This newspaper article reports on the event at which Carlos Cruz-Diez received the 1971 National Prize for Visual Art. The article is of particular interest because of its mention of the creation of a “Worldwide Art Biennial” that same year, to be organized through the INCIBA (Instituto Nacional de Cultura y Bellas Artes), the national institute for culture and fine arts, thus confirming that Geometric Abstract and Kinetic artists and those in power in Venezuela in the latter half of the twentieth century had aligned ideas, that were no doubt shared by many Venezuelans at the time.
It is clear that Kinetic artists and democratic leaders at the time were frustrated by the backwardness and isolation imposed by the dictatorship of General Juan Vicente Gómez (1908–15, 1922–29, 1931–35), a military man from a rural background who ruled the country as if it were a family hacienda, guided by highly traditional ideas about social life but with scant interest in the cultural life of the country. As a result, the new generation was extremely keen on modernity and progress and was disdainful of rural, provincial life; this generation’s desire for communication and contact with the rest of the world ran counter to the isolation the country had endured during the first thirty years of the twentieth century. Nothing was more important to the Kinetic artists and members of the government at the time than helping Venezuela to become part of the global community where universal history was being written; they were determined to show that the country was not just a forgotten, obscure dot on the map. Hence the (no doubt naïve) plan to organize a biennial that would be not just an international but a “worldwide” art exhibition.
It also seems clear that the drive to create technically impeccable works, produced with industrial materials and techniques (as in the case of Cruz-Diez) that were free of any trace of visual themes or any formal or material impurity, expressed that desire for lightness and transparency, as though nothing could block the free circulation of ideas that had spawned them in the first place. The absence of narrative visual barriers was thus a sort of metaphor for a life that was free of material and historical ties. Nothing should be allowed to interfere with the potential of a concentrated gaze at retinal stimulants, just as nothing should block the will of the artist, who was now universal, belonging not to a specific country but to all mankind.