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In this text, the critic Francisco Da Antonio reviews an exhibition of drawings by the Venezuelan painter Pascual Navarro held at Galería XX2 in Caracas. The review questions the intrinsic nature of a retrospective exhibition that does not include any current work. Moreover, since these works were created in the 1940s and 1950s, the writer believes that they are completely removed from contemporary art issues. Using an ironic tone, Da Antonio undertakes a description of some of the pieces being exhibited, emphasizing that they may only be seen as the work of a brilliant, gifted student.
This critical review by Francisco Da Antonio is one of the few testimonies extant on this exhibition of drawings by Pascual Navarro (1923–1985). The title of the show, which opened in September 1968, was Dibujos y pasteles. Based on the title, it is understood that Navarro (or whomever organized the exhibition) did not intend it to be a retrospective. In other words, the lack of current work in an event of that kind would have been unsuitable and incongruous. The writer neglects to mention the painter’s participation in the group Los Disidentes or the work produced by the artist in Paris in the 1950s. After almost twenty-one years abroad, Navarro had a nervous breakdown in Madrid (in early 1968), which resulted in a stay in a psychiatric clinic. This was one of the reasons that led the Instituto Nacional de Cultura y Bellas Artes to arrange for his final return to Venezuela. Starting that year, Navarro would create less artwork every year. What the artist did do, from time to time, was give talks, offer painting classes and participate in public debates related to Venezuela’s cultural milieu. The text [at hand], “Pascual Navarro Velásquez. 1968. Notas sobre una personalidad controversial,” first appeared in the Revista Imagen, No. 30, Caracas, August 1–15, 1968 (pp. 18–19). This was one of the key articles on the painter’s development as of that date.