The Search for a Legible Iconography

Lawrence Alloway


PSU Libraries 2010

Art Forum

Vol. 11

  • p. 75

To exploit a phrase of Marx’s, Latin American artists are driven by the nostalgia for a content. This content must take account of a complex situation: though complex it is known to everybody and announced continually it is the interplay of European, Spanish (a special case), North American, and Indian culture.

Max Bense has pointed out that “the path of a sign is simultaneously the path of its alteration.”

1 Bense was commenting on the diffusion of the emblem Aloisio Magalhães designed for the fourth centennial of Rio de Janeiro, but the point is applicable to all the transmissable signs in a nation’s inventory.

  • p. 77

Popular culture, as it was produced in the past and as it continues today, urban and rural, could be included in the program. The study of Indian culture, its subjection to live esthetic judgment, is overdue and could be expected to contribute to the search for a legible imagery derived from regional sources.

1. Max Bense, nachwort in Aloisio Magalhães, Der Weg Eines Zeichens, trans. Joachim Neugroschel, Stuttgart, 1969.


M Library 2009

Network: art ant the complex present – Contemporary American art critics

  • p. 125