In this article written for his weekly column in El Comercio, the architect Luis Miró Quesada Garland takes up an energetic defense of Modern art and Abstract art in the context of a review of several local exhibitions showing works by the Peruvian painters Sigfrido Laske and Macedonio de la Torre (1893–1981), respectively.
In April 1955, Sigfrido Laske (b. 1931) exhibited a set of paintings along social realism lines at the 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). 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.” [“Artes Plásticas,” by Bondy (1150376) and one more article written for Garland’s column “En blanca y negra” (1150360)].