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Twentieth-Century Art of Latin America

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Twentieth-Century Art of Latin America

By Jacqueline Barnitz

Drawing on some forty years of studying and teaching Latin American art, Jacqueline Barnitz surveys the major currents and artists of the twentieth century in Mexico, the Caribbean, and South America (including Brazil).

2001

$45.00$30.15

33% website discount price

Paperback

8 1/4 x 11 3/4 | 424 pp.

ISBN: 978-0-292-70858-7

The twentieth-century art of Latin America is art in the western tradition, and its leading figures—Wifredo Lam, Roberto Matta, Diego Rivera, Joaquín Torres-García, to name only a few—have achieved international stature. Yet much of the writing about this art has offered either a victimized view of an art tradition dominated by foreign models or a romanticized view of what Latin American art should be. This pathfinding book, by contrast, seeks not to "invent" Latin American art but to look at it from the points of view of its own artists and critics.

Drawing on some forty years of studying and teaching Latin American art, Jacqueline Barnitz surveys the major currents and artists of the twentieth century in Mexico, the Caribbean, and South America (including Brazil). She progresses chronologically from modernismo and the break with nineteenth-century academic art to some of the trends of the 1980s, setting each movement within its historical and cultural contexts. This grand survey of modern Latin American art will thus be the essential guide to a vibrant art tradition, as well as a vital teaching tool. Lavishly illustrated with color and black-and-white reproductions of major works, it will be useful to artists, collectors, historians, writers, and social scientists, as well as art historians.

  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction and an Overview of the Nineteenth Century
  • Part I
    1. Modernismo and the Break with Academic Art, 1890-1934
    2. The Avant-garde of the 1920s: Cosmopolitan or National Identity?
    3. Social, Ideological, and Nativist Art: The 1930s, 1940s, and After
    4. Surrealism, Wartime, and New World Imagery, 1928-1964
    5. Torres-García's Constructive Universalism and the Abstract Legacy
  • Part II
    1. New Museums, the São Paulo Biennial, and Abstract Art
    2. Functionalism, Integration of the Arts, and the Postwar Architectural Boom
    3. Geometric, Optical, and Kinetic Art from the 1950s through the 1970s
    4. Concrete and Neoconcrete Art and Their Offshoots in the Brazilian Context
    5. Neofiguration, Representational Art, Pop, and Environments: The 1960s and 1970s
    6. Political Art: Graphic Art, Painting, and Conceptualism as Ideological Tools
    7. Some Trends of the 1980s
  • Notes
  • Map
  • Timeline
  • Bibliography
  • Index

Figures


0.1. Jean Baptiste Debret, Desembarque da princesa real Leopoldina
0.2. Anonymous, Policarpa Salavarrieta al patíbulo
0.3. Juan León Pallière, Gaucho pialando
0.4. Prilidiano Pueyrredón, Un alto en el campo
0.5. Frederick Catherwood, Views of Ancient Monuments of Central America, Chiapas, Yucatan
0.6. José María Velasco, El valle de México desde el cerro de Tepeyac
0.7. Arturo Michelena, Miranda en la carraca
0.8. José Obregón, El descubrimiento del pulque
0.9. Francisco Laso, Indio de la Cordillera
0.10. Rodolfo Amoedo, Marabá
0.11. José Guadalupe Posada, Pormenores del entierro de Emiliano Zapata
0.12. Reinaldo Giudici, La sopa de los pobres
1.1. Marco Tobón Mejía, Vampiresa
1.2. Julio Ruelas, El ahorcado
1.3. Saturnino Herrán, El trabajo
1.4. Saturnino Herrán, El rebozo
1.5. Saturnino Herrán, Coatlicue transformada
1.6. Cecilio Guzmán de Rojas, Triunfo de la naturaleza
1.7. Cesáreo Bernaldo de Quirós, El pialador
1.8. Fernando Fader, La mañanita
1.9. Fernando Fader, La mazamorra
1.10. Armando Reverón, El playón
1.11. Armando Reverón, Autorretrato con muñecas
1.12. Pedro Figari, Baile criollo
1.13. Pedro Figari, Pericón bajo los naranjeros
2.1. Diego Rivera, Paisaje zapatista
2.2. José Clemente Orozco, Maternidad
2.3. David Alfaro Siqueiros, Los elementos
2.4. David Alfaro Siqueiros, Entierro de un obrero
2.5. José Clemente Orozco, La huelga
2.6. José Clemente Orozco, La trinchera
2.7. José Clemente Orozco, La clase obrera
2.8. Diego Rivera, La tierra liberada
2.9. Diego Rivera, Saliendo de la mina
2.10. Diego Rivera, El abrazo
2.11. Diego Rivera, Día de los Muertos en la ciudad
2.12. Diego Rivera, Banquete de Wall Street
2.13. Diego Rivera, Construyendo el Palacio de Cortés
2.14. Diego Rivera, Historia de México de la conquista hacia el futuro
2.15. Diego Rivera, La leyenda de Quetzalcóatl
2.16. Diego Rivera, El México de hoy y de mañana
2.17. Anita Malfatti, Mario de Andrade
2.18. Emilio Pettoruti, Mi ventana en Florencia
2.19. Pablo Curatella-Manes, El guitarrista
2.20. Pablo Curatella-Manes, Los acróbatas
2.21. Pablo Curatella-Manes, Rugby
2.22. Xul Solar, vignette for Jorge Luis Borges's El idioma de los argentinos
2.23. Xul Solar, Otro drago
3.1. José Clemente Orozco, La mesa de la fraternidad
3.2. José Clemente Orozco, La familia universal
3.3. José Clemente Orozco, Trabajador industrial
3.4. José Clemente Orozco, Hombre creador
3.5. David Alfaro Siqueiros, América tropical
3.6. David Alfaro Siqueiros, El eco del llanto
3.7. David Alfaro Siqueiros, Retrato de la burguesía
3.8. Antonio Berni, Manifestación
3.9. Cândido Portinari, O lavrador de café
3.10. Cândido Portinari, Enterro na rede
3.11. Oswaldo Guayasamín, El paro
3.12. Francisco Goítia, Tata Jesucristo
3.13. José Sabogal, Indio
3.14. Mario Urteaga, Entierro de un hombre ilustre
3.15. Arturo Borda, Pachamama
4.1. Juan Batlle-Planas, Radiografía paranoica
4.2. Raquel Forner, El drama
4.3. Juan O'Gorman, Autorretrato
4.4. Julio Castellanos, Los Robachicos
4.5. Antonio Ruiz, Sueño de Malinche
4.6. Frida Kahlo, Las dos Fridas
4.7. Remedios Varo, Bordando el manto terrestre
4.8. Leonora Carrington, Autorretrato
4.9. Leonora Carrington, Adieu Amenhotep
4.10. Wolfgang Paalen, Fata Alaska
4.11. Wolfgang Paalen, Combat of Saturnine Princes II
4.12. Rufino Tamayo, Animales
4.13. Roberto Matta, Prescience
4.14. Roberto Matta, Le vertige d'Eros
4.15. Wifredo Lam, Le présent éternel
4.16. Hector Hyppolite, Ogoun Ferraille
5.1. Joaquín Torres-García, Estructura animista
5.2. Joaquín Torres-García, Composición
5.3. Joaquín Torres-García, Monumento cósmico
5.4. Joaquín Torres-García, Arte constructivo
5.5. Julio Alpuy, mural for Architect Ernesto Leborgne's Garden
5.6. Joaquín Torres-García, Pacha Mama
5.7. Raúl Lozza, Pintura No. 72
5.8. Gonzalo Fonseca, Parafernalia órfica
5.9. Gonzalo Fonseca, Graneros III
5.10. Marcelo Bonevardi, Cámara privada
6.1. Manuel Felguérez, Sin título
6.2. Vicente Rojo, Recuerdo No. 1403
6.3. Manabu Mabe, Paisagem--Leblon
6.4. José Antonio Fernández-Muro, Al gran pueblo argentino
6.5. Sarah Grilo, X en la calle 13
6.6. Aníbal Villacís, Filigranas
6.7. Aníbal Villacís, Precolombino
6.8. Estuardo Maldonado, Composición No. 4
6.9. Alejandro Obregón, Violencia: Detalle de un genocidio
6.10. Alejandro Obregón, El último cóndor
6.11. María Luisa Pacheco, Tihuanacu
7.1. Gregori Warchavchik, Casa da rua Santa Cruz
7.2. Le Corbusier, Lucio Costa, Oscar Niemeyer, Ministerio da Educação e da Saúde
7.3. Oscar Niemeyer, Restaurant Baile
7.4. Oscar Niemeyer, São Francisco de Assisi
7.5. Oscar Niemeyer, São Francisco de Assisi
7.6. Carlos Raúl Villanueva, Biblioteca
7.7. Carlos Raúl Villanueva, covered walk mosaic mural by Fernand Léger, and Petit Amphion (bronze sculpture) by Henri Laurens
7.8. Carlos Raúl Villanueva, open space; aluminum screen by Victor Vasarely
7.9. Juan O'Gorman, Gustavo Saavedra, Juan Martínez de Velasco, Biblioteca Central
7.10. Mathias Goeritz, Serpiente
7.11. Mathias Goeritz and Luis Barragán, Cinco Torres
7.12. Fernando González Gortázar, La gran puerta
7.13. Fernando González Gortázar, La fuente de la hermana agua
7.14. Félix Candela, Almacen
7.15. Félix Candela, La Virgen Milagrosa
7.16. Roberto Burle-Marx, Garden of the Hungria-Machado Residence
7.17. Lucio Costa, plan of Brasília
7.18. Oscar Niemeyer, Alvorada
7.19. Oscar Niemeyer, Administration Building, Civic Center, Praça dos Tres Poderes
7.20. Oscar Niemeyer, Cathedral
8.1. Edgar Negret, Aparato mágico
8.2. Edgar Negret, El puente
8.3. Edgar Negret, Acoplamiento
8.4. Eduardo Ramírez Villamizar, Relieve horizontal blanco
8.5. Eduardo Ramírez Villamizar, Convoluciones
8.6. Eduardo Ramírez Villamizar, De Colombia a John F. Kennedy
8.7. Eduardo Ramírez Villamizar, Construcción como nave espacial
8.8. Carlos Rojas, Objetos comunicantes
8.9. Carlos Rojas, Instalación
8.10. Carlos Rojas, Ara alta
8.11. Omar Rayo, Water Please
8.12. Omar Rayo, Guali
8.13. Alejandro Otero, Vertical vibrante oro y plata
8.14. Alejandro Otero, Delta solar
8.15. Jesús Rafael Soto, Paralelas interferentes
8.16. Jesús Rafael Soto, Relación, vibración
8.17. Jesús Rafael Soto, Escritura Hurtado
8.18. Jesús Rafael Soto, La cajita de Villanueva
8.19. Jesús Rafael Soto, Penetrable de Pampatar
8.20. Gyula Kosice, Columnas hidroluz
8.21. Julio Le Parc and Groupe de Recherche d'Art Visuel (GRAV), Une journée dans la rue
8.22. Julio Le Parc, Anteojos para una visión distinta
9.1. Max Bill, Tripartite Unity
9.2. Ligia Pape, Sistema planetário
9.3. Lygia Clark, Pintura concreta
9.4. Lygia Clark, Obra mole
9.5. Lygia Clark, Ar e pedra
9.6. Lygia Clark and Helio Oiticica, Diálogo de mãos
9.7. Helio Oiticica, Tropicalia
9.8. Helio Oiticica, Autoperformance
9.9. Rubens Gerchman, Skyeyeyellowline
9.10. Rubens Gerchman, Americamerica (Homage to Oswald de Andrade)
10.1. José Luis Cuevas, Homenaje a Picasso
10.2. José Luis Cuevas, Retrato del natural. Loco
10.3. José Luis Cuevas, Retratos de Kafka y su padre
10.4. José Luis Cuevas, Autorretrato enfermo a los once años
10.5. Arnold Belkin, Hiroshima Job
10.6. Francisco Icaza, La peste
10.7. Leonel Góngora, La recámara amorosa
10.8. Francisco Corzas, Transhumantes
10.9. Rafael Coronel, Los que viven en el No. 31
10.10. Alberto Gironella, La reina Mariana
10.11. Ignacio (Nacho) López, El pollero
10.12. Luis Felipe Noé, Cerrado por brujería
10.13. Jacobo Borges, Paisaje en tres tiempos
10.14. Marta Minujin, El batacazo
10.15. Marta Minujin, El batacazo
10.16. Marta Minujin, Minuphone
10.17. Marta Minujin, Obelisco de pan dulce
10.18. Marta Minujin, Carlos Gardel
10.19. Enrique Grau, Niño con paraguas
10.20. Fernando Botero, La familia presidencial
10.21. Santiago Cárdenas, Enchufe
10.22. Santiago Cárdenas, Pizarrón grande con reprisa
10.23. Juan Antonio Roda, El delirio de las monjas muertas no. 9
10.24. Luis Caballero, Sin título
10.25. Darío Morales, Desnuda sobre mecedora con fogón
10.26. Hernando Tejada, Paula la mujer jaula
11.1. Pedro Alcántara, Qué muerte duermes, levántate
11.2. Nemesio Antúnez, Estadio negro
11.3. Antonio Dias, The Tripper
11.4. Tunga, Rêve la antinomia
11.5. Tunga, Xifopagas capilares
11.6. Cildo Meireles, Inserções em circuitos ideológicos: Projeto Coca-Cola
11.7. Cildo Meireles, Inserções em circuitos ideológicos: Projeto cédula
11.8. Cildo Meireles, Olvido
11.9. Anna Bella Geiger, Certo-Errado
11.10. Luis Camnitzer, Her Fragrance Lingered On
11.11. Luis Camnitzer, Sobras Leftovers
11.12. Alfredo Jaar, This Is Not America
11.13. Brigada Ramona Parra (mural brigade), El río Mapocho
11.14. Catalina Parra, Diario de vida
11.15. Eugenio Dittborn, Sin rastros
11.16. Eugenio Dittborn, Pietá (No Cor), Airmail Painting No. 33
11.17. Carlos Leppe, Acción de la estrella
11.18. Carlos Leppe, Sala de espera
11.19. Diamela Eltit, Maipú
11.20. Colectivo de Acciones de Arte (CADA), Para no morir de hambre en el arte
11.21. Lotty Rosenfeld, Una milla de cruces sobre el pavimento (en frente de La Moneda)
12.1. Rocío Maldonado, Sin título
12.2. Miguel Angel Ríos, Sueño de las alturas
12.3. Leandro Katz, Tulum after Catherwood
12.4. Miguel von Dangel, Tityus discrepans
12.5. Miguel von Dangel, El regreso de la cuarta nave

Color Plates


1.1. Julio Ruelas, Entrada de don Jesús Luján a la "Revista Moderna"
1.2. Saturnino Herrán, La ofrenda
1.3. Camilo Egas, Fiesta indígena
1.4. José Sabogal, El alcalde indio de Chincheros: Varayoc
1.5. Joaquín Clausell, Ixtacalco
1.6. Gerardo Murillo (Dr. Atl), El Volcán Paricutín en erupción
1.7. Martín Malharro, Nocturno
1.8. Fernando Fader, Los mantones de Manila
1.9. Rafael Monasterios, Bodegón
1.10. Armando Reverón, La cueva
1.11. Andrés de Santa María, Anunciación
1.12. Andrés de Santa María, Bodegón con figura
1.13. Pedro Figari, Candombe
2.1. Diego Rivera, La Creación
2.2. Diego Rivera, La sangre de los mártires
2.3. Anita Malfatti, A bôba
2.4. Tarsila do Amaral, Manteau rouge
2.5. Tarsila do Amaral, Caipirinha
2.6. Tarsila do Amaral, E.F.C.B. (Estrada de Ferro Central do Brasil)
2.7. Oswald de Andrade, cover for book of poetry Pau Brasil
2.8. Tarsila do Amaral, Carnaval en Madureira
2.9. Tarsila do Amaral, Morro da favela
2.10. Cândido Portinari, O morro
2.11. Tarsila do Amaral, Abaporú
2.12. Emiliano di Cavalcanti, Samba
2.13. Lasar Segall, Bananal
2.14. Emilio Pettoruti, Gruta azul de Capri
2.15. Emilio Pettoruti, El quinteto
2.16. Xul Solar, Entierro
2.17. Xul Solar, Troncos
2.18. Xul Solar, Pareja
2.19. Xul Solar, Nana Watzin
3.1. Diego Rivera, Detroit: El hombre y la máquina
3.2. Diego Rivera, El hombre contralor del universo
3.3. Antonio Berni, Juanito Laguna va a la ciudad
3.4. Cândido Portinari, Café
3.5. Eduardo Kingman, Los guandos
3.6. Oswaldo Guayasamín, La procesión
3.7. Oswaldo Guayasamín, Flagelamiento II. Tema indio
3.8. Oswaldo Guayasamín, El toro y el cóndor
3.9. José Sabogal, Victoria Regis
3.10. Jorge Vinatea Reinoso, Balseros en Titicaca
3.11. David Crespo Gastelú, Ritmo aymara
3.12. Marina Núñez del Prado, Cabeza de indio
3.13. Arturo Borda, Crítica de los ismos y triunfo del arte clásico
4.1. Juan Batlle-Planas, El Tibet
4.2. Frida Kahlo, El abrazo de amor del universo, la tierra (México), Diego, yo y el señor Xolotl
4.3. María Izquierdo, El alhajero
4.4. Remedios Varo, La huida
4.5. Rufino Tamayo, Bailarina en la noche
4.6. Roberto Matta, Etre avec
4.7. Wifredo Lam, La jungla
4.8. Mario Carreño, Baile afrocubano
4.9. André Pierre, L'offrande remise aux esprits de mer: Cérémonie Agoué
5.1. Horacio Torres, Desnuda en pañerías blancas sobre fondo azul
6.1. Vicente Rojo, Señal antigua en forma de letra
6.2. Vicente Rojo, México bajo la lluvia 146
6.3. Manabu Mabe, Sonho de meiodia
6.4. José Antonio Fernández-Muro, Disparo en la espalda
6.5. Sarah Grilo, Pintura
6.6. Enrique Tábara, Región de los Shiris
6.7. Osvaldo Viteri, America muchedumbre sedienta
6.8. Fernando de Szyszlo, Inkarri
6.9. Alejandro Obregón, El Velorio
6.10. María Luisa Pacheco, Catavi
7.1. Juan O'Gorman, Residence, patio
7.2. Luis Barragán, in collaboration with the architect Andrés Casillas de Alba, San Cristóbal horse ranch
8.1. Alejandro Otero, Terraplén desde San José del Avila
8.2. Alejandro Otero, Líneas inclinadas
8.3. Alejandro Otero, Colorritmo 34
8.4. Alejandro Otero, Zenith Color
8.5. Carlos Cruz-Diez, Fisichromía No. 394
8.6. Rogelio Polesello, Lentes multiplicadoras de imágenes
8.7. Eduardo Mac Entyre, Pintura generativa
9.1. Ivan serpa, Formas
9.2. Helio Oiticica, Metaesquema
9.3. Helio Oiticica, Grande núcleo
9.4. Helio Oiticica, Parangolé
9.5. Rubens Gerchman, O rei do mau gosto
9.6. Alfredo Volpi, Bandeirinhas verdes sobre rosa
9.7. Ione Saldanha, Ripas
9.8. Ione Saldanha, Bambus
9.9. Rubem Valentim, Pintura
9.10. Rubem Valentim, Totem
10.1. Alberto Gironella, Reina Mariana
10.2. Jorge de la Vega, El espejo al final de la escalera
10.3. Jacobo Borges, Ha comenzado el espectáculo
10.4. Fernando Botero, Guerra
10.5. Fernando Botero, Canasta de frutas
10.6. Beatríz González, Saluti da San Pietro
11.1. Nirma Zárate and Diego Arango (Taller 4 Rojo), Agresión del imperialismo
11.2. Antonio Henrique Amaral, Só em verde
11.3. Antonio Henrique Amaral, A morte no sábado--Tributo a Wladimir Herzog
11.4. Waltercio Caldas, Tubo de Ferro/Copo de Leite
11.5. Cildo Meireles, Missão/Missões
11.6. Gonzalo Díaz, Banco/Marco de prueba
12.1. Luis Cruz Azaceta, Homo-Fragile
12.2. Nahum Zenil, Con todo respeto
12.3. Hilton Berredo, Desdobrada flamejante
12.4. Leda Catunda, Vestidos
12.5. César Paternosto, T'oqapu
12.6. Cecilia Vicuña, Precario/Precarious
12.7. Leandro Katz, Parasol and Friday's Footprint
12.8. Carlos Zerpa, El Dorado
12.9. Miguel von Dangel, La Batalla de San Romano

Latin America does not have a survey of its modern art like those that exist for the art of Europe and the United States. Although several books have contributed greatly to an understanding of Latin American modern art, none fills the need for a structured, sequential discussion of this art in its diverse contexts and interrelationships. Recent multiauthored exhibition catalogs and general surveys offer helpful information and insights, but these are often fragmentary and do not provide the broader historical context that helps to explain the art as a whole. The tendency to stereotype and exoticize this art as a whole has cast a negative shadow on the notion of a survey such as this. Although I am fully aware of the inherent danger posed by one individual's interpretations of the art of so many different times and places, for the purpose of studying and teaching such a subject, the same coherence that has been afforded the study of European and United States art by individual authors for decades seems equally justified for the study of the modern art of Latin America. The fact that it has become increasingly difficult to stylistically classify the art from the 1970s on, not only in Latin America but in most countries of the Western world, does not imply the absence of identifiable trends and patterns in the art of Latin America from earlier years. It is the purpose of this book to identify these patterns in their appropriate contexts.

As is the case for surveys of modern European art, this study centers around the major movements and artists who have contributed innovative forms and new directions to the art of their country. The material included is necessarily selective and therefore leaves out many groups as well as deserving individuals that are not very well known abroad. Without this selectivity, however, this book would have resulted in an unwieldy listing of names, and it seemed more appropriate to discuss fewer examples in greater depth.

It is my hope that the artists I have excluded will not take my omission as a dismissal of their work or its artistic value. In many cases, it is because of their originality (as exceptions to the rule) in not conforming to a given tendency that they do not have a place in my discussion. I am aware that any form of selectivity results in a partial truth. The selection is therefore predicated on how representative the groups and artists are of their time and place as well as on the need for clarity in presenting such a broad subject. In addition to artists, several countries have been excluded: the Central American ones, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Paraguay. This inverse choice was dictated by the fact that before the 1970s, the art of these countries offered no new paradigms and, in some cases, followed the Mexican model. A significant portion of this book is devoted to this earlier period in order to establish the setting for some of the movements and artists that followed.

Because of its long history of colonization by the Spaniards, British, French, and North Americans and its proximity to the United States, Latin America has remained a volatile subject and its art has not benefited from the type of unbiased treatment other areas have received. For one, it has been subjected to the vicissitudes of fashions and political as well as economic factors outside Latin America, rather than to a serious dedication to its history. Second, writings on Latin American art have tended either to favor romantic perceptions of what it should be or to uphold an image of Latin America as a victim of oppression and predatory powers. While both views have some validity, in themselves they are exclusionary, leaving out a whole range of art forms that do not conform to them. The temptation--for outsiders especially--to invent Latin America, rather than to look at what is actually there, is always great.

For this reason I have attempted to be as straightforward as possible about presenting this subject and considering the major contacts between Latin America, Europe, and the United States--contacts that have too often been downplayed for fear of making Latin American art seem derivative of other art. But this fear is unjustified. It is no more derivative than the art of other areas in the Western world. But far from being merely a factual exposé of the art itself, this study also addresses questions of cultural and social context and takes into account some of the revisionist positions in recent literature because of the insights they contribute.

I have basically followed a stylistic system of classification for the period prior to 1970. But this system breaks down after that time as art increasingly crossed stylistic boundaries. Therefore, the later period is treated primarily in terms of theme and medium. Each period is first identified by the patterns common to several artists, then developed in terms of individual artists. In cases where a single artist established a new direction with widespread ramifications, more space is devoted, such as the case of the Uruguayan Joaquín Torres-García, who is the subject of a whole chapter.

The material presented here is based on research conducted over a period of some forty years. It includes a study of writings and statements by Latin American critics, historians, and artists who have furnished valuable keys to the interpretation of their works or ideas. It is also indebted to the scholarly work of a few pioneering individuals, in and outside Latin America, who have contributed greatly to this field over the years.

Intellectual currents, as well as social and historical events contemporary with the art, serve as a framework throughout most of this book. For instance, José Vasconcelos left his mark on the early phase of the Mexican mural program, and José Carlos Mariateguí left his on a generation of Peruvian artists in the 1930s. The art-critical community in individual countries has, to a great extent, affected the direction of each country's art. Before World War II, writers tended to situate their country's art within a national discourse. This practice still exists in some countries. It is also common for novelists and poets, rather than art critics, to write about art, and they often provide literary equivalents rather than critical or art-historical analyses of the art. After the war, the need to accommodate new forms of art, especially abstraction, led a handful of influential critics--such as the Argentines Marta Traba and Jorge Romero Brest; the Brazilians Ronaldo Brito, Ferreira Gullar, and Aracy Amaral; and scores of others--to embrace new critical approaches to art based on a blend of social history, French art-critical methods, and, more rarely, formalist criticism. But the latter--a system generated in the United States by critics such as Clement Greenberg--proved inappropriate. Its exclusion of content (as irrelevant) from a reading of the art poses a problem, since content was rarely absent from Latin American art and was usually integral to its meaning, no matter how abstract. However, with the displacement in the 1970s of formalist criticism in the United States by postmodern and feminist debates, both of which opened the way for more flexible and inclusive systems of critical inquiry, content was back in favor. As indicated by the numerous exhibitions of modern Latin American art that took place in the United States, England, and other Western countries after 1980, a broader public was now better prepared to appreciate it.

The recent art of Latin America has come to be relatively well known, but that of the earlier period is less so, and a considerable portion of this book is devoted to the latter. This study covers the major movements, groups, and artists in Mexico, Cuba, Haiti, and most of South America, including Brazil, from the turn of the twentieth century to the 1980s and begins with an overview of the nineteenth century. In the following chapters, each country is discussed in terms of its most significant and influential contributions and the conditions that fostered them.

The material is divided into two parts: before and after World War II. The first period ends with social and indigenista art, surrealism, and the utopian idealism of Torres-García's constructive universalism. The second begins with the spread of abstraction and the resulting need for artists to redefine their cultural identities within the new modes. The two sections are further subdivided chronologically by decade or, in the case of the 1930s and 1940s, by two decades. This method has made it possible to identify corresponding historical events and ideological currents that affected artists at given times and places, and has also helped to dispel stereotypes based solely on thematic tendencies.

The use of specific terminology like indigenismo and modernismo is explained within the appropriate chapters. However, some amplification is useful here for terms such as modernism and contemporary. Earlier in the twentieth century, modernism referred to the art of the impressionists through that of the cubists, futurists, and expressionists. In recent years it has come to include most nonrepresentational art up to the late 1960s. Here I use it specifically to refer to avant-garde art of the 1920s (Brazilians defined their avant-garde movement as modernista). When I use modernism in its broader sense to include art through the 1960s, I specify so. In order to avoid confusion between modernism as avant-garde and modernismo as the equivalent of symbolism as well as the name of the literary movement led by the Nicaraguan poet Rubén Darío and of a widespread form of painting in Latin America based on Spanish models, I use the Spanish term for the earlier art (which included symbolism, art nouveau, impressionism, and postimpressionism) and the English one for the avant-garde styles of the 1920s. The term contemporary here is not synonymous with modernism. It refers to art or an event occurring contemporaneously with something else. It is used to designate an occurrence simultaneous with the art under consideration, or to refer to an ever-fugitive present.

The system I present here is by no means the only possible model for structuring nine decades of Latin American art, but it is the one that has worked best for me in the classroom. With that challenge in mind, I have designed this book to be accessible to a general educated public as well; it presupposes no special knowledge of art history or its terminology on the part of the reader.

 

Jacqueline Barnitz is Professor of Modern Latin American Art at the University of Texas at Austin.

"An exciting and invaluable work of synthesis and interpretation, Barnitz's grand survey greatly enhances understanding of the extraordinary cultural mix that infuses Latin American art with its soulfulness and vigor. "

—Booklist

"With ease and agility, Barnitz navigates an entire century's worth of art produced in the varied regions and cultures of Latin America."

ARTnews

"For breadth of reference and range of coverage, this book will stand for some time as the most comprehensive study to date of modern Latin American art from the Caribbean basin to the Southern cone countries."

—David Craven, author of Diego Rivera as Epic Modernist

Vasari Award
Dallas Museum of Art

Honorable Mention, ALAA Book Award
The Association of Latin American Art