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  • ICAA Record ID
    1091876
    TITLE
    Y la simulación en el público? / Marta Traba
    IN
    Intermedio (Bogotá, Colombia). -- Jun. 7, 1956
    DESCRIPTION
    p. 5
    LANGUAGES
    Spanish
    TYPE AND GENRE
    Journal article – Essays
    BIBLIOGRAPHIC CITATION
    Traba, Marta. “Y la simulación en el público?”  Intermedio (Bogotá, Colombia), June 7, 1956.
     
    TOPIC DESCRIPTORS
Synopsis

In this article, Marta Traba once again addresses the harsh and unsympathetic attitude of the Latin American public toward modern art. She explains that a lack of knowledge and a disinclination to learn, coupled with a presumption of connoisseurship, are the causes of the public’s negative reaction to modern art. Traba refers to the rejection of contemporary abstract art, explaining that those who revere the idea of “classical art” and dismiss abstraction do not realize that throughout the history of art, abstraction has always existed as a way of honoring the spiritual and transcendental values of mankind, which are different in each period of history. Traba provides historical examples in support of her argument and suggests that in the current period, artists are once again embracing abstraction as a way of restating the values that were interrupted “by the scientific curiosity and physical pleasures of the Renaissance.” She ends by cautioning that “those who so confidently disparage modern art might find that their insults come back to haunt them.”  

Annotations

This essay is important because it expresses a range of ideas that are typical of Marta Traba (1923–1983), the Argentine critic who lived in Colombia during the late 1950s. In the first place, it constructs a powerful defense of modern art—specifically contemporary abstract art—that is in line with the approach taken by Traba ever since she arrived in Bogotá (in September 1954) in support of the work of young artists based on the formalist theoretical framework within which she operated. In the second place, it reveals her interest in the public involvement in the definition of a work of art. In this case, she sees a need for public education to avoid mistaken and contradictory opinions. And finally, it shows that her arguments rely on the ideas of foreign theoreticians—Wilhelm Worringer (1881–1965) in this case—and on examples drawn from the history of universal art to explain the local phenomena she explores.   

 

Keeping in mind the artistic situation referred to in this article—in which some artists [among them Eduardo Ramírez Villamizar (1923–2004), Judith Márquez (1925–1994), Edgar Negret (1920–2012), Luis Fernando Robles (b. 1932), and the Peruvian Armando Villegas (1926–2013)] were experimenting with an abstract language—it was published in response to a number of articles written over the course of the decade that opposed abstract art and its supporting discourses. 

 

With regard to Marta Traba’s ideas during the late 1950s, see her book El museo vacío [The Empty Museum] published by Ediciones Mito in Bogotá (1958), in which she proposes a study of fifteen works from a variety of European avant-garde [movements].

Researcher
Nicolás Gómez
Team
Universidad de los Andes, Bogota, Colombia
Credit
Courtesy of Fernando and Gustavo Zalamea Traba, Bogotá, Colombia.
Courtesy of Casa Editorial El Tiempo, Bogotá, Colombia