Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art

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Synopsis

In the exhibition catalog for Cuban Artists of the Twentieth Century, which was on view at the Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale, Florida—from October 1993 to January 1994,—art historian Giulio V. Blanc opens his essay by noting the 50th anniversary of the landmark 1944 exhibition, Modern Cuban Painters, which was held at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York. He notes that MoMA’s exhibition, curated by Alfred Barr, is notable for having put Cuban art on the map in the 1940s. Blanc therefore feels that it is only appropriate that many of the paintings on view in the 1944 exhibition are on view in this show and “serve as a remarkable introduction to Cuban modernism.” He then notes that a large portion of the exhibition is dedicated to the Miami Generation (artists who were uprooted from Cuba in the early 1960s). Blanc’s essay is then broken down into smaller sections with the following headings: The Generation of 1927; Carlos Enriquez and Amelia Pelaez; Second Generation Modernists; Wifredo Lam; Artists of Transition (who left Cuba following the onset of the Revolution); The Miami Generation; The Mariel Artists; The Generation of the 1980s; and The Scull Sisters.

Annotations

Curator and art historian Giulio V. Blanc (1955–1995) was born in Havana and immigrated to the United States in 1960, where he became a leading authority on Latin American art, especially Cuban and Cuban-American art. Blanc’s essay, like the exhibition, focuses on Cuban modernism (on the island), shifting to Cuban-American modernism following the onset of the 1959 Cuban Revolution.

The exhibition, Cuban Artists of the Twentieth Century, was not intended to be a fully comprehensive overview of Cuban art. In fact, Conceptual art and photography were omitted and instead, colorful canvases and some sculpture dominated. As Blanc explains in his essay, the exhibition was curated by Jorge Santis who addressed two major issues: the first was in regard to the older artists’s search for national identity as well as the integration of Cuban essences with European modernism; and the second issue Santis wanted to explore was the experience of exile for more recent arrivals into the USA.

Researcher
Rosenblum
Team
Chicano Studies Research Center, UCLA, Los Angeles, USA
Credit
Courtesy of the private archive of Lodovico Blanc, Miami, FL