En blanco y negro: Marta Traba en la televisión colombiana, 1954–1958 [In Black and White: Marta Traba on Colombian Television, 1954–1958] was the fruit of the graduate work done by Nicolás Gómez Echeverri (b. 1984) for his master’s thesis in visual art at the Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá. The document focuses on the efforts of Marta Traba (1923–1983)—the Argentine art critic who lived in Colombia—to promote the use of television for cultural purposes in this country. It is interesting to note that television arrived in Colombia in 1954, during the dictatorship of General Gustavo Rojas Pinilla (1953–57), the same year that Traba arrived. Her husband, the distinguished journalist Alberto Zalamea (1926?2011), had been invited to join the editorial staff of the Bogotá newspaper El Tiempo.
Traba’s programs were among those that were broadcast when television first appeared in Colombia, but they were taken off the air in 1956 under pressure from the office of the president. A year later, however, when Rojas Pinilla’s government was overthrown by a military junta, Traba’s critical and pedagogical production returned to the small screen with many art programs of great interest, including: El museo imaginario [The Imaginary Museum], El ABC del arte [The ABC of Art], Una visita a los museos [A Visit to the Museums], and Curso de historia del arte [Art History Course].
En blanco y negro documents the work done by Gómez to record a little-known fact about Traba’s project. The process revealed that Traba’s programs were not archived as part of Colombia’s audiovisual records. The reasons for this are unknown, but it might be due to the fact that in those days, TV programs were broadcast live. As Gómez points out, he researched press articles, photographic records, and interviews. Gómez Echeverri is known as one of the researchers of the group called En un lugar de la plástica who—together with Felipe González (b. 1984) and Julián Serna (b. 1983)—set about studying and preserving the legacy of significant twentieth-century artists and cultural projects, and sought to trace the evolution of the visual arts in Colombia from that perspective.
This document complements Chapter Five of the above mentioned book [see 1131936].