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 painter Luis Guevara Moreno—a member of Los Disidentes, the group of Venezuelan artists living in Paris in 1950—briefly reviews an issue of Taller (1948), the magazine published by the group Taller Libre de Arte that was founded in Caracas some years earlier. The reviewer notes what he considers to be the magazine’s flaws, both in terms of design and content, and the lack of a “spirit of renewal.” He calls on the publication to reconsider its role in the country as the voice and expression of “new people.”
Los Disidentes was a group started in Paris in 1950 by a number of Venezuelan artists and writers who lived there from 1945 to 1952. From their base in Paris they decided to challenge the official education provided by the Escuela de Artes Plásticas de Caracas, which was based specifically on landscape painting and nativist art. In the spirit of their name, Los Disidentes sought to breathe new life into traditional and academic art through an assimilation of the values espoused by European abstraction. The painters in the group included Alejandro Otero (1921–90), Mateo Manaure, Pascual Navarro, Luis Guevara Moreno, Carlos González Bogen, Narciso Debourg, Perán Erminy, Rubén Núñez, Dora Hersen, Aimée Battistini, and J. R. Guillent Pérez, who was a philosophy student at the time. They were subsequently joined by other Venezuelan artists, such as Armando Barrios, Miguel Arroyo, Oswaldo Vigas, Omar Carreño, Alirio Oramas, and Régulo Pérez. They published a magazine, named after their group, Los Disidentes, which carried all their news, and appeared a total of five times.
This review by Luis Guevara Moreno (1926?2010) confirms the closeness and communication that existed between progressive cultural movements in Venezuela at the time. In 1948 the TLA (Taller Libre de Arte) was founded in Caracas—with the help of the Ministerio de Educación—by a group of artists who, though they were from different generations and movements, were all open to modernist ideas. The TLA hosted debates, classes, and lectures; and exhibitions, of course. It also published the magazine (albeit only twice) that is the subject of this article. Some members of Los Disidentes were very involved with El Taller before, during, and after their time in Paris, Guevara Moreno among them. His scathing critique of “his companions” at Taller magazine can thus be understood as an attempt to goad them on to more radical discussions, along the lines of the ideas espoused by Los Disidentes. This document shows how seriously Guevara Moreno took the latter group’s commitment to revitalize Venezuelan culture; this, in his opinion, gave him the right to comment on any kind of cultural activity in Caracas.
[For more articles about this group, see the following documents in the ICAA digital archive: by Alejandro Otero “Del arte abstracto” (doc. no. 813611), “Las ‘placas al mérito’ y la juventud” (doc. no. 813429), and “Mateo Manaure en la pintura: un joven pintor venezolano, en viaje hacia París” (doc. no. 813639); by Carlos González Bogen “La escuela ‘de los paisajistas’ de Caracas” (doc. no. 813695), and “‘De nuevo’ Los Disidentes” (doc. no. 813667); by Mateo Manaure “Carlos González Bogen: pintor” (doc. no. 813583); by Narciso Debourg “En torno a la pintura de hoy” (doc. no. 813597); by J. R. Guillent Pérez both “Lo latinoamericano y lo occidental [Parte I]” (doc. no. 813723), and “Lo latinoamericano y lo occidental (Continuación)” (doc. no. 813478); and by Pedro León Castro “De frente a la realidad: el balance justo de la verdad” (doc. no. 1074093)].