The brief but legendary life of Argentine artist Alberto Greco (1931-1965) was an adventure of the spirit and a revolt against the banality of everyday complaisance. Greco's artistic production included his extensive literary body of work such as poetry, plays and prose; photography, drawings, paintings and his "happenings," or acciones. His Manifiesto de Arte Vivo calls for a direct art--part of a reality that is palpable and meaningful and most of all, without the institutional intermediaries such as the gallery-museum-cultural space systems that are the purveyors of art and culture.
While still living in his native Buenos Aires, in 1951, he first published a book of poems; in 1954, he moved to Paris and a year later, had begun to show his work at Gallerie La Roue. Upon his return to Buenos Aires, his work was rejected for exhibition by various galleries. He headed for Europe in the middle of the 1950s where he traveled and lived until the time of his suicide in 1965 in the city of Barcelona.
For Greco, the art object was less significant than the artist's own social reality; in 1959, he removed his work from the gallery Van Riel in Buenos Aires where it had been installed, onto the street as the first of his operaciones artísticas. In Greco's own words: "My work begins when my carnival ends. I call it carnival, but it is not: it is the simply necessity of the spirit, of spontaneity, of the happiness of living." A provocateur and innovator, he insisted on the endless possibilities of living art; his Vivo-Dito project took him to streets in both Madrid and Avila where with the mere intervention of drawing a circle with a chalk, he helped illustrate his concepts about the meaning of a work of art. The artist however, continued to execute drawings, paintings and other works to the end of his life. His death was an act of defiance and a triumph of the will; he wrote the word fin (the end) in his arm and took barbiturates while continuing to work until he succumbed to the effects of the drugs.