for the development and diffusion of her artistic activities in France.” The first story positions Parra as authentic—naïve, unworldly, standing outside of the modern, which is symbolized in this case by what is arguably the most prestigious cultural institution of the West.
My contention that Parra “performed” her authenticity is not meant to imply that she was somehow a fake—my work is premised on the idea that authenticity (hence inauthenticity) “is not inherent in the object or event that is designated authentic but is a socially agreed-upon construct.” Neither object nor event, Parra embodied authenticity.
It was her defining feature but itself had no fixed definition.
It could thus take on different meanings depending on the time and place of her performance.
Although multivalent, authenticity is always claimed in reference to and thus constitutive of modernity.
It represents “a peculiar longing, at once modern and antimodern.
It is oriented toward the recovery of an essence whose loss has been realized only through modernity, and whose recovery is feasible only through methods and sentiments created in modernity.” Parra, in addition to visual artist, was a folklorist, composer, and musician.Her multimedia performance of authenticity spanned two decades and two continents.She was a leader of the 1950s folkloric “boom” in Chile, a pioneer and, [End Page 270] upon her death, a source of inspiration for the genre of 1960s-1970s protest music that came to be known as .In 1964, at what was surely the acme of her career, Violeta Parra became the first Latin American to have a solo show at the Louvre.During the five-odd weeks that her artwork was on display, Parra was at the museum every day.She chatted with visitors, put finishing touches on her tapestries, sang songs, played her guitar, served empanadas, and turned the exposition hall into a veritable Chilean The exhibit received favorable reviews in the press, and was visited by important dignitaries and a who’s who of the Parisian and expatriate Latin American artistic community.