Louise's Reviews > Art in Cuba

Art in Cuba by Gilbert Brownstonew
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it was amazing
bookshelves: cuba, artists

Here is a coffee table book you will read as you browse.

It begins with an essay by author Gilbert Brownstone on Cuban art and culture since the revolution. After this the author takes a back seat and lets the artists tell you about their work.

Brownstone notes the new and unique nature of Cuban art. After the revolution, the elite fled, leaving room for art to emerge from the people. There was a push for island-wide literacy with arts included in school curricula. The government provided facilities for artists and in 1984 initiated a Havana Biennial. The 1990’s were years of shortages, but a time when Cuban art became recognized as dealers abroad began promoting Cuban works. Until a few years ago, artists were paid by the government and sales were split 50-50. Today Cuban artists have their work in galleries abroad and studios in Cuba, many of which are tour destinations; at some studios the artists give workshops.

The 32 artists represent all genres: painting, installation, sculpture, holograms, paper, wood, collage. Some artists work not only in mixed media – but in several media. The content is as diverse as the media. Some of the art is personal, some experimental; some artists explore texture, others color. some of the art is political, only one overtly erotic. Very little is traditional. All the pieces shown are of exceptional quality.

Each artist is introduced with a map showing his or her place of birth and date and a photo of him or her, usually with a view of their studio. Only 2 of the artists are old enough to remember the revolution (although. Born in 1944 and 1951 they were very young). The maps show that artists are as likely to come from the country-side as Havana. There are at least 4 photos for each artist from which you can get an idea of his/her style. When you see these pictures, you'll want to see a show, the art is that good.

Another coffee table book, Cuba Talks: A New Perspective on Cuban Art Now covers similar ground – but you will probably not read this one. The interviews seem stilted and the type faces are jarring. Some of the artists in Art in Cuba appear here too. There are more photos so you see more of the work.

If you follow contemporary art, you will probably know something of this very good body of work. If your interest is casual, you should check these out.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
September 15, 2019 – Shelved
September 15, 2019 – Shelved as: cuba
September 15, 2019 – Shelved as: artists
September 15, 2019 – Finished Reading

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