The Argentine-born art critic Elsa Flores lived and worked in Venezuela in the 1970s and early 1980s, and witnessed the emergence of conceptual art and other unconventional art forms in this country. Her reviews, therefore—many of which were published in the local press—reported on the earliest works and exhibitions of the artists who would go on to become the major exponents of those particular artistic languages.
This is a review of the final (1981) exhibition in the Once Tipos series of six that were presented at the Sala Mendoza in Caracas (in 1973, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1979, and 1981). The first in the series was organized by the curator Lourdes Blanco—who was director of the Sala Mendoza in 1973—when the members of the Council of The Museum of Modern Art in New York City paid a visit to Caracas. On that occasion, other galleries strove to organize exhibitions of works by the most representative local artists. Blanco, on the other hand, decided to create an exhibition that did not include the modern maestros who were famous throughout Latin America such as Soto, Gego, Otero, Cruz-Diez, Jacobo Borges, Elsa Gramcko, etc. Instead, she invited eleven young, as yet unknown artists, who were working in a variety of new media. Blanco’s goal was to establish a comparison with abstract constructivism and politically charged Figuration, which were the two hegemonic movements in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
This document conveys the importance of that series of six events which, seen in retrospect today, helped to lay the foundations of Venezuela contemporary art. This group of young artists who emerged in the early 1970s produced a new kind of art; it was revolutionary, though not in the tired sense of political commitment, but as an innovative form of aesthetic exploration and experimentation. In his book, Once Tipos (Caracas: Academia de la Historia, 2002), the historian Juan Carlos Palenzuela refers to the 1973 exhibition and notes that “Very few people realized that, at that very moment, a new chapter in Venezuelan art was beginning.”
The article by Elsa Flores appears in Convergencias (temas de arte actual) [(Caracas: Galería de Arte Nacional/ Monte Ávila, 1983), pp. 135?140], that includes the articles and essays she wrote between 1978 and 1982.
To read the critic Roberto Montero Castro’s review of the Once Tipos exhibition, see “El seguro vuelo del pájaro de la juventud” .