Plástica (San Juan, Puerto Rico). -- Vol. 1, no. 20 (1991)
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Uruguayan critic Luis Camnitzer asserts that access to mainstream trends in art, let alone success on the art market, is difficult for artists from oppressed cultures. In his view, the colonized believe that the passage from a subordinate to a hegemonic culture is a breakthrough and a sign of progress. Thus, the “colonized” artist wants to gain access to the mainstream art market and, once he has, feels the urgent desire to assimilate in order to be accepted. Camnitzer believes that to survive in countries that were once colonies, a political consciousness capable of realigning priorities is needed to put an end to colonialism and to effect radical social change.
Born in Lübeck, Germany, in 1937, Luis Camnitzer immigrated to Uruguay in 1939 when he was just two years old. He studied sculpture and architecture at the Escuela de Bellas Artes of the Universidad del Uruguay. With a grant from the German government, Camnitzer studied sculpture and printmaking in 1957 at the Universität von München. In 1964, he moved to the United States where he currently lives and works. He has written a number of books and articles; like this one, many of them were published in the magazine Plástica, put out by the Liga de Arte [Art League] of San Juan. Camnitzer’s etching Línea ausente [Absent Line] (1969) won a prize at the 1970 Bienal de San Juan del Grabado Latinoamericano.Plástica magazine, where this review was published, was an art publication that appeared fairly regularly in Puerto Rico. It began modestly enough in 1968, as the newsletter of the Liga de arte de San Juan [San Juan Art League], but changed its name in 1978 to Plástica revista de la Liga de estudiantes de San Juan [San Juan Student League Visual Arts Magazine]. Its very specific title notwithstanding, the twenty-one issues of the magazine explored a wide range of subjects within the broad parameters of Puerto Rican and Latin American art, filling its pages with retrospective coverage of subjects, such as the V Bienal de San Juan del grabado latinoamericano y del Caribe [5th San Juan Biennial of Latin American and Caribbean Prints] (1981), Puerto Rican architecture, and Latin American visual arts. The first editorial board of the magazine included Hélène Saldaña, Delta Picó, Cordelia Buitrago, and J.M. García Segovia. In addition to the many essays written by top Puerto Rican thinkers, the magazine published contributions from some of the leading Latin American artists and critics, such as Luis Camnitzer, Damián Bayón, Jacqueline Barnitz, Samuel Cherson, Joseph Alsop, Omar Rayo, and Ricardo Pau Llosa, among many others.