Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art Home


Document first page thumbnail

In the first section of Sí y No, her column in the Caracas newspaper El Nacional, the journalist Margarita D’Amico publishes some of the thoughts on “today’s art” expressed by Claudio Perna, the photographer and conceptual artist. Perna discusses certain characteristic traits of today’s world and contemporary art, and makes the following statements: “art today is not what it once was,” and “art and life are never-ending processes.” D’Amico sees Perna’s words as a reflection of his thoughtful attitude.  


The journalist Margarita D’Amico (a researcher in the field of communication and “new media” art) was a friend of the Italian-Venezuelan photographer, conceptual artist, and geography professor Claudio Perna (1938–97). D’Amico and Perna worked together on a number of projects, including Fotografías Dirigidas, a documentary series about Caracas they produced in 1967–68. D’Amico published reviews on important Venezuelan conceptual events and artists in Sí y No, her weekly column in the Caracas newspaper El Nacional, devoting almost the entire column to her guests’ thoughts and opinions.   


This article by Perna—which D’Amico published in the first section of her weekly column on June 15, 1980—is of particular interest because it summarizes his theoretical and philosophical ideas on a variety of subjects concerning art and artists as well as the man in the street at that particular point in time. Despite D’Amico’s announcement that “Claudio Perna is returning” to her column—with his proposal for a subterranean museum in Caracas and his thoughts on the works of art in the Metro—he did not in fact address those matters in his article. The sententious style of Perna’s article makes it sound more like an expression of a universalist point of view than an opinion on a circumstantial question. From the very first paragraph, Perna speaks emphatically, sometimes sounding as though he were issuing a warning: “We live at the intersection of two forms of expression: one is local, spiritual, and historic; the other is planetary, material, and current. What we do not see or hear is of greater importance that what is visible.” He continues in this way, expressing his opinion on a number of issues, such as: technology is an empire that is born and develops with no ecological or environmental conscience; the greater freedom and independence that contemporary life demands of artists; and urban and cultural factors that affect contemporary mankind, among many other things.  


To read other articles about Claudio Perna, see by Luis Pérez-Oramas “El autocurrículum de Claudio Perna, escultura social y novela hiperrealista” [doc. no. 1161917]; by Roberto Guevara “Claudio Perna o cómo ser libre en la marginalidad” [doc. no. 1080814]; and by Elsa Flores “(Untitled) [Vivir quiere decir dejar huellas…]” [doc. no. 1063156].

María Elena Huizi
Fundación Mercantil, Caracas, Venezuela
Margarita D'Amico, 1980
Fundación Perna