Venezuela’s turbulent twentieth century saw boom and bust as the former Spanish colony transformed into a major postwar cultural player. In this sweeping study of visual and material production, Sean Nesselrode Moncada explores the integral relationship between the global oil industry and the celebrated rise of geometric abstraction, kinetic art, and modern architecture in midcentury Venezuela. Oil provided the crucible for national reinvention, ushering in a period of dizzying optimism and bitter disillusion as artists, architects, graphic designers, activists, and critics sought to define the terms of modernity. A groundbreaking, transdisciplinary reevaluation of Venezuelan modernism, Refined Material reveals how the logic of refinement conditioned the terms of development and redefined our relationship to nature, matter, and one another.
Books in the Studies on Latin American Art series encompass studies of art history and cultural practices emerging from Central and South America, the Caribbean, and the Latin American diaspora in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. International and cosmopolitan in scope, the series seeks to address the production, exhibition, and dissemination of art in and between countries and continents. This series is proudly supported by a gift from ISLAA.