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Readings in Latin American Modern Art

Readings in Latin American Modern Art

Edited by Patrick Frank
Copyright Date: 2004
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 288
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  • Book Info
    Readings in Latin American Modern Art
    Book Description:

    This important and welcome volume is the first English-language anthology of writings on Latin American modern art of the twentieth century. The book includes some fifty seminal essays and documents-including statements, interviews, and manifestoes by artists-that encompass the broad diversity of this emerging field. Many of these materials are difficult to access and some are translated here for the first time. Together the selections explore the breadth and depth of Latin American modern art as well as its distinctive evolution apart from American and European art history.Included in this collection are fascinating ideas and insights on the impact of the avant-garde in the 1920s, the Mexican mural movement, Surrealism and other fantasy-based styles, modern architecture, geometric and optical art, concrete and neo-concrete art, and political conceptualism. For students and scholars of Latin American art, the volume offers an invaluable collection of primary and secondary sources.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-13333-2
    Subjects: Art & Art History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. The Cuban-Chinese Cook
    (pp. ix-xii)
    Patrick Frank

    Latin American modern art still does not get its due. Even after two decades of postmodernist deconstruction of grand narratives, efforts to institute multicultural inclusiveness, and mostly business-oriented “globalization,” the canon of modern art history is still heavily tilted toward the art of Europe and North America. Students all across the United States still learn that most of the important innovations in art prior to about 1940 took place in Europe, and that after that date “the center of the art world shifted to New York, preparing the ground on which the nascent New York School would almost immediately seize...

  4. 1. Early Modern Currents
    (pp. 1-30)

    Efforts to create a nationalistic art were intensified in Mexico following the Spanish-American War of 1898 between Spain and the United States, which strengthened the bonds between Spain and Mexico and led to an increased interest in Spanish art. While they continued to explore their Precolumbian past during the first decade of the century, Mexican artists also began to emulate the Spanish styles of Synthetism, Symbolism, and Expressionism.

    Saturnino Herrán was at the center of the cultural and artistic ferment that culminated in the centenary celebrations of Mexican independence in 1910, during which artists and writers explored and discussed their...

  5. 2. Figural Realist Styles
    (pp. 31-64)

    To the Indian race humiliated for centuries; to soldiers made executioners by the praetorians; to workers and peasants scourged by the greed of the rich; to intellectuals uncorrupted by the bourgeoisie.

    The military coup of Enrique Estrada and Guadalupe Sánchez (the Mexican peasants’ and workers’ greatest enemies) has been of transcendental importance in precipitating and clarifying the situation in our country. This, aside from minor details of a purely political nature, is as follows:

    On the one hand the social revolution, ideologically more coherent than ever, and on the other the armed bourgeoisie. Soldiers of the people, peasants, and armed...

  6. 3. Fantasy and Surrealism in the Mid-Twentieth Century
    (pp. 65-100)

    When, in February of 1943, I found myself flying into Port-au-Prince over the desolate but poetic and beautiful mountains of Haiti, probably the thought furthest from my mind was that of founding an art center. A painter, and my father a painter before me, I had been sent down by United States Federal Security as one of a mixed group to teach English to Haitians. This was something new to me and I approached the matter very earnestly, working at the government Lycée [High School] at Port-au-Prince until the end of the term in July. Now began the long summer...

  7. 4. Major Architectural Projects
    (pp. 101-132)

    Aula Magna Hall is a true architectural, sculptural, and human space. Modern and stark, it is stripped to the bare essentials. As Sibyl Moholy-Nagy wrote, it is “a festive and lyrical celebration of space . . . an intended appeal to individual mood.” The interior both dazzles the senses and inspires awareness. Bruno Zevi and Villanueva both believed that “the specific expression of architecture is built space.” In the Aula Magna, space has been measured and proportioned in a clean, direct way that lacks neither grandeur nor monumentality and creates a dense and full atmosphere.

    According to Villanueva: “From the...

  8. 5. Non-Objective and Informalist Modes of Abstraction
    (pp. 133-158)

    The artist of today has understood that art cannot be separated from the human problem. Therefore, he should select what each epoch requires, but, in my opinion, only what it requires in a universal sense, meaning that which can unite men rather than separate them. And in this sense, art can not only preserve its purely plastic and non-descriptive aspect (since the plastic act belongs to the universal order, being based on universal laws); but then too, in this way, there is no longer any disparity between the form and what is expressed, for everything joins in perfect unity. Perhaps...

  9. 6. Constructivist and Neo-Concrete Art
    (pp. 159-184)

    The Groupe de Recherche d’Art Visuel invites you to demystify the artistic phenomenon, to pool your activities so as to clarify the situation, and to set up new ground rules for appraisal. The Groupe de Recherche d’Art Visuel is made up of painters who are committing their activities to ongoing research and the visual production of primary basic data aimed at freeing plastic art from tradition. The Groupe de Recherche d’Art Visuel thinks it is helpful to offer its viewpoint, even though this viewpoint is not definitive and calls for subsequent analysis and other comparisons.

    Relationship of the artist with...

  10. 7. Postwar Figural Art
    (pp. 185-220)

    I do not pretend to be a leader of the young, and I am not trying to recruit an army of rebels to storm the Palace of Fine Arts. I will limit myself to stating what I firmly believe to be the convictions of other members of my generation both in the fine arts and in other intellectual fields. If what I have to say is of any use to young artists, either now or later, I will feel that I have paid a debt. But even if what I suggest is not followed in the future, even if most...

  11. 8. As a New Century Turns
    (pp. 221-256)

    Just before the opening of Cildo Meireles’ recent installation at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the Brazilian artist’s assistants were busy feeding the bones—which, in retrospect, seems entirely appropriate. Like peasants out of a Millet canvas, they were reaching deep into canisters, extracting fistfuls of grainlike pellets and flinging them across the field of dry white cow bones. It was a large field—hundreds, thousands of bones (“three and a half tons worth,” Meireles subsequently noted, “all of them transported up here from Brazil, in crates”), spread out in a dense, even mesh across a wide circular space...

  12. Bibliography
    (pp. 257-266)
  13. Index
    (pp. 267-270)
  14. Credits
    (pp. 271-271)