Colombian critic María Elvira Iriarte’s research on early abstraction in Colombia makes use of primary sources; the text’s structure reveals the events, artists, and issues crucial to abstract art during the period discussed. Major changes took place in Colombia during these years (1955–60): the long-awaited resignation of General Rojas Pinilla, pursuant to which the most important newspapers, which had been shut down under his administration, reopened; and the Salón Nacional de Arte took place once again after having been cancelled in 1953, making it possible for Colombian art to gain widespread recognition outside the country.
This was a prolific period for the visual arts in Colombia not only in terms of production (much of it abstract), but also in terms of communication about art, with heated debates in 1958 and 1959. In Iriarte’s view, the crux of those debates was whether or not to accept new nonfigurative forms of expression. The most important artists of the period included: Alejandro Obregón (1920–1992), Eduardo Ramírez Villamizar (1923–2004), Édgar Negret (1920?2012), Judith Márquez (1925–1994), Armando Villegas (1928?2013), Lucy Tejada (1920?2011), Enrique Grau (1920–2004), Juan Antonio Roda (1921–2003), Alberto Arboleda (1925?2011), and Guillermo Silva Santamaría (1922?2007), among others.
The journals Plástica (founded in 1956) and Prisma (founded in 1957) were the two art publications launched during the period. Colombian artist Judith Márquez (1925–1994) founded the first, which provided a great deal of information, as well as important criticism and reflection. The second was directed by Argentine critic Marta Traba (1923–1983), who lived for a time in Bogotá. Her publication was more theoretical than journalistic. Both magazines were decisive to the consolidation and communication of the changes taking place due to the appearance of abstract language on the local scene: it was through these journals that Colombian art criticism was able to gain strength.