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To and from Utopia in the New Cuban Artby Rachel Weiss
Synopses & Reviews
The new Cuban art grew up in the supercharged and conflicting currents of revolution, sometimes tracking to its optimism and at others scalded by it. But even more than that it was an art with extraordinary relation and relevance to the life of the country across social, domestic, cultural, and psychological registers: aggressive, protean, and perennially restless within an extraordinary conviction about the possibilities of art.-from the Introduction
In 1981, Volumen Uno, an exhibition at a Havana gallery, inaugurated a new chapter in the rich history of Cuban art. Featuring an eclectic mix of works by eleven young artists filtered through a variety of styles-informalism, Pop, minimalism, conceptualism, performance, graffiti, and povera-the art was a sharp break with the past in both form and content. More of a phenomenon than a formal movement, the new Cuban art was both a reaction to the sovietization of Cuban culture in the 1970s and the dynamic entry of a generation of artists born around the Revolution and formed by its orthodoxies and its poetic idealism.
In this spectacularly illustrated volume, Rachel Weiss offers the definitive critical history of the new Cuban art, exploring its remarkable artistic accomplishments and its role as catalyst for, and site of, public debate. Weiss draws on two decades of engagement with Cuban art and on the statements of the artists themselves to read individual artworks against the complex relationships between artists, their local and global audiences, and the Cuban state.
Tracing the shift from the optimism of the early 1980s to the cultural cynicism that paralleled the near-collapse of Cuban society in the 1990s, To and from Utopia in the New Cuban Art identifies a renewed idealism among the artists about the potential role of culture in Cuban society.
Book News Annotation:
Weiss (arts administration and policy, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago) presents this critical history of late Cuban art. She focuses on recent works by Cuban artists to illustrate the shifts in social and political attitudes in Cuba from the 1970s to the present. From the optimism held by Cuban society with the Cuban revolution to the cynicism derived from its collapse, the author explores themes in art depicting these changing views. Also included in this volume are dozens of color photographs of works explored. This book is intended for those studying art and Cuban culture. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
The definitive critical history of the new Cuban art.
At the time of his death in 2006, Agustin Fernandez ranked among Cubaand#8217;s most outstanding artists. Defying simple categorization, today his work is most recognizable for its ambiguous and precariously balanced forms, erotic overtones, surreal juxtapositions, and metallic palette. In 1980 Brian de Palmaand#8217;s film Dressed to Kill famously included one of the artistand#8217;s paintings, launching him into the public arena. This is the first comprehensive study of Fernandezand#8217;s work, which has been exhibited and collected in major museums and private collections throughout Europe, the United States, and Latin America.
About the Author
Rachel Weiss is professor of arts administration and policy at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has written extensively on Latin American art and cocurated the exhibitions The Nearest Edge of the World: Art and Cuba Now and Global Conceptualism: Points of Origin, 1950s-1980s.
Table of Contents
Introduction: To Build the Sky
Museum of the Revolution, Volumen Uno, Ricardo Brey, José Bedia, Juan Francisco Elso, Tomás Sánchez, Gustavo Pérez Monzón, Marta María Pérez, María Magdalena Campos Pons, Consuelo Castañeda, Ana Albertina Delgado, Leandro Soto, Flavio Garciandía, Gory, Alejandro Aguilera, Adriano Buergo. René Francisco Rodríguez, Grupo Puré, Segundo Planes, Tomás Esson, Carlos Rodríguez Cárdenas, Juan-Sí González, Arturo Cuenca
Glexis Novoa, Chago, Rubén Torres Llorca, ABTV (Tanya Angulo, Juan Pablo Ballester, José Ángel Toirac and Ileana Villazón), Raúl Martínez, Carlos Rodríguez Cárdenas, Aldito Menéndez, Ponjuán and René Francisco, Arte Calle, Grupo Provisional, Art-De (Arte-Derechos), Meditar, Baseball Game, Ángel Delgado, Tonel, Fernando Rodríguez, Pedro Álvarez, Douglas Pérez, Armando Mariño, Lázaro Garcia, Luis Gómez, Kcho, Manuel Piña, Sandra Ramos, José Angel Toirac, Félix Ernesto Pérez, Joel Rojas, Lázaro Saavedra, Alberto Casado, Luis o Miguel, Yoan Capote
National Museum of Fine Arts, Carlos Garaicoa, Manuel Piña, Iván Capote, Ernesto Leal, Gabinete Ordo Amoris, Las Metáforas del Templo. , Jorge Luis Marrero, Osvaldo Yero, Esterio Segura, Abel Barroso, Ibrahim Miranda, René Peña, Cirenaica Moreira, Juan Carlos Alom, Ezequiel Suárez/Sandra Ceballos/Espacio Aglutinador, Fernando Rodríguez, Luis Gómez, Abdel Hernández, Proyecto Hacer, Proyecto Pilón, DUPP (Desde una pedagogía pragmática, From a Pragmatic Pedagogy), Enema, Los Carpinteros, Kcho, Abigaíl González, Beverley Mojena, Ángel Delgado, Tania Bruguera, Taller Arte de Conducta, Celia y Yunior, Eduardo Ponjuán, Glenda León, Arturo Montoto, Jimmie Bonachea, Wilfredo Prieto, Adrián Soca, Fabián Peña
Epilogue on the Horizon
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