Art and Revolution in Latin America, 1910-1990 / Edition 1

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In this uniquely wide-ranging book, David Craven investigates the extraordinary impact of three Latin American revolutions on the visual arts and on cultural policy. The three great upheavals -- in Mexico (1910-40), in Cuba (1959-89), and in Nicaragua (1979-90) -- were defining moments in twentieth-century life in the Americas. Craven discusses the structural logic of each movement's artistic project -- by whom, how, and for whom artworks were produced -- and assesses their legacies. In each case, he demonstrates how the consequences of the revolution reverberated in the arts and cultures far beyond national borders.

The book not only examines specific artworks originating from each revolution's attempt to deal with the challenge of "socializing the arts," but also the engagement of the working classes in Mexico, Cuba, and Nicaragua with a tradition of the fine arts made newly accessible through social transformation. Craven considers how each revolution dealt with the pressing problem of creating a "dialogical art" -- one that reconfigures the existing artistic resource rather than one that just reproduces a populist art to keep things as they were. In addition, the author charts the impact on the revolutionary processes of theories of art and education, articulated by such thinkers as John Dewey and Paulo Freire. The book provides a fascinating new view of the Latin American revolutionaries -- from artists to political leaders -- who defined art as a fundamental force for the transformation of society and who bequeathed new ways of thinking about the relations among art, ideology, and class, within a revolutionary process.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
[A] wonderfully intricate book. . . of undeniable pertinence. . . Recommended for larger public and academic libraries [and] specialized collections. . .
Library Journal
The author of Diego Rivera As Epic Modernist, Craven (art history, Univ. of New Mexico) here discusses the art and politics of the three great revolutions in Latin America in the last century: Mexico (1910-40), Cuba (1959-89), and Nicaragua (1979-90). He addresses the logic of each movement's artworks and demonstrates how the consequences of each revolution transcended national borders. Based on extensive research and interviews with numerous intellectuals and leaders from each country, this volume contributes to our understanding of revolution in historical, human, and aesthetic terms. Craven shows how many artists utilized complex symbolism while trying to redefine art in less Eurocentric terms. Works discussed here include paintings, posters, murals, pottery, and sculpture from well-known and lesser-known artists. Appendixes contain interviews with artists and political figures. This wonderfully intricate book on a seldom discussed topic is of undeniable pertinence to the future of the Americas. Recommended for larger public and academic libraries, specialized collections on Latin America, and collections dealing with the politics of social change. Sylvia Andrews, Indiana State Lib., Indianapolis Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300082111
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 8/28/2002
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 9.50 (w) x 11.56 (h) x 0.91 (d)

Meet the Author

David Craven is professor of art history at the University of New Mexico. A leading authority on the art and culture of the Nicaraguan Revolution, he is also the author of a landmark study of Diego Rivera and acclaimed studies of Cuban art since 1959.

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Table of Contents

Glossary of Terms and Abbreviations
Introduction: Revolving Definitions of the Word "Revolution" 1
1 The Mexican Revolution (1910-1940) 25
The Institutionalization of the Revolution in the 1920s 34
The Ministry of Education Murals (1923-1928) and the New Mass Politics 37
Orozco's Murals in the Escuela Nacional Preparatoria (1926-1927) 46
Chapingo (1926) and the Palacio Nacional (1929-1935) 51
The Taller de Grafica Popular and Estampas de la Revolucion 63
Critique: the "Socialization of Art" - A Future Challenge 71
2 The Cuban Revolution (1959-1989) 75
Cultural Policy, Public Institutions, and Dialogical Art 81
Cultural Democracy and Popular Engagement with Art 85
Autogestion and the Socialization of Art 90
Popular Culture versus Populism 92
From Cuban Pop Art through Volumen Uno (1959-1989) 94
Critique: Successes and Shortcomings on the Thirtieth Anniversary 114
3 The Nicaraguan Revolution (1979-1990) 117
Protorevolutionary Developments prior to 1979 123
Cultural Policy in Nicaragua during the 1980s 135
Particular Artworks Exemplary of the 1980s 143
New Forms of Patronage and Attendant Debates in the 1980s 169
Contradictions in the 1980s within the Revolution 171
App. A Diego Rivera, 1929: "New Plan of Study, Escuela Nacional de Artes Plasticas of Mexico" 176
App. B Gerardo Mosquera, 1985: "The Social Function of Art in Cuba since the Revolution of 1959" 180
App. C Ernesto Cardenal, 1980: "The Nicaraguan Revolution of 1979: A Culture that is Revolutionary, Popular, National, and Anti-Imperialist" 183
App. D Interview with Ernesto Cardenal, 1983 185
App. E Interview with Gioconda Belli of the FSLN, 1990 188
App. F Interview with Nicaraguan Artists in the UNAP, 1990 190
Notes 191
Bibliographic Note 215
Photograph Credits 217
Index 218
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