Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art

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Synopsis

Luis E. Díaz Hernández, executive director of the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña [Puerto Rican Cultural Institute] (ICP), sent a letter to the artist Lorenzo Homar with a questionnaire consisting of five questions. The objective of the exercise was to evaluate the XI Bienal de San Juan del Grabado Latinoamericano y del Caribe [11th San Juan Biennial of Latin American and Caribbean Prints] (1995) with a view to organizing the 12th Biennial in 1998. Homar replies very frankly to all five questions, explaining that he has not participated in the process since the 3rd Biennial for personal reasons. Among other comments, he says that it was over the top to have included 500 works, and that there should be fewer works presented at the event. Homar concludes by stating that the exhibition catalog written by the art historian Teresa Tío ignored his own work and his seminal contributions to the field of printing in Puerto Rico.

Annotations

The questions involved were as follows: (1) Indicate the two most outstanding areas of the 11th San Juan Biennial; (2) Indicate the two weakest areas of the 11th San Juan Biennial; (3) Identify what should be continued unchanged; (4) Suggest what should be improved at the Biennial, and (5) Indicate what new elements could be included in the San Juan Biennial.   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.    Lorenzo Homar (San Juan, 1913–2004) was a printmaker, poster artist, calligrapher, book illustrator, set and clothing designer, and mentor to a whole generation of Puerto Rican printmakers. From 1952 to 1957, he was the director of the Taller de Gráfica [Graphics Workshop] at the División de Educación de la Comunidad (DIVEDCO). In 1955, he organized the Taller de Gráfica at the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña (ICP), where he remained until 1973. Later, he worked in his own studio, where he experimented with and perfected the silkscreen technique.

Researcher
Flavia Marichal Lugo.
Team
Museo de Historia, Antropología y Arte, Universidad de Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Credit
Courtesy of the personal archives of Luis Edgardo Díaz Hernandez, Peñuelas, Puerto Rico.
Courtesy of Laura and Susan Homar Dämm, San Juan Puerto Rico, PR