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Cross Currents of Modernism: Four Latin American Pioneers - Bilingual Edition

Cross Currents of Modernism: Four Latin American Pioneers - Bilingual Edition

by Valerie J. Fletcher

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The catalogue to an exhibition at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, this dense volume chronicles the life and art of four Latin American artists--Diego Rivera, Joaquin Torres-Garcia, Wifredo Lam and Roberto Matta--who ``worked during the first half of this century to integrate the visual or formalist aspects of European modernism with Latin American themes,'' writes Fletcher, curator at the Hirshhorn. The artists are profiled biographically by Fletcher in straightforward and informative prose. Following each biographical sketch is a critical--and appreciative--essay about the artist by Oliver Debroise, Adolfo Maslach, Lowery Sims or Octavio Paz, whose lovely poem about Matta also is included. Highlights are Debroise's discussion of Rivera's adoption of Bolshevist ideology and its effect on his artistic identity, and Paz's interpretation of Matta's attraction to Surrealism as ``a strong hot wind of rebellion blowing across this icy and cruel century''; Matta, Paz writes, ``remained faithful to that subversive and generous impulse.'' Each artist also is represented by a number of his color plates, and the entire text is in both English and Spanish. (Sept.)
Library Journal - Library Journal
In the first half of this century, painting was centered in Europe. The centripetal pull of the Spanish and French art worlds brought to Europe four Latin American painters--Diego Rivera, Wifredo Lam, Joaquin Torres-Garcia, and Matta--to participate in the birth of modernism. After varying lengths of time and for various reasons, all returned to the New World to create strongly divergent versions of the orthodox European schools of painting. Written to accompany an exhibition at the Smithsonian, this volume presents a short account of the life and career of each artist along with a critical essay by such luminaries as Octavio Paz and an excellent selection of color illustrations. The coverage of the less well-known Lam, Matta, and Torres-Garcia is particularly valuable. Recommended for art libraries.-- David McClelland, Temple Univ. Lib., Philadelphia
Donna Seaman
In the first half of this century, many artists of the Americas crossed the Atlantic to join the vanguard of modern art in Europe, returning later to translate their experiences into their own "cultural visions," forging "new syncretic modes of `multicultural' modernism decades before that term gained currency." In the first study of its kind, Fletcher and her contributors, including Octavio Paz, examine the paths of four such artist-pioneers: Diego Rivera of Mexico, Joaquin Torres-Garcia of Uruguay, Wilfredo Lam of Cuba, and Matta of Chile. Color reproductions of each artist's work are displayed in chronological order to highlight the evolution of their aesthetic and the adaptation of European styles, cubism in particular, to New World subjects. The bilingual text (Spanish-English) discusses the life, influences, and imagery of each artist, contrasting their approaches from Rivera's nationalism to Torres-Garcia's esoteric use of symbols and intrinsic internationalism. Lam, son of a Chinese father and a European-African mother, epitomized the conflictful yet exciting legacy of mixed ancestry in his mix of primitive and modern styles and universal themes, while Matta's surrealistic paintings express the realm of the psyche. An insightful and fresh perspective on four major modern painters.

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Smithsonian Institution Press
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8.89(w) x 11.35(h) x 1.05(d)

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