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    Marta Traba : una mujer que nos vio como nosotros no nos hemos podido ver / Margarita Fernández Zavala
    Plástica (San Juan, Puerto Rico). -- Vol. 1,  no. 13, (1985)
    p. 13-16 : ill.
    Journal article – Essays
    Fernández Zavala, Margarita . "Marta Traba : una mujer que nos vio como nosotros no nos hemos podido ver." Plástica, vol. 1,  no. 13, (1985): 13-16.
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The Puerto Rican historian Margarita Fernández Zavala describes what Marta Traba accomplished during the year and a half she spent in Puerto Rico. She stresses how important Traba was to her students, and explains how she critically reviewed, studied, and wrote about the history of Puerto Rican art. Fernández Zavala mentions that in her book, Propuesta polémica sobre arte puertorriqueño [Proposal in Defense of Puerto Rican Art], Traba links this art to her thesis concerning the art of resistance. The article also includes a brief bibliography of Traba’s written works.


Marta Traba (1930–1983) published a substantial number of articles in the various countries where she lived. When she arrived in San Juan, Puerto Rico, she had previously lived in Bogota, New York, Paris, and Buenos Aires. From August 1970 through the summer of 1971, the University of Puerto Rico at Río Piedras engaged her to teach a course on Latin American art as well as the obligatory courses on the General Theory of Art History (201) and the History of Modern Art (213), among others, in the department of fine arts. In the summer of 1971, she taught a class on aesthetics. At the end of the summer, the University did not renew her contract. While she was living in Puerto Rico, Traba wrote books, and many newspaper and magazine articles, in which she expressed her views on Puerto Rican art, which prompted considerable response and criticism in art circles.    


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.


Flavia Marichal
Museo de Historia, Antropología y Arte, Universidad de Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Courtesy of Margarita Fernández Zavala, Guaynabo, Puerto Rico

Museo de Historia, Antropología y Arte, Universidad de Puerto Rico, Recinto de Río Piedras