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In this article, Juan Calzadilla protests against the indifference shown by national critics to the caricatures of Pedro León Zapata. The author explains why he thinks Zapata’s drawings should be considered works of art in the drawing and graphic arts fields, notwithstanding the fact that they were not originally presented as such. Calzadilla claims that Zapata’s ironic portrayal of everyday life in Venezuela is not the only basis for the expressive power of these caricatures (though this aspect is certainly important from a historical and social perspective); the artist also includes a number of technical challenges that rival those that can be found in any work of art expressed in other genres.
To date (June 2009), and ever since 1965, the Venezuelan painter, draftsman, and humorist Pedro León Zapata (1927?2015) has published his caricatures about life in Venezuelan sociopolitical, historical, and social circles in El Nacional, the Caracas newspaper. In 1968, he compiled his earlier work into a book titled Zapatazos and organized a homonymous exhibition at the Galería XX2 in Caracas and at the Librería Logos (a bookstore in Maracaibo, in the state of Zulia). In response to the indifference shown by the critics to these exhibitions, the critic Juan Calzadilla (b. 1931) wrote this article to explain why he thought Zapata should be included in contemporary art exhibitions and reviews, based on his highly contemporary commentary rendered in the ancient technique of drawing. This article is also interesting because of what the author has to say about the critics’ objectives and their opinions on the subject of art for the masses.
This document was originally published under the title “Consideraciones inoportunas sobre un dibujante llamado Zapata” in the above mentioned newspaper El Nacional (Caracas, February 2, 1969), and in the catalogue for the exhibition Zapaterías (Mérida: Galería Caracol, 1971).