Arts this week
Argentine legislature ponders how to save vandalized Rodin; human sacrifice on the ancient North Coast; abstract sculptor Martín Blaszko dies; mariachis convene in Jalisco, México.
The legislature in Buenos Aires is debating how best to preserve a 19th century bronze sculpture by Rodin, a favorite target for taggers and graffiti artists. The statue, one of three original casts made of ‘The Thinker’, stands in front of Congress. According to Clarín, graffiti is a frequent problem for the city’s monuments and clean-up costs an average of 12m pesos (nearly $3m) annually. Clean-up efforts began this weekend, but the Legislature is working on a more permanent solution and pondering moving the statue from its current, more public location.
Archaeologists working in Peru have found the remains of 33 children in the North Coast of Peru, indicating that the Chimú probably participated in human sacrifice along with the Aztec and Maya. Gabriel Prieto Burmester, who worked on the dig in Trujillo, speculates that human sacrifice was probably associated with El Niño. Another theory maintains that sacrifices might have been to commemorate the coronations or deaths of new rulers. The remains of camelids were also found with the childrens’ bones.
Abstract sculptor Martín Blaszko died in Buenos Aires at age 90 last month. Born in Berlin in 1920, Blaszko (born Blaskowski) grew up in Poland before emigrating to Paris, where he was influenced by the work of Marc Chagall. He moved to Argentina at the end of the 1930s. In the 1940s and 1950s, he joined the ranks of Latin American abstract and concrete artists, supported by patrons such as the Venezuelan Patricia Ciscneros and the Swiss Von Bartha. His work is featured in collections from the MoMA to the Tate, and was most recently the focus of a retrospective at MALBA.
In addition to his work as a sculptor, Blaszko was also the author of a number of theoretical texts on sculpture, including ‘Sculpture and Bipolarity’ (1968).
Last week the Culture Ministry of Jalisco, México sponsored the 10th Annual Convention of Traditional Mariachis. The convention, which kicked off with a discussion of the history of mariachi music by author Lilly Alcántara, brought together musicians, historians, and ethnomusicologists to celebrate the diversity of traditional mariachi music.
Ariel Dorfman on the ‘Other 9/11′–reflections on his time as Allende’s culture minister before the 1973 coup.
Paris Review’s Leslie Jamison meditates on Frida Kahlo’s painted plaster corsets, displayed at the artist’s home in Mexico City: ‘Frida’s corsets hardened around unspeakable longing. They still frame an invisible woman, still naked in her want, still calling to deaf men in the rain.’
A review of ‘Saving Private Pérez’, a new Mexican comedy directed by Beto Gómez. In wide release.
An interview with newly minted Peruvian culture minister Susana Baca.
A collection of cover songs by Latin American bands. Listen to Puerto Rican band Davila 666 take on ‘Hanging on the Telephone’!