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 book is a collection of interviews with artists, critics, and cultural administrators who were active in the Antioquia region of Colombia, mostly during the 1970s. The prologue, by the historian Álvaro Tirado Mejía, begins with the emergence of the Nadaístas [Nothing-ists], the provocative literary movement, and helps to set the historical stage for the period when that generation of cultural workers began to operate in an environment that did not exactly encourage innovation. In the introduction, Félix Ángel looks back to 1976 when he published Nosotros: un trabajo sobre los artistas antioqueños [Us: A Work About the Artists of Antioquia]. He recalls the uncertainty of his personal situation: “(…) every door around me seemed to be closed.” The incentive to review his generation’s work once again (with the perspective granted by the passage of time) was provided by a desire to leave a record, especially in view of what he considers to be a precarious historiographical and analytical heritage. According to Félix Ángel, the Colombian curator, the result “is revealing and disconcerting in some cases” because it is “a tribute to the constancy of everyone involved (…) and an acknowledgement of the difficulties (…) they have had to face in order to get ahead.” This is unquestionably a document that speaks with many voices; it is a one-of-a-kind project, an essential resource for those who wish to understand the ambitions, successes, and failures of those who set out to modernize the culture of Medellín, the capital of Antioquia.
This document is important because, three decades after publishing Nosotros: un trabajo sobre los artistas antioqueños [Us: A Work About the Artists of Antioquia] in Medellín in 1976—a book that included 19 interviews with painters, printmakers, draftsmen, and sculptors who were active in that city in the 1970s, the so-called “urban generation”—the Colombian curator Félix Ángel (b. 1949) once again interviewed those among the original group who were still alive as well as critics and cultural administrators of the period.
The tone of the second book is calmer and more thoughtful than the first one, which was angrier and more rebellious as befitted the expression of a generation that was struggling to find its artistic identity by criticizing its predecessors and searching for new forms of expression.
In this volume, Ángel interviews several members of the “urban” generation, including: Leonel Estrada, Darío Ruiz Gómez (b. 1936), Rodrigo Callejas (b. 1937), Marta Elena Vélez (b. 1938), Javier Restrepo (b. 1943), Ethel Gilmour (1940–2006) who was born in the United States, Humberto Echavarría, Teresita Peña de Arango, Aníbal Vallejo, Hugo Zapata (b. 1945), Álvaro Marín (b. 1946), Germán Botero (b. 1946), John Castles (b. 1946), Oscar Jaramillo (b. 1947), Alberto Uribe Duque (b. 1947), Armando Londoño, Samuel Velásquez (1865–1942), and Rony Vayda (b. 1954).
Félix Ángel has lived and worked in Washington since 1977. He was originally with the OAS’s Museum of Art of the Americas, and is currently (2009) director of the Cultural Center of the Inter-American Development Bank. He has had over 80 solo shows in several countries and has organized a number of exhibitions of Latin American art.