was no more curatorial imprint. People stopped going, when it stopped working. This demonstrates that contemporary art is not only about artists, but also about managers, and Gumier generated attraction for a whole circuit.
AAD: Could you comment on some of the key points of your curatorial proposal?
MJ: I want to talk about present-day art, but making it clear that what’s contemporary is nothing in itself, trying to find an avant-garde movement is the best way to cancel it out. And what’s new is not necessarily what’s young. The idea is to create an environment where if the new has to appear, we let it happen, and I think it will appear in flashes. Afterwards, the transgenerational. There are great artists with very new works like that of Roberto Jacoby in the Negatec exhibition. There are also young old people. Transgenerational is also transpolitical. In the ’90s the Rosa Light versus Rosa Luxemburg litigation was a discursive war, not a real one. My curatorial dilemma is that the art of the 90’s was many different things, but art history categorizes and understands the 90’s as the art of the Rojas. There goes another key point: in order to talk about current art or the art that is to come, we have to consider it as the art of the Rojas, after the Rojas. In addition to all this, the room will be experimental. There will be a laboratory for exhibition installing, which will be recorded because contemporary art today is a system of construction of artworks, therefore, the installing is also artwork. There will be two types of exhibitions. The other day at the gym I found the second categories I want to work on: High Impact and Low Impact. The first type of exhibitions would be high impact, longer lasting, with several artists. The second ones would be two-week performance events, a day of video art and various other activities. Apart from this, I am changing the name. It won’t be a “gallery” anymore but an “art space” instead.
AAD: You have behind you the strong legacy of Gumier Maier’s administration.
MJ: Yes, and it would be absurd if I focus my attention on it because what Gumier produced is unsurpassable. I’m going to put together a team, along with the one already in the Rojas. I want to implement co-curatorships and create internships for students in the Art History degree program from the University of Buenos Aires. The catalog will be simple, a photocopy with an important theoretical text and made at the UBA print shop.
AAD: Can you give me a preview of the program?
MJ: A “Street Art” exhibition for the first week of July. Street art, urban culture. I am also setting up a co-curatorship with Valeria González, in an exhibition designed in relation to what was once the Rojas and what is happening now, with artists such as Gabriel Baggio and Patricio Larrambebere among others. There will be book presentations in the gallery space, as Action Art. We will probably do it with the book by José Fernández Vega. Because I want to turn the space into small artistic actions in the deconstruction of the contemporary system, into small performances.
Máximo Jacoby was born in Buenos Aires in 1978. He studies the Bachelor’s degree in Arts, UBA (Universidad de Buenos Aires). He created the UNAC (National University of Contemporary Art), the first imaginary university, with real functioning as a work of art (2004 Proyecto Red de ArteBA). He participated in the three editions of Barrio Joven ArteBA 2005/07. He was a researcher at UBACyT (2001-2003). He created the Art House for Juana de Arco (Casas de Arte para Juana de Arco) together with Mariana Cortés. He teaches at IUNA, UNTREF (Caseros). He is also an Independent art critic and editor of cultural magazines such as Plan V, among others.
BY LAURA BATKIS