Newspaper reviews of this kind are of interest not so much because of what they say, but because of what can be deduced about how they were written, the words the reviewer uses, and even what they ignore—in this case, the name of the set designer, which is rarely mentioned because such work is considered technical and routine (as is also the case for graphic designers in the publishing industry). The caption under the photo explains that the set was the work of the “painter” Carlos Cruz-Diez, a subtle attempt to imply, not without reason, the amateur nature of his creation. It should be noted that the artist also created the set for the production staged at the Teatro Circular, a play that was also directed by Carlos Gorostiza, mentioned above.
This artful review reflects the sudden fame that Cruz-Diez was clearly enjoying in the visual arts, with awards and recognitions for his work in graphic design, advertising, and theater. It is a forerunner of the reviews that, some years later (1959–60), would sing his praises for achieving “what was possible” in Venezuela and suggest that, if he wanted to continue to strive for a universal form of art that was valid and meaningful anywhere on the planet, he would have to move to one of the major centers of Western art—Paris—for example, where several of his schoolmates were already living, including Jesús Soto, with whom he corresponded regularly on the subject of the importance of abstract art for artists in the mid-twentieth century.
The “struggle” of the Venezuelan theater mentioned at the end of the review was one of the things that concerned Carlos Cruz-Diez in the visual arts, although at that time he was beginning to have serious doubts about whether an expression of Venezuelan values was the right way to go. By December 1954 he had started producing abstract art despite being deeply skeptical about the genre’s lack of distinctly American features. The clash between a “national” and a “universal” approach—which was a regular feature of Venezuelan modernity and, as it happens, two of the country’s major newspapers are still, to this day, El Nacional and El Universal—became a conflict that played a significant role throughout his entire career.