Synopses & Reviews
Among the buildings on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., only the Pan American Union (PAU) houses an international organization. The first of many anticipated “peace palaces”constructed in the early twentieth century, the PAU began with a mission of cultural diplomacy, and after World War II its Visual Arts Section became a leader in the burgeoning hemispheric arts scene, proclaiming Latin America’s entrée into the international community as it forged connections between a growing base of middle-class art consumers on one hand and concepts of supranational citizenship and political and economic liberalism on the other.
Making Art Panamerican situates the ambitious visual arts programs of the PAU within the broader context of hemispheric cultural relations during the cold war. Focusing on the institutional interactions among aesthetic movements, cultural policy, and viewing publics, Claire F. Fox contends that in the postwar years, the PAU Visual Arts Section emerged as a major transfer point of hemispheric American modernist movements and played an important role in the consolidation of Latin American art as a continental object of study.
As it traces the careers of individual cultural policymakers and artists who intersected with the PAU in the two postwar decades—such as Concha Romero James, Charles Seeger, José Gómez Sicre, José Luis Cuevas, and Rafael Squirru—the book also charts the trajectories and displacements of sectors of the U.S. and Latin American intellectual left during a tumultuous interval that spans the Mexican Revolution, the Spanish Civil War, the New Deal, and the early cold war. Challenging the U.S. bias of conventional narratives about Panamericanism and the postwar shift in critical values from realism to abstraction, Making Art Panamerican illuminates the institutional dynamics that helped shape aesthetic movements in the critical decades following World War II.
Making Art Panamerican situates the ambitious visual arts programs of the Pan American Union within the context of hemispheric cultural relations during the cold war. Challenging the U.S. bias of conventional narratives about Panamericanism and the postwar shift in values from realism to abstraction, Claire F. Fox illuminates the institutional dynamics that helped shape aesthetic movements following World War II.
About the Author
Claire F. Fox is associate professor in the departments of English and of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Iowa. She is the author of The Fence and the River: Culture and Politics at the U.S.–Mexico Border (Minnesota, 1999).
Table of Contents
Preface: The Long Twentieth-Century Quest for Panamerica
Introduction: The Pan American Union Visual Arts Programs and Latin American Art
1. Art Enters the Union: The Transition from World War II to the Cold War
2. El Arte Que Progresa: Modernization, Modern Art, and Continental Consciousness
3. José Luis Cuevas, Panamerican Celebrity
4. The Last Party: HemisFair ’68
Afterword: The Afterlife of the Pan American Union Visual Arts Programs