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The poet Iván Silén writes about what Puerto Rican painting is and aspires to be. He believes that painting in Puerto Rico has become “insulated” and has been seriously harmed by foreign “isms.” He mentions that certain artists are the exceptions to the rule, among them Rafael Colón Morales, Elizam Escobar, Rafael Trelles, Myrna Báez, Francisco Rodón, Teo Freytes, and Carlos Irizarry. Silén suggests that Puerto Rican posters were an attempt to replace painting. He is dismayed by abstraction and social customs, and goes so far as to use the term “aesthetic colonials” to describe those who try to produce Pop and Minimalist art in Puerto Rico.


Iván Silén (b. 1944) is a Puerto Rican poet and critic. He has published several books, among them: Los poemas de Filí-Melé [The Poems of Filí-Melé]; El miedo del Pantócrata [The Fear of the Pantocrat]; and La poesía como libertá [sic] [Poetry as Freedom] (1992), which earned him the Pen Club Poetry Prize in 1993. He has also written numerous essays, including: “El llanto de las ninfómanas” [The Weeping of the Nymphomaniacs]; “Nietzsche o la dama de las ratas” [Nietzsche or the Rat Lady]; “La rebelión” [The Rebellion]; and “Los ciudadanos de la morgue” [The Citizens of the Morgue].

Flavia Marichal Lugo
Museo de Historia, Antropología y Arte, Universidad de Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puerto Rico