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U.S. critic Shifra M. Goldman comments on the importance of the Bienal de San Juan del Grabado Latinoamericano y del Caribe [San Juan Biennial of Latin American and Caribbean Graphic Art] for Puerto Rico, Latin America, and the Caribbean. At the VII Bienal [7th Biennial], inaugurated in November 1986, there were 253 artist participants representing 18 countries, including Cuban artists still living in Cuba. Many Puerto Rican artists resumed their participation in the biennial after having boycotted the 5th and 6th biennials. The writer lists the seven prizewinners: Edgar Álvarez (Colombia), Umberto Castro (Cuba), Ismael Guardado (Mexico), Luis Hernández Cruz (Puerto Rico), Lucía Maya (Mexico), Liliana Porter (Argentina, living in New York), and Antonio Seguí (Argentina, living in Paris).


In this article, Shifra M. Goldman (1926–2011) mistakenly refers to the VIII Bienal de San Juan del Grabado Latinoamericano y del Caribe, [8th Biennial], when the biennial actually held in 1986 was the 7th Biennial. The Selection Committee for the VII Bienal de San Juan del Grabado Latinoamericano y del Caribe consisted of three Puerto Rican artists: Manuel García Fonteboa, Lope Max Díaz, and Jaime Romano. The International Prize Jury was made up of art critics, Raquel Tibol from Mexico, Goldman from the United States, and Jorge Glusberg from Argentina; artists, Antonio Frasconi from Uruguay and Marcos Irizarry from Puerto Rico; and the biennial directors, Herman Hebler from Norway and Ryszard Otreba from the Krakow Biennial in Poland.  The Biennial de San Juan del Grabado Latinoamericano was one of the most important events held in the Caribbean region, given that it fostered an exchange of ideas and contact among different artists. The first of these biennials was organized by the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña [Institute of Puerto Rican Culture] (ICP) in 1970. Printmaking was selected because it was a form of expression that was widely practiced by Puerto Rican artists, who were producing very high quality work. In 1986, “y del Caribe” [and Caribbean] was added to the name of the biennial so it could include that geographic area in the event. Parallel to this change, the biennial included two exhibitions to recognize artists’ work: one to honor a Puerto Rican artist and the other to honor a foreign artist.    Samuel B. Cherson’s essay, “La VII Bienal del Grabado Latinoamericano” [7th Biennial of Latin American Graphic Art] provides another point of view on this biennial (see doc. No. 852865).

Flavia Marichal Lugo
Museo de Historia, Antropología y Arte, Universidad de Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Courtesy of Eric Garcia, POA Shifra Goldman, North Hollywood, CA
Courtesy of Arte Público Press, University of Houston, Houston, TX