Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art

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Synopsis

The Venezuelan art historian Bélgica Rodríguez takes a look at the art produced in her country. According to her, twentieth-century Venezuelan art began with the landscape painters who were active in the early part of the century. She refers in particular to the Círculo de Bellas Artes [Circle of Fine Arts], which included the artist Armando Reverón. The second generation of landscape painters was part of the Escuela de Caracas [Caracas School]. They favored stylized forms and were known for their use of violent colors. Around 1945 many artists went to Paris, and in 1950, most of them became involved in the group, Los Disidentes [The Dissenters], and the eponymous magazine. Lyrical and geometric abstraction was then in vogue, as was the [virtual] Kinetics movement. The development of a variety of trends and styles indicates the diversity that distinguished this century in Venezuelan art.

Some of the artists mentioned in this essay are: Antonio Alcántara, Marcos Castillo, Pedro Ángel González, Héctor Poleo, César Rengifo, Pedro León Castro, Gabriel Bracho, Armando Reverón, Jesús Rafael Soto, Carlos Cruz-Diez, Jacobo Borges, Régulo Pérez, Carlos Contramaestre, Alirio Rodríguez, and Edgar Sánchez.

Annotations

This issue of Plástica magazine was devoted to art in Latin America; it was produced by Ernesto Ruiz de la Mata, the Puerto Rican critic, who organized the Centro de Documentación de Arte Latinoamericano [Center for the Documentation of Latin American Art] in Puerto Rico during the 1980s. Some of the articles included in this issue were lectures delivered at various conferences and symposia that were collected here for the first time; other essays were contributed by their authors with no particular subject guidelines. This was the first time that a Puerto Rican magazine addressed the question of contemporary Latin American art.

Plástica magazine, where this review was published, was an art publication that appeared fairly regularly in Puerto Rico. It began modestly enough in 1968, as the newsletter of the Liga de arte de San Juan [San Juan Art League], but changed its name in 1978 to Plástica revista de la Liga de estudiantes de San Juan [San Juan Student League Visual Arts Magazine]. Its very specific title notwithstanding, the twenty-one issues of the magazine explored a wide range of subjects within the broad parameters of Puerto Rican and Latin American art, filling its pages with retrospective coverage of subjects, such as the V Bienal de San Juan del grabado latinoamericano y del Caribe [5th San Juan Biennial of Latin American and Caribbean Prints] (1981), Puerto Rican architecture, and Latin American visual arts. The first editorial board of the magazine included Hélène Saldaña, Delta Picó, Cordelia Buitrago, and J.M. García Segovia. In addition to the many essays written by top Puerto Rican thinkers, the magazine published contributions from some of the leading Latin American artists and critics, such as Luis Camnitzer, Damián Bayón, Jacqueline Barnitz, Samuel Cherson, Joseph Alsop, Omar Rayo, and Ricardo Pau Llosa, among many others.

Researcher
Flavia Marichal
Team
Museo de Historia, Antropología y Arte, Universidad de Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Location
Museo de Historia, Antropología y Arte, Universidad de Puerto Rico, Recinto de Río Piedras