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In this essay, Ruth Auerbach—the art critic and curator of the IV Bienal de Arte de Guayana (Ciudad Bolívar, 1994)—reflects on the challenge of positioning the biennial as a space devoted to the promotion of emerging Venezuelan art. Auerbach discusses the country’s situation at an international level, buffeted by constant changes wrought by rapid technological development, the swift dissemination of information, and the arrival of the new millennium. In her essay, Auerbach reviews the works of participating artists such as Alfred Wenemoser, Héctor Fuenmayor, Pedro Terán, and Roberto Obregón, among others; many of these projects were urban installations expressly designed to encourage citizens’ involvement and strengthen the relationship between art and the city.  


In this essay, Ruth Auerbach discusses how art was curated in the mid-1990s; she suggests that, at that time, most Venezuelan art salons were established along conventional lines designed to “legitimize the fine arts.” It should be noted that, when it was created in 1987, the Bienal de Guayana was only open to painting, sculpture, and drawing, and ignored performance, ephemeral, and non-objectual art. It was not until its third edition in 1991 that the biennial was organized according to a curatorial vision as an art laboratory that welcomed the most novel ideas. The same was true of this fourth edition, for which many participants installed their projects in urban public spaces. This sort of thing had happened at other international biennials, but this was a first in the history of art salons in Venezuela. 

Mónica Quintini
Fundación Mercantil, Caracas, Venezuela
Ruth Auerbach, 1994
Biblioteca Luis Simón Molina Pantin, Caracas