Plástica, Organo Cultural de la Liga de Estudiantes de Arte de San Juan (San Juan, Puerto Rico). -- No. 2 (1978)
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Argentine critic Jorge Romero Brest remarks that he was not invited to participate in the symposium “El artista latinoamericano y su identidad” [The Latin American Artist and His Identity] held at the University of Texas en Austin in October 1975. Indeed, he learned of the event upon seeing the publication of its minutes by Damián Bayón, the symposium’s organizer and professor at the university at the time. This led Brest to write a critical report on what happened there, questioning what is meant by the term “Latin American identity” and what the various critics and writers participating in the event had to say about it. Brest states that he was startled by the affirmation that “identity” is no longer a problem for the Latin American artist. He criticizes Marta Traba’s formulation of what she calls “the culture of resistance.” Brest closes by saying that the participation of critics and professors from the United States was by no means relevant due to their lack of information on the topic. He emphatically states that the panelists expressed their personal opinions, rather than well-grounded judgments. Moreover, he condemns the selection of participants in the symposium, which he merely calls “a regional meeting.”
The minutes of the event that brought together major figures in Latin American criticism like Marta Traba, Juan Acha, Aracy Amaral, and many others, were published in book form: Damián Bayón, edit. El artista latinoamericano y su identidad (Caracas: Monte Avila Editores, 1977). Significantly, both Bayón and Traba had been disciples of Brest. Indeed, Bayón had been an early editor-in-chief of Ver y estimar [To See and Ponder] (1949–55), the famous magazine that Brest had founded.
First published in Revista Visión, this article was later reproduced in the magazine Plástica.
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.