The editorial categories are research topics that have guided researchers during the recovery phase and continue to be the impetus behind the Documents Project’s digital archive and the Critical Documents book series. Developed by the project’s Editorial Board, each of the teams analyzed this framework and adapted it to their local contexts in developing their research objectives and work plans during the Recovery Phase. Learn more on the Editorial Framework page.
In this essay, Giulio V. Blanc discusses various reactions to the 1988 burning of a Manuel Mendive’s drawing in Florida, to explain the different attitudes held by Cuban- Americans towards Cuba. He then connects this to the larger issue of exile and the way in which it has impacted Cuban-American artists, such as those featured in the Post-Miami Generation exhibition. Blanc explains that this exhibition, featuring the work of eight diverse Cuban American artists, was envisioned as a sequel to the well-known The Miami Generation exhibition that was held in 1983. According to Blanc, the Post-Miami Generation artists rose to prominence during the late 1980s and into the 1990s; however, compared to their predecessors, they make less overt references to their Cuban-ness. Blanc does not underestimate the impact of United States culture on this later generation of artists. They include photographer Maria Martinez-Cañas, sculptor José Bernardo, ceramicist René Aguilar, and painters Tomás Touron, Alberto Torre de Alba, Luisa Basnuevo, and Juan Carlos Garcia-Lavin.
In this introduction to the exhibition catalogue, Cuban born curator and art historian, Giulio V. Blanc (1955–95) provides a detailed analysis of the burning of a Manuel Mendive drawing of a peacock. The burning of the peacock, a symbol of the Afro-Cuban goddess Ochún—who is associated with the Catholic Virgin of Charity—was viewed as sacrilegious by many, and a necessary evil by others. Blanc further relates this to the symbolic killing of Ochún, or an Oba/king, which he believes is the “killing of a symbolic father-figure and the ultimate act of self-hatred and frustration on the part of a people.” This is indicative of the crisis of identity he expresses early on in the essay. Blanc concludes that these artists “bring a close to the history of Cuban-American art” because they are the last group of young Miami artists to have a direct link to “traditional Cuba.”