The first permanent installation of Reticulárea (1969), the work by the German-born Venezuelan artist Gego (Gertrud Goldschmidt, 1912–1994), was greeted as an important event and was widely reported in the national press. This review by the Venezuelan journalist and poet Maritza Jiménez (b. 1956) provides a number of important details, especially about the history of the work, although some of the stated facts require clarification. The room was scheduled to open at the end of the year, on November 11 as reported by Jiménez, but the installation actually took over a year. Ester Crespin (Gego’s granddaughter), who did a great deal of research for her study on Reticulárea (currently being published), explains the process as follows. The room where Reticulárea was to be permanently installed was finally assigned in 1979. At that point, Gego began to plan the installation at the National Art Gallery (GAN). Proposals, designs, plans, and details were presented as part of the project undertaken by the architects Wenceslao López and Marisa Almiñana to outfit the room according to Gego’s specifications in terms of security, lighting, structure, and configuration. For one reason or another, however, the project lost momentum and time slipped by. Later on, in 1980, the Gego Salon at the GAN was readied with the help of the architect and designer Dix Branch. Reticulárea was finally installed a few months later and opened to the public on March 29, 1981.
As regards the “Dictionary” referred to by Jiménez—which was surely mentioned to her by Gego since the book is in the latter’s personal library—it should be clarified that it is not a dictionary as such, but rather a book called: Basic Spanish. Essentials for Mastery by Edward E. Settgast and Gerald F. Anderson (New York, Evanston, San Francisco, and London: Harper & Row Publishers, 1971). The review also claims that the work had been shown “in several places around the world.” It is a known fact that the only time Reticulárea (1969) was shown outside Venezuela was during that same year at the Center for Inter-American Relations in New York. As far as is known, this work of Gego’s never left the Museo de Bellas Artes [Museum of Fine Arts] in Caracas (where the GAN was housed for many years). In spite of such factual errors and exaggerations, which are typical of the news media, this review by Jiménez contains valuable information since it reports that Gego said that she was happy “because at last Reticulárea will have a home.” This documents the fact that the artist saw a need for a “specific place” for this “site-specific work.”
Translated into English by Paulette Pagani in 2010, this review is among the documents chosen for the bilingual book Desenredando la red. La Reticulárea de Gego. Una antología de respuestas críticas / Untangling the Web: Gego’s Reticulárea, An Anthology of Critical Response, María Elena Huizi and Ester Crespin (organizers)—to be published by The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Fundación Gego, Caracas.