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.
The critic Juan Calzadilla reviews the work of the participants in the Gran Premio Christian Dior de Artes Visuales (Caracas, 1987), after ranting about Venezuelan art critics and art salons. He describes that milieu—of what he calls partisan and proselytizing entities—as being rife with indifference, open confrontations, and a lack of dialogue. He nonetheless acknowledges a flourishing of the arts, characterized by a level of heterogeneity that is substantiated by the event of the Christian Dior firm. In his essay, Calzadilla describes the exhibition in detail and reviews the works of the twenty-six participating artists, including Carmelo Niño, Énder Cepeda, Corina Briceño, Ernesto León, Javier Level, Felipe Herrera, and Jorge Pizzani, among many others.
This essay by Juan Calzadilla (b. 1931) is important because it sheds light on his views concerning the art world in Venezuela; views that are made quite clear in his harsh indictment of the roles played by local critics and art salon exhibitions. The essay also acknowledges the efforts made by the private sector (in this case the Christian Dior company) to promote contemporary art and lend their support to the relevant government agencies. While on that subject, it should be noted that Christian Dior sponsored cultural events in other Latin American countries (Mexico and Brazil), and in 1987, invited twenty-six well-known Venezuelan artists to create original works based on the theme of “woman.” Two years later, in 1989, the Bienal de Artes Visuales Christian Dior was created and became a fixture for the following decade, until its sixth and final presentation in 1999.