An Established Movement Or A Fleeting Affair?

June 10, 2015

Cheverismo’s most striking merit is the network of complicities that a group of young curators, artists, and managers of alternative spaces have established in the region and beyond. Why would mutual support and socialization not be valid strategies? Moreover, which professional group is free of exclusions and intrigues?

Cheverismo is a logical reaction to our neoliberal era. Institutional aid to culture is either too small or too imposing. Instead of protesting or begging, the Cheveristas turn their back on what is of no use to them. They are inventive and incisive. They have a practical sense without sacrificing the pleasures of nonsense. Distanced from their countries’ atrocious dictatorships and civil wars by one or more generations, many scoff at the old culture of complaint and reject any ideology or dogma—calling Marxist, conservative, academic, or theoretical speculations "pretentious" and "boring".

They refuse to live from the "love and control" of corporations, bureaucracies, or NGOs. The market sets the rules but these young artists and managers are ready to take advantage of it. Their spaces are emerging art galleries, experimental cinemas, venues for lectures, debates, and activities of all sorts, shops that sell accessories designed by artists, restaurants, and bars. This hybrid model attracts a young and diverse crowd, and allows greater autonomy, improvisation, and flexibility than the one financially dependent on boards of trustees or nonprofit organizations.

Their "ethical" use of modest or indigenous materials is evident, as well as their relational vocation, whose roots go back to both the outstanding work of Virginia Pérez-Ratton in Central America and to the phenomenon that made critic Nicholas Bourriaud and artists like Rikrit Tiravanija or Carlos Amorales famous. On the one hand, Cheveristas seek to get out of the Latin-Americanist ghetto by "dismantling identity essentialisms" (in the words of Inti Guerrero) and researching historical and global realities. On the other hand, Pablo León de la Barra—the leading voice of this rather amorphous network—proposes to infect the world of "tropicalism": a chaotic, sensual, joyful, and liberating mental state.

Is Cheverismo an established movement or a fleeting affair? To know this would require a constant reflection (and yes, guys, even if boring and pretentious) on the unique aesthetic of the Cheverista economy of friendship. Or is it the economy of the Cheverista friendship?