The editorial categories are research topics that have guided researchers during the recovery phase and continue to be the impetus behind the Documents Project’s digital archive and the Critical Documents book series. Developed by the project’s Editorial Board, each of the teams analyzed this framework and adapted it to their local contexts in developing their research objectives and work plans during the Recovery Phase. Learn more on the Editorial Framework page.
This is an essay by the North American curator Dan Cameron about Meyer Vaisman. Cameron explains that the artist’s grandparents originally immigrated to South America in 1920 but returned to Europe where they fell victim to the Second World War. Vaisman’s parents and siblings came to Venezuela in 1952, and Cameron describes the young artist’s life in Caracas, his time as an engineering student in Miami, and his decision to move to New York in the early 1980s and plunge into the US art world. Cameron mentions New York galleries, artists, and art movements as he discusses Vaisman’s status as a displaced person in the United States and speculates about the identity issues that appear in his works.
This essay by the North American curator and critic Dan Cameron (b. 1956) is about Meyer Vaisman (b. 1960), the Venezuelan artist, who was from a Central European Jewish family. Cameron sketches a clear picture of the young son of refugee immigrants who is forced to adapt to new customs and quickly learn the new languages and codes of a foreign country. It was written in 1993, when Vaisman was showing his recent works in Bogotá and Caracas. At the end of his essay, Cameron announces that the time has come for the artist to “embark upon his long journey home.” But Vaisman would not remain in Venezuela. His work addresses questions about displacement and identity based on his own personal experiences but not from the perspective of sociology theory. Cameron writes about the painter’s grandparents, who were victims of the war, and about his parents, both Jewish, from neighboring villages in the Carpathian foothills. He describes Vaisman as someone who has been displaced on multiple levels; in terms of his family, persecuted for generations, and as a member of a universal movement seeking cultural pluralism.
This essay is interesting because Cameron combines his biographical account with detailed information about the New York art scene in the 1980s, where Vaisman began his career, first as a gallery owner and then as an artist. The author mentions a number of artists, galleries, freelance curatorial groups, and clubs that were part of the East Village milieu, explaining that from 1984 through 1986, while Vaisman and two friends were co-proprietors of the International With Monument gallery, Vaisman was one of the most influential young gallery owners around. Cameron also describes the changes that were happening in aesthetic movements and the new styles that were emerging at the time: Neo Pop, the Neo Conceptualists, and Neo-Geo, where Vaisman is usually positioned.
This version was published in the Catálogo/Guía de Estudio Nº 136. Exposición # 142.CCS-10. Arte venezolano actual, p. 54, thanks to Andrés Cardinale’s excellent translation into Spanish.