In his newspaper column, as part of the long debate in which he defended art with social purposes against abstract art, Sebastián Salazar Bondy commented on an exhibition of paintings by Alfredo Ruiz Rosas (Galería de Lima, May 1955).
In April 1955, Sigfrido Laske (b. 1931) exhibited a set of paintings along social realism lines at the same Galería de Lima. By way of response, a laudatory text was written by Sebastián Salazar Bondy (1924–64), a writer and art critic who played a key role among those intellectuals who deplored Abstract art. Published under the pseudonym “Juan Eye” in the capital city’s daily newspaper La Prensa (April 30, 1955), the article concluded that such a “significant” theme—that is, a presentation of social problems—could only be fully expressed in the form of a mural. Bondy’s statement represented a clear reaffirmation of the Mexican paradigm that prevailed in leftist circles in Peru at the time. [See the ICAA digital archive, “Artes Plásticas” (1150342)]. His comments elicited an ironic mention from Peru’s leading ideologue of Modern art and architecture, the architect Luis Miró Quesada Garland (1914–94). [“En blanca y negra,” by Garland (865218)]. There followed a brief but intense exchange between Garland and Bondy, in which both addressed the relationships between form, theme and significance in art, as well as the possibility of an art hierarchy based on art’s social implications. [“Un ‘crítico’ y el arte mural,” by Bondy (859990) and “En blanca y negra,” by Garland (860011)]. The discussion extended to the different opinions of the two critics about another exhibition presented at the same time by Alfredo Ruiz Rosas (1926–2002), who was also a Peruvian painter associated with realism of the social sort, sometimes called “Neo-Realism.” [“En blanca y negra,” by Garland (1150360)]. [Note that Garland’s regular column was called “En blanca y negra.”]