Though didactic and rhetorical in tone this document reveals one of the most important culturally historic variables that has nurtured the contemporary history of Venezuela, analyzed from a Marxist ideology. The mechanisms and consequences of transculturation anthropologically understood by Rodolfo Quintero (1909−85) can be similarly transferred to any other Latin American country suffering from foreign exploitation of its natural resources. However, the effect and impact of the “oil industry” phenomenon as a whole on the culture and contemporary Venezuelan society—and visibly on its artists—has been a shaping factor of unquestionable relevance.
In effect, “petroleum” became the central theme of some of the visual and contemporary artists in the country; and was also the primary raw material used for molding/sculpting and/or equally used singularly on aesthetic proposals.
From 1945 and until the 1960s, the realisms (both the social as well as the critical) had an ideological correlation to the oil industry as it was the topic used by artists such as César Rengifo (1915? 80), Pedro León Castro (1913?2003) and Gabriel Bracho (1915−95); contemporary artists like Víctor Hugo Irazábal (b. 1945) and Asdrúbal Colmenárez (b. 1936), among others, who made artistic experiments with petroleum and its derivatives to realize their works. Nonetheless, Rolando Peña (b. 1942) was the artist who to a broader scope profoundly dealt with the petroleum issues, the element that has nurtured his entire career in the visual arts.
This thesis by Quintero was expanded into a book entitled La cultura del petróleo(Caracas: Universidad Central de Venezuela, 1968).