June 3rd - July 30th, 2023
Organized by Fundación Proa y PROA21
Sponsors: Tenaris - Ternium

To classify Pablo Helguera (Mexico City, 1971) in a specific role within the world of art would undoubtedly limit him. Rather, his value lies in the polyphony of voices he embodies: artist, theorist, writer, and educator. Even in his artistic production he uses various disciplines, such as installation, sculpture, photography, drawing, social interaction practices, and performance. It is precisely this chameleonic status that allows him to speak with knowledge of the facts about the field of art and its institutions, using humor as the main ingredient.

Metadrama presents -for the first time in Argentina- a selection of his acid cartoons that satirize the uses and customs of the artistic field, highlighting its contradictions, archetypes and protocols. No one here is exempt from his ironic gaze. His professional experience, for example in the Education Departments of important museums such as MoMA or the Guggenheim in New York -the city where he lives and works-, enabled him to develop a sensitive and assertive perspective on the habits of the artistic field that always crystallized in drawings that he shared with friends and family. But it was not until 2008, when he started the series of artoons, that he first introduced his cartoons into the public sphere by sharing them on his social media. The rapid viralization that artoons had and still has highlights the undeniable identification they generate in cultural workers around the world.

Formally, these cartoons are defined as single panel since they do not present a narrative journey like the one we usually recognize in comics, but a single scene with a line of dialogue that condenses the ending. The inevitable reference of this composition are the cartoons of the New Yorker or, in a coordinate closer to ours, those of Quino, whom Helguera identifies as an unavoidable reference in his childhood.

But it is not only through his drawings that Pablo wields playful criticism of the art world. In fact, in his first book, Manual de Estilo del Arte Contemporáneo (2005), with a hilarious pen he emulates the social etiquette manuals offering a parody of the art world. There, each field agent is identified with a chess piece, a theme that is taken up in the animation that is part of Metadrama, recalling the aesthetics of soap operas.

This presentation also seeks to account for his work as an educator, which develops in parallel -or rather intertwined- with his work as an artist. By chance, Helguera began working in the educational area of several museums from his student days, which inspired him to incorporate pedagogy in his work, later positioning himself as a reference on these topics of theory and practice in art. Betting on the process and open dialogue, he grants a fundamental role to mediation, defending the artistic nature of educational practice and vice versa.

Organized by
Proa Foundation

Tenaris - Ternium

With the collaboration of Asociación de Amigos Proa


General coordination
Sofia Reitter
Renzo Longobucco
Santiago Bengolea

Public programs
Rosario Garcia Martinez

Ananda Rigoni Aller
Ana Clara Giannini
Alba Rodriguez Arranz
Marina Gambier