Argentina-born art critic and writer Marta Traba (1923–83), who lived in Colombia for years, was a pivotal figure in the consolidation of Modernism in Colombia. One of the most controversial figures in the cultural scene in Colombia and Latin America in general, Traba lived in Bogota for eighteen years (from 1953 to 1969). During that time, she worked as an educator and almost ceaselessly as a critic, writing for newspapers and magazines, and appearing on television. She founded and directed Revista de Arte Prisma (1957); she also founded the Bogota Museo de Arte Moderno in 1963, an institution she directed for a number of years. As a result of that position, she became deeply knowledgeable of the Colombian art scene. Though Traba is known as the champion of Modern art in Colombia, in the final decades of her career her position changed considerably as she embraced a number of Latin American anti-imperialist tendencies. In the seventies, Traba began formulating a thesis on Latin American artistic and cultural “resistance,” a key contribution to understanding Latin American art. In this framework, “Propuesta para una doble lectura” is an essential text for two reasons: it was the last article Traba wrote for a publication in Colombia (in fact, it was published after her death); and it contains the most important of Traba’s bold formulations regarding Colombian art. The text—in which Traba mentions some of her favorite artists—is an overview of the critical work she produced in Colombia.
The canon and periodization formulated by Traba in this article have proven significant to writings on Colombian art history ever since.