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.
In his introduction to the debate that pitted figuration against abstraction, Miguel Otero Silva discusses recent Venezuelan art. He identifies the main teachers at the Escuela de Artes Plásticas y Aplicadas de Caracas and the members of the jury at the Salón Oficial de Arte Venezolano. In his opinion, contemporary abstract painters were encouraged and mentored during their youth by all of them, and he acknowledges some of them by name. However, he claims that their life in Paris, and especially the Los Disidentes magazine, expressed a critical view “that was borderline insulting.” After their return to Venezuela, they boycotted the Salón Oficial and submitted no work there, which is why the writer now congratulates them for having had second thoughts, and welcomes a state of mutual respect.
Having responded rather aggressively in his first article (“Sobre unas declaraciones disidentes del pintor Alejandro Otero”), written in defense of tradition and against abstract art, the writer Miguel Otero Silva (1908–85) now returns with a far calmer, more reasoned discussion about his ideas on the subject. He once again deplores the irreverence of the painters who were members of the Los Disidentes group (Paris, 1950), describing it as a “previous story” that pre-dated his series of nine articles. The fact that the two men involved in the debate were cousins helped to set the tone of the far-reaching debate that was followed by interested readers in El Nacional, the Caracas newspaper. The debate between Miguel Otero Silva and Alejandro Otero Rodríguez was widely read and was reviewed in other countries (Colombia, Cuba, and Argentina). Its importance was underscored by the number of times it has been reprinted in Venezuela (1957, 1967, 1976, 1980, 1993, and 2001).
[For other articles by Miguel Otero Silva on this subject, see in the ICAA digital archive “II. Una división sin contenido plástico. Conceptos concretos sobre la pintura abstracta” (doc. no. 855992); “III. Aparición y desarrollo del abstraccionismo. Conceptos concretos sobre la pintura abstracta” (doc. no. 856012); “IV. Ubicación social del abstraccionismo. Conceptos concretos sobre la pintura abstracta” (doc. no. 856031); “V. Sobre el mundo interior de los abstraccionistas. Conceptos concretos sobre la pintura abstracta” (doc. no. 856050); “VI. El regreso a lo funcional y lo decorativo. Conceptos concretos sobre la pintura abstracta” (doc. no. 856069); “VII. Formas nuevas y sinceridad. Conceptos concretos sobre la pintura abstracta” (doc. no. 856923); and “VIII. Orientaciones de una nueva pintura. Conceptos concretos sobre la pintura abstracta.” (doc. no. 8569442)].
[It all begins with the first reply by Miguel Otero Silva to Alejandro Otero entitled “Sobre unas declaraciones disidentes del pintor Alejandro Otero Rodríguez” (doc. no. 813737)].