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To and from Utopia in the New Cuban Art

2010
Author:

Rachel Weiss

To and from Utopia in the New Cuban Art

The definitive critical history of the new Cuban art

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. 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.

Rachel Weiss is a major expert on contemporary art in Cuba. Her knowledge is the result of profound research and, more importantly, of her very active personal involvement. Her discussions on the ‘New Cuban Art’ are the result of a social and contextual approach, bursting with sharp views, provocative ideas, and personal experiences. To and from Utopia in the New Cuban Art is the most important historical publication on the subject, and everyone who reads it will learn about Cuba and what’s more: will live Cuba.

Gerardo Mosquera

‘The new Cuban art grew up in the supercharged and conflicting currents of revolution, sometimes tracking to its optimism and at other times 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 Cuban 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.

Awards

Choice Outstanding Academic Title

To and from Utopia in the New Cuban Art

Rachel Weiss is a writer, curator, and educator who has been traveling to and writing about Cuba since 1986. She is professor of arts administration and policy at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and has published extensively on contemporary art.

To and from Utopia in the New Cuban Art

Rachel Weiss is a major expert on contemporary art in Cuba. Her knowledge is the result of profound research and, more importantly, of her very active personal involvement. Her discussions on the ‘New Cuban Art’ are the result of a social and contextual approach, bursting with sharp views, provocative ideas, and personal experiences. To and from Utopia in the New Cuban Art is the most important historical publication on the subject, and everyone who reads it will learn about Cuba and what’s more: will live Cuba.

Gerardo Mosquera

Fascinating and beautifully illustrated book.

artcritical.com

With a number of color images, this volume presents many previously unpublished and unknown works and artists and becomes an indispensable guide to this thriving current production.

CHOICE

The strength of this thought-provoking and forcefully argued study, like its author’s heart, lies in its compelling account of the conceptual, courageous, irreverent and highly popular art.

Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology

To and from Utopia in the New Cuban Art

Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction: To Build the Sky

1. Everyday
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

2. Laughing
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

Interlude: Withdrawal

3. Museum
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

Notes
Index