Cuba: Arte Contemporaneo/Contemporary Art

Andrew Winkler. Overlook, $40 paper with flaps (288p) ISBN 978-1-590207-76-5
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 Garciandía, 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; José 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)
Reviewed on: 03/19/2012
Release date: 05/24/2012
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