Synopses & Reviews
Profiles of fifty artists over fifty years, telling the story of modern Cuba through visual art the recent loosening of the U.S. embargo and Castro's opening up of state-regulated tourism has yielded a flurry of student programs, professional conferences, books, movies, and general enthusiasm in this country for all things Cuban. With the future government of Cuba still an open question, its cultural riches have never been more relevant to American readers. Cuba: Contemporary art explores how Cuban artists have worked in and around the constraints of Castroism ("Within the Revolution, everything; outside the Revolution, nothing") and Cuba's severely depressed economy, and how art education there evolved over the years, from an elite community to a popular essential. The book includes more than 500 images and profiles of, among others, Juan Carlos Alom and Felipe Dulzaides. Beautifully produced and written in elegant and articulate style, this is the ideal visual survey of Cuba's contemporary art landscape.
"The visual arts 'best reflect the creativity and conflicts' of the Cuban people, argues the author of this beautifully produced and stunningly diverse bilingual collection. It opens with a brief, informative essay that puts 20th- and 21st-century Cuban art into context, explaining key events arousing international interest: the 1984 Havana Biennial and eased travel restrictions to and from Cuba during the Clinton administration. The more than 50 painters, sculptors, and photographers represented here range from the internationally renowned, including Flavio GarciandÃa, installation artist Alexis Lewa Machado (known as Kcho), and Yoan Capote, to recent art school graduates and self-taught artists. Each one's work is prefaced by a brief biography and revealing summary of the artist's central themes. Standouts include Luis Camejo's highly evocative paintings of urban life; JosÃ© Manuel Fors's memory-centered work using found and discarded objects; Roberto Diago's assemblages embodying sharp sociopolitical critique of the place of impoverished blacks in Cuban society. It is rare that a collection of this breadth presents works of such a uniformly high standard that are so consistently provocative and experimental. The book provides exceptional insight into contemporary Cuban art and the aesthetic and critical innovation it embodies. 500 color photos. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Beautifully produced and stunningly diverse bilingual collection . . . it is rare that a collection of this breadth presents works of such a uniformly high standard that are so consistently provocative and experimental. The book provides exceptional insight into contemporary Cuban art and the aesthetic and critical innovation it embodies."
"Cuba: Contemporary Art (Overlook) is the next best thing to attending the 11th Havana Biennial, now in progress. With 500 color images of works by some 50 living artists, this coffee table book is a compelling survey of the island nation's creative spirit. Many of the artists offer sharp political commentary, and their creations provide a fascinating window on a nation long estranged from the United States. In a provocative refashioning of everyday objects, toothpaste tubes and rationing books assume humanlike poses in the hands of Rene Francisco Rodríguez, an admirer of the German artist Joseph Beuys."
"Cuba: Contemporary Art is the perfect coffee table book . . . a lavishly illustrated book that makes a great gift."
About the Author
is art Curator of The H Magazine
, Havana's essential style and culture guide.
Sebastiaan A. C. Berger is a founding partner of Berger, Young & associates and Director of Cuba Finance LTD, which launched The H Magazine in 2005.