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In this critical article, published in the exhibition catalogue, Roberto Guevara discusses some of the works shown at the Primera Bienal de Artes Visuales Christian Dior (Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Caracas, 1989), and sheds light on the complexities of Venezuelan art in the 1980s. This exhibition included the works of twenty-six artists and four special guests who did not take part in the contest (the winners of the 1987 Salón Christian Dior). Guevara points out that Abstract works far outnumber those representing other styles, such as Figuration, Figurative Expressionism, new imagery, and conceptual paintings. He mentions a number of works by artists who have since become established and well-known, and who were major figures in Venezuelan art in the 1980s, including Sigfredo Chacón, Miguel Von Dangel, Eugenio Espinoza, Meyer Vaisman, and Carlos Zerpa, among others.


The visual arts event Gran Premio Christian Dior de Artes Visuales was first organized in 1987. It was then restructured and transformed into the Bienal de Artes Visuales Christian Dior in 1989, and continued to be presented until its sixth edition in 1999. Throughout its existence, this biennial always sought to encourage and promote contemporary art in Venezuela. It should be noted that this first edition focused exclusively on painting, which was unquestionably the dominant genre in the Venezuelan art scene at the time, as indeed it was in the rest of the world as a result of the call for a “return to painting” in the 1980s. The essay by the art critic and curator Roberto Guevara (1932–98) documents the French fashion firm Christian Dior’s decision to support and promote art in this South American country, thus forging powerful links with Venezuelan art throughout the course of the decade. Guevara briefly reviews the exhibition and discusses the new decade on the horizon and Venezuela’s move toward the new millennium.    

Monica Quintini
Fundación Mercantil, Caracas, Venezuela
Roberto Guevara, 1993
CINAP. Centro de Informacion Nacional de Artes Plásticas. Galería de Arte Nacional, Plaza Los Museos, Los Caobos, Caracas.