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Synopsis

The essay by Ricardo Pau-Llosa on the work of Cuban-born artist, Humberto Calzada, is divided into three sections. In the first one, “The Symbolism of Order,” Pau-Llosa addresses Calzada’s move from painting elements of colonial Cuban architecture to more complex modes of depicting architectural space. He discusses Calzada’s work in the context of the development of Cuban and Latin American art since the mid-1920s, mentioning Calzada’s artistic influences, artists such as Amelia Peláez, Mario Carreño, and Emilio Sánchez. Pau-Llosa additionally acknowledges elements that recur in Calzada’s work, such as openness toward simultaneity, painting as a form of theater, and representing the infinite. He connects these to the fact that Calzada is Latin American and an artist in exile. In the second section, “Dwelling,” Pau-Llosa focuses on the presence of stairs and other parts of buildings in Calzada’s work. He states that the artist began to include them in 1982 after he broke from producing nostalgic and anecdotal work. In this section Pau-Llosa also includes an exploration of the series A World Within (1984–89). In the last section, “The Broken Garden,” Pau-Llosa examines Calzada’s series known as The Garden, Still-Lifes, and Water Paintings, as well as the new existential sentiment present in his work, which he connects to the condition of being an exile.

Annotations

 

Humberto Calzada was born in Havana, Cuba, in 1944. He immigrated to the United States in 1960 and has resided in Miami ever since. He holds an MBA from the University of Miami and became a professional artist in 1976. Calzada is considered part of the Miami Generation—those who left Cuba and arrived in the United States in the 1960s—and is best known for the incorporation of architectural elements within his surreal paintings. 

Ricardo Pau-Llosa was born in Havana in 1954 and immigrated to the United States in 1960. He is a poet and art critic who has written extensively on Latin American art, including Cuban art in the United States. This essay is a very thorough analysis of the presence of architectural motifs in the work of Humberto Calzada and one of the most comprehensive texts on the artist’s work from 1975 to 1990. This essay appears in the exhibition catalog for Humberto Calzada that was presented at the Bass Art Museum in Miami, Florida, in the fall 1991. For the Spanish version of this document, see doc. no. 848217.
Researcher
Rosenblum
Team
Chicano Studies Research Center, UCLA, Los Angeles, USA
Credit
Courtesy of Ricardo Pau-Llosa, Miami, FL
Courtesy of the Bass Museum of Art, Miami Beach, FL