Cruz Diez in black and white

The Diablos de Yare before they sold out
The Diablos de Yare before they sold out

If you’re in New York and are looking for something new to see related to Venezuela, stop by the Americas Society. They have an exhibit of Carlos Cruz Diez’s black and white photographs of Venezuelan folklore from the 1940s, curated by my friend Gabriela Rangel. The pictures have never been shown before.

I found this forum, complete with interviews with the maestro, quite interesting. It talks about how, in the 1940s, many people simply didn’t know about Venezuelan traditions from other towns such as the Burriquita or the Diablos de Yare. Photography helped usher in a new wave of communication in this rapidly modernizing yet still rural country

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  1. This is a gift — from Cruz Diez, Gabriela Rangel, Antonio ?, and staff at the Americas Society, plus you, Juan. Thank you. Would love to see the entire exhibit. The represented photos of Venezuelan folklore show, not only Cruz Diez’s unique points of view and obvious craft, but his great humanity — up close and personal. Wonderful.

  2. always had the suspicion that there are quite a few celebrated Venezuelan artists , that owe much of their fame to being bold and original in creating art objects which stand out , which play to the fatuity of the international art lover for things strikingly novel and exotic , even if the core aesthetic merit of their work isnt really all that exceptional . Of course being Venezuelan and recognized abroad flatters our pride in having a fellow countryman as alter egoes who become celebrities in Paris , or London or New York where recognition really counts. I know that CD is famous for his ‘cinetic’ sculptures which really I lack the artistic education to appreciate in full , they look good but they hardly bowl me over as might other more traditional artistic expressions and yet looking at the beauty of these photos there is no doubt in my mind that CD really has a genius ‘eye’ for visual aesthetics , these photos were taken not with the idea of being shown but rather for the artists personal pleasure and what they reveal are images that have the force to bowl me over aesthetically , this guys is the genuine article !! Thanks CC for allowing us to learn about them !!

  3. I love it that CD captured some priceless images of Venezuelan folklore and other popular scenes on camera.I often lament that despite having had so many opportunities to do so, I did not usually do so and I suppose that now that we live in what could be seen as the first fully documented generation, my viewpoint is now altered by the new realities, and new opportunities that digital photography has given us .

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Carolina was just reading this, awesome answers to a interview formats that’s so easily transformed into a cliche. My favorite quotes:
      “¿Burgués o revolucionario?
      –Nací, crecí y me desarrollé y gané mi vida en un burgo que se llama Caracas; por tanto, soy burgués. Si hubiera nacido y vivido en el campo, fuera un campesino. Si mi ambición hubiera sido vivir de nuevo el siniestro caudillismo del siglo XIX, fuera revolucionario.”

      De protestar los venezolanos como los franceses, ¿sería otra esta historia?
      –No lo creo, porque la izquierda perdió su oferta con un discurso basado en la sociedad y economía de los siglos XVIII y XIX. No ha encontrado cómo enfrentar esta nueva civilización de la compactación del tiempo, de la comunicación instantánea, sin obreros… Sólo técnicos.

      • For em it was this one:

        –¿Imaginó alguna vez la situación venezolana?

        –A mis 90 años he vivido en carne y hueso tres veces la misma comedia, pero con decorado y vestuario diferentes.

        There you have it, Venezuelan modern history and dutch disease in a nutshell.


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