Art in Revolutionary Venezuela: Abandonment and Isolation


Yesterday I discovered, after reading an article in El Universal (One of Venezuela’s most important newspapers), that urban "art" (Yes, the truth is that urban art and I don’t have the best relationship) had been chosen for the Venice Art Biennale. For me, it seemed like a bad idea. Somehow, it only fuels the idea of rt enacted in the Bolivarian Revolution: A mix of naive appearance between the folkloric, the indigenous, the Marxist, urban art (Since it’s artists are usually related to the slums) and the political art that attacks the "Tyranny of the Fourth Republic, the fascist right and the exploitative bourgeoisie”...

It's time to restore the national talent, and I don’t ask for high culture (Because I believe that it no longer exists in the visual arts, there is only a valuable hybrid with low culture created after the Second World War), I just ask for our big and small artists to be valued. Like all leftist "anti-imperialist" revolution, the value that avant-garde once had has been disappearing for being considered "oligarchic and bourgeois". The Museum of Contemporary Art (Which has pieces by Miro, Picasso, Rodin, Vigas, Soto, Vasarely, Bacon, Reveron, among others) is almost empty of visitors just like the Museum of Fine Arts (which has pieces by Picasso, Andy Warhol, Egyptian Art and much more). The disappearance of about fifteen artworks (including Matisse’s Odalisque with Red Pants, which was found by the FBI last year at a hotel in Miami Beach) has been reported since, approximately, 2001.

1998, with the beginning of the Revolution, the word “people’s jumps to the foreground. Museums, in disrepair, have become centers of populist exhibits and extremely native art (and by that I don’t mean Soto and Cruz Diez, I mean Amerindian baskets. Overused ethnic art), creating a favorable environment for the ideas of the demagogues who killed our art. In these "exhibitions of the people" there is no rigor or judgment.

Museums, disastrously unified and full of the kind of political Latin art worthy of the Cold War, are no longer an international jewel and they have closed themselves off to the Western art styles, adopted by most artists. With no museums that promote contemporary art and the international wonders we have, a large group of Venezuelan artists were forced to leave the country and like that Venezuela isolated herself from the global art movements: Brewing the populist Bolivarian art...


Nevertheless, I just hope that this dark period of our history and culture will be over soon, and that art originated in Castro’s ideology disappears from our museums, giving way once again to the avant-garde and to our great talents. I hope we can see once again our stolen art on the walls of the museums and we can see the infrastructure of these remodeled and even being expanded. I hope that within a few years, insecurity and her companions (the other Venezuelan tragedies) will not be obstacles to, finally, re-enter to the Museum of Fine Arts and admire the Marilyn Monroe of Andy Warhol who expect that the once excited great crowds return and rejoice with their colors.