MINUCODE—a blend of the artist’s name and the word “code”—was commissioned by the Center for Inter-American Relations (now the Americas Society) in New York in 1968. Interested in exploring the social codes of the arts, business, fashion, and politics, Marta Minujín decided she would host four cocktail parties attended by people working in those fields. She enlisted participants via newspaper advertisements, which described the work as a “social environment” and included a precise yet playful questionnaire inviting responders to categorize themselves according to their occupation and interests.
Minujín received over 1,000 replies, from which guest lists were created. The parties took place over four consecutive nights at the CIAR, where participants were filmed and then invited back a few days later to see the films projected onto the walls of the gallery. Transforming the space into an immersive architecture of moving images, Minujín later reflected, “I wanted them to see themselves ‘backward,’ to observe their own behaviors, to watch their own social interactions.”
Organized by Ana Janevski, Curator, Department of Media and Performance, and Inés Katzenstein, Curator of Latin American Art, Department of Drawings and Prints, and Director of the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Research Institute for the Study of Art from Latin America, with Danielle Johnson, former Curatorial Assistant, Department of Drawings and Prints.