As part of the plan to “include art” in the University City project, the initiative promoted by the architect Carlos Raúl Villanueva (1900–75), the celebrated writer and art critic Guillermo Meneses (1911–78) wrote an essay in which he listed the foreign artists involved. This document is of historical value because it is one of the first to mention the project, at a time when the Ciudad Universitaria was barely in the second phase of construction. This essay by Meneses was written in 1957 and is thus one of the earliest accounts of the project to be produced by someone other than its originator, the architect Villanueva, and pre-dates other essays on the subject by several years. Meneses explains that one of the criteria used in the selection of works was the essential artistic merits of each one. Though these works were by world-renowned artists, they were all expressions of contemporary Abstract art. There was no shortage of people in Venezuela who deplored that decision, but Meneses was not one of them. He thinks the choice is simply perfect and, in his opinion, is instructive for “young Venezuelans who are keen on universality.”
Unfortunately, the essay focuses entirely on the foreign artists involved, voluntarily omitting the Venezuelan artists who also participated in the project. Perhaps Meneses considered the latter too young to deserve being reviewed, and he merely mentions their names. His reviews are otherwise very thorough. If he had also examined the works of artists such as Alejandro Otero, Mateo Manaure, and Pascual Navarro—all of whom were members of the Los Disidentes group (Paris, 1950)—his essay would have made a significant contribution to Venezuelan art in terms of the harmonious blending of the visual arts into the arts as a whole.
For additional reading on this subject, see the article by Carlos Raúl Villanueva “La síntesis de las Artes” , in which the author discusses artists and movements that have expressed different aspects of the so-called “integration of the arts”; the article by Guillermo de Torre “Ciudades Universitarias México y Caracas” , in which the author writes about the artists who were involved in creating Villanueva’s project in Caracas; the essay by Sibyl Moholy-Nagy “Villanueva and the Uses of Arts: The integration of painting and sculpture in his architecture constitutes a unique achievement of our period” , in which the author discusses the integration of the arts and the relationship between architecture and other forms of the visual arts; the essay by Antonio Muiño Loureda “Ciudad Universitaria de Caracas: Una síntesis de las Artes Plásticas” , in which the author describes different aspects of Villanueva’s project; the essay by Victor Vasarely “Un sueño hecho realidad” , in which the author recalls how he started working with Villanueva on his project at the Ciudad Universitaria in Caracas; the article by Luis Navarro “Pintura y escultura en la Ciudad Universitaria de Caracas” , a description of how participating artists worked on Villanueva’s project; and, finally, the essay by Sir John Rothenstein “Una ciudad de todas las artes en Venezuela” , in which the author discusses the architecture in the city of Caracas and compares it to English architecture.