Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art

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Synopsis

The Argentine critic Silvia de Ambrosini claims that there have always been “opponents” in the art field. In her opinion, these “opponents” are what revitalizes the creative atmosphere. She says that in Latin American art “we find encounters and coincidences that can be linked to creative expressions from other times and places, that transform a regional vision into a universal one” [Ambrosini’s italics]. For example: Venezuelan Armando Reverón’s work can be linked to an abstract quality in the work of the English painter, J.M.W. Turner, just as a connection can be made between Xul Solar and Paul Klee; however, each of them retains distinctive elements of their own. In closing, de Ambrosini suggests that the term “Latin American” should be used as an adjective rather than as a noun.

Annotations

This issue of Plástica magazine was devoted to art in Latin America; it was produced by Ernesto Ruiz de la Mata, the Puerto Rican critic, who organized the Centro de Documentación de Arte Latinoamericano [Center for the Documentation of Latin American Art] in Puerto Rico during the 1980s. Some of the articles included in this issue were lectures delivered at various conferences and symposia that were collected here for the first time; other essays were contributed by their authors with no particular subject guidelines. This was the first time that a Puerto Rican magazine addressed the question of contemporary Latin American art.

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. 
 

Researcher
Flavia Marichal
Team
Museo de Historia, Antropología y Arte, Universidad de Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Location
Museo de Historia, Antropología y Arte, Universidad de Puerto Rico, Recinto de Río Piedras