Dematerialization and the Social Materiality of Art

Experimental forms in Argentina, 1955-1968


Award winner: Best Book in Latin American Visual Culture Studies from the Latin American Studies Association

Dematerialization and the Social Materiality of Art reconceptualizes mid-twentieth-century avant-garde practices in Argentina with a focus on the changing material status of the art object in relation to the country’s intense period of modernization. Elize Mazadiego presents Oscar Masotta’s notion of dematerialization as a concept for interpreting experimental art practices that negated the object’s primacy, while identifying their promise within the sociopolitical transformations of the 1950s and 1960s. She argues that, in abandoning the traditional art object, the avant-garde developed new materialities rooted in Buenos Aires’ changing social life. A critical examination of art’s materiality and its social role within Argentina, this important study paves the way for broader investigations of postwar Latin American art.

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Elize Mazadiego is an art historian of Modern and Contemporary art, with a global focus. She is a Marie Skłodowska Curie Fellow at the University of Amsterdam and holds a PhD from the University of California, San Diego.
Readers interested in the history of avant-garde art in Argentina and Latin America, global modern and contemporary art, early histories of conceptualism, theories of dematerialization and materiality studies.
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