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


Document first page thumbnail
Editorial Categories [?]

“I Bienal de Arte de Bogotá” [1st Bogotá Art Biennial], by the Colombian critic and curator Miguel González, is a newspaper article about the event that took place at the Museo de Arte Moderno [Museum of Modern Art] in Bogotá in 1988. González begins by listing the participating artists in three groups. The first group includes “the artists who emerged in the early 1970s,” such as Antonio Caro, John Castles, Ramiro Gómez, Oscar Muñoz, Miguel Ángel Rojas, Ofelia Rodríguez, and Hugo Zapata. The second group consists of “the artists who emerged in the late 1970s.” And the third group lists those who appeared in the late 1980s, including: Constanza Aguirre, Diego Arango, María Fernanda Cardoso, and Bibiana Vélez. In his article, González mentions the participating artists whose work he considers exceptional, and briefly reviews the winning work, Bosque recogido [Quiet Forest] (1988) by the Colombian sculptor Juan Luis Mesa, and the five acrylic canvas paintings by Cristina Llano.


The article by the curator and art critic Miguel González (b. 1950) appears beside “I Bienal de Bogotá ¿Corriente de aire fresco?” [1st Bogotá Biennial: A Breath of Fresh Air?] [see doc. # 1098354], the essay by the historian and critic Germán Rubiano (b. 1938). Both documents discuss positive and negative aspects of this first edition of the event. It should be noted that González was, at the time, the curator of the Museo de Arte Moderno La Tertulia [La Tertulia Museum of Modern Art] in Cali and was a member of the selection and prize awarding committee. He nonetheless does not flinch from mentioning the negative features of the Biennial. Rubiano, for his part, challenges the “excessive criticism” that Eduardo Serrano (b. 1939) leveled at the Salón Nacional [National Salon] in his presentation of the event in his capacity as curator of the Museo de Arte Moderno [Museum of Modern Art] in Bogotá. Rubiano also reviews several of the works in the exhibition and raises questions concerning the diversity of visual languages used by the participating artists. It is interesting to note that both critics separate the exhibited works into groups in order to discuss them, searching for links and connections that, apparently were not obvious from the curatorial arrangement.


The Iª Bienal de Arte de Bogotá [1st Bogotá Art Biennial] was open from September 1 through October 9, 1988. The director of the Museo de Arte Moderno [Museum of Modern Art], the cultural representative Gloria Zea, opened this space in order to exhibit the latest visual art works that were being produced in Colombia at the time. The Biennial caused some friction in artistic and art criticism circles, where it was seen as competing with the Salón Nacional de Arte [National Art Salon] which, in 1988, had been operating for thirty-three years.


For more information on the Biennial and the ensuing criticism, see the introductory essay in the catalogue for the I Bienal de Arte de Bogotá [1st Bogotá Art Biennial] [see doc. # 1098322]; see also the special edition of the magazine Arte Internacional [International Art], “I Bienal de Arte de Bogotá” [doc. # 1098306] and the essay by Germán Rubiano mentioned above.

Erika Martínez Cuervo
Universidad de los Andes, Bogota, Colombia
Courtesy of Miguel González, Cali, Colombia