Fraternity, Politics and Art

Museo de la Solidaridad was born out of the visionary idea of a handful of individuals—later named the International Committee of Artistic Solidarity with Chile of which Mario Pedrosa, a Brazilian art critic in exile was the president. The founding idea was articulated in March 1971 during “Operation Truth,” when President Allende invited international artists and journalists to “understand the process that his nation was living.” Salvador Allende sent an appeal to the artists of the world to support the new socialist path Chile was taking by donating the works of art. Words like solidarity, experimental, fraternal and revolutionary resonated in his letter. After Allende’s call donations from all over the world started to arrive in Santiago, 600 works in the first year of the museum’s existence alone, in a heterogeneous mixture of styles: Latin American social realism, Abstract Expressionism, Geometric style, Art Informel, experimental proposals, and conceptualist works. The idea behind this museum was also in tune with cultural democratization underpinning the cultural politics of Unidad Popular (Allende’s political party): to bring art out of the museums and into non-specialized spaces. This was done through approaches such as Tren popular de la cultura, casas de la cultura, travelling shows in tents, protest posters, murals (Brigada Ramona Parra), etc. Pedrosa also spoke about the connection between art and workers, especially Chilean copper miners, saying that works of art should belong to everybody. President Allende seemed to understand the new mission of museums when he exclaimed while inaugurating the solidarity museum in 1972: „This is not just a museum anymore. This is a museum of the workers!”…/we-face-neither-east-no…/

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