It is in this text—the final article in a polemic series of writings on abstract art—that Miguel Otero Silva (1908–85) first makes direct reference to the series of “three long articles” written by painter Alejandro Otero (1921?90), dismissing them as the fanaticism of one who idealizes the Middle Ages. A writer and journalist, Otero Silva uses aggressive language that wavers between irony and mockery as he disparages a whole generation of artists that, unlike his own, did not confront the dictatorship of General Juan Vicente Gómez (1908?35). Otero Silva claims that that generation is not intellectually capable of grasping a Modernism evident as early as Caracas’s Ciudad Universitaria. As committed to the Western tradition as young artists are to new art, he reveals himself to be a staunch defender of “representative” painting. His greatest criticism, however, is reserved for those who participated in Ciudad Universitaria as a project to “synthesize the arts,” one that—in the opinion of Otera Silva and many others—was funded by the military dictatorship of Marcos Pérez Jiménez (1952?58). The most annoying feature of Otero Silva’s argument, though, is how he categorically writes off young painters who, because from the provinces of Venezuela, are not academically trained. That, in Otero Silva’s view, disqualifies them as artists, especially when it comes to engaging the complex theories of art that have emerged in a scientific and technological world. However, Otero Silva’s discriminatory stance was unusual in Venezuela. There was great public interest in the polemic between Miguel Otero Silva and Alejandro Otero Rodríguez; it was written about abroad (in Colombia, Cuba, and Argentina) and has been reproduced in Venezuela on a number of occasions (in 1957, 1967, 1976, 1980, 1993, and 2001).
[For other articles on this topic by Miguel Otero Silva, see in the ICAA digital archive “I. Un relato necesario. Conceptos concretos sobre la pintura abstracta” (855537); “II. Una división sin contenido plástico. Conceptos concretos sobre la pintura abstracta” (855992); “III. Aparición y desarrollo del abstraccionismo. Conceptos concretos sobre la pintura abstracta” (856012); “IV. Ubicación social del abstraccionismo. Conceptos concretos sobre la pintura abstracta” (856031); “V. Sobre el mundo interior de los abstraccionistas. Conceptos concretos sobre la pintura abstracta” (856050); “VI. El regreso a lo funcional y lo decorativo. Conceptos concretos sobre la pintura abstracta” (856069); “VII. Formas nuevas y sinceridad. Conceptos concretos sobre la pintura abstracta” (856923); and “VIII. Orientaciones de la nueva pintura: Conceptos concretos sobre la pintura abstracta” (856942)].
[For the first of the texts by Otero Silva written in response to Otero, see “Sobre unas declaraciones disidentes del pintor Alejandro Otero Rodríguez” (813737)].