In the aftermath of World War II, while Europe was recovering from the devastation, many countries in South America, not unlike the United States, were experiencing an economic boom. Benefiting from their role as wartime suppliers of raw materials, these countries were expanding and modernizing at a rapid pace. Interest and support for the arts was also increasing. Many South American artists had the means to travel and study abroad. They were exposed to the works of both Old Masters and the burgeoning styles, theories, and practitioners of modern art. Cultural exchange, however, was not one sided, as many European artists also visited South America to teach and lecture at universities and to complete public commissions in universities, government buildings, and other civic spaces alongside local artists. International art exhibitions were also planned in urban centers like São Paulo, Brazil, Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Caracas, Venezuela. In this era of progress and optimism, South American artists were particularly drawn to innovative ideas and art that complemented the spirit of the age. In this cultural climate the type of art created by Venezuelan artist Carlos Cruz-Diez thrived.