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    Gego and the webs of the postnation / Gabriela Rangel M.

    Gego : Gertrud Goslschmidt 1912 - 19994. -- Houston : Sicardi Gallery, 2003

    Book/pamphlet article – Essays
    Rangel, Gabriela. “Gego and the webs of the postnation.” In Gego : Gertrud Goslschmidt 1912 - 19994. Houston : Sicardi Gallery, 2003.

This is an essay on Gego’s work written by Gabriela Rangel. It emphasizes the international acclaim the artist’s work generated starting in the first decade of the twenty-first century. The recent success is proven by the international exhibitions that have been held, and the increase in the prices these works [have fetched] at auction. Rangel cites an article by Robert Storr about the sudden success of both Frida Kahlo and Gego that also points out their marked differences. The writer analyzes the universal distinguishing characteristics that have led to a rediscovery of the modern art practiced by Gego. Rangel also notes Gego’s personal biography, as opposed to the life of the Mexican artist (Kahlo), which ended up the subject of a spectacular biographical film (Frida, 2002). Rangel provides information about Gego’s “modest biography.” Basing her perspective on the critical approaches of Venezuelan writers such as Luis Enrique Pérez Oramas and Rina Carvajal, the critic goes on to analyze how Gego is different from other abstract artists of her generation. The text points out the importance of the installation of Gego’s Reticulárea in 1969. The writer goes on to suggest a historical context for this reassessment of Gego, as a phenomenon that coincided with the economic crisis confronted by Venezuela starting in 1998. She discusses the subject of Gego’s art work and its development, which parallels that of Venezuelan Kinetic art, in contrast with the work created by Jesús Rafael Soto. Finally, Rangel identifies a particular organic mode of abstraction as a fundamental characteristic of the artist’s work, citing several of Gego’s series as examples.


Gabriela Rangel (b. 1963), arts administrator, critic, and curator from Venezuela, wrote this essay (2003) for a small exhibition of [work by] Gego (Gertrud Goldschmidt, 1912–1994) at the Sicardi Gallery in Houston. She addresses a range of themes that may stimulate new viewers to seek out the artwork of Gego, the Venezuelan artist originally from Germany. First, she describes the basic formal characteristics of her work, referring to the similarities and differences some writers have identified between Gego and Frida Kahlo, who were both descendents of European immigrants in Latin America. Comparisons are also made based on the coincidence of their being of the same generation, as well as the sudden success both artists had, which overlapped to some extent. Of course, these coincidences do not take into account the marked differences in their aesthetics, their lives, and their work, etc.

Rangel also discusses the matter of the place Gego occupied in the development of Venezuelan abstract art in the second half of the twentieth century. For Kinetic art, Gego served as a counterpoint to the artists who proposed some notion of progress in their works. Thus the author identifies an important time and tells how the sudden internationalization of Gego’s work came about, as well as noting the institutions (public and private), and art world participants in play at that time. She describes the [economic] situation in Venezuela, the exhibition at the Museo de Bellas Artes in Caracas curated by Iris Peruga, the subsequent exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the relationship of the art market to Gego’s artwork. 

Rangel references texts written by Venezuelans and foreigners (starting in 2000) that reveal a reassessment of Gego’s work through international exhibitions and the collecting world (following the publication of Iris Peruga’s essay) [that went beyond that public success]. There was also a revival of critical thinking about the artist that was in depth and specialized. 

Rangel is currently director of the visual arts program at the Americas Society of New York, an institution formerly known as the Center for Inter-American Relations (CIAR). This was the center that held an exhibition of Gego’s Reticulárea in November 1969.

María Elena Huizi
Fundación Mercantil, Caracas, Venezuela
Courtesy of Gabriela Rangel