THE LATIN AMERICAN SPIRIT: ART AND ARTISTS IN THE UNITED STATES 1920-1970

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Felix Angel, Marimar Benitez, Luis R. Crancel, , Nelly Perazzo, Jacinto Quirarte, Lowery S. Sims, Carla Stellweg, New York, 1988.

Hardcover, 343 pp., color and bw illustrations,  11 x 9 x 1 inches.

In this introduction, Luis Cancel explains the logic behind how he and his colleagues organized the exhibition The Latin American Spirit: Art and Artists in the United States, 1920-1970. He also explains, at length, the curatorial team’s larger educational and social goals in formulating the exhibition. Cancel describes the goals of the exhibition and catalog as 1) to document how Latin American artists participated in the development of U.S. art and culture; 2) to show how prevalent this participation has been; and 3) to feature the history of Puerto Rican artists on the Island and in the U.S. The exhibition is organized according to six “art historical” categories: 1) “constructivism and geometric art,” 2) “socially concerned” art, 3) “New World Surrealism,” 4) “abstraction,” 5) “figuration and Realism,” and 6) the “art of the 1960s.” Cancel elaborates on how he wants the show and the book to prompt further study of Latin American art, on both academic and mainstream levels. The curator also describes how he has attempted to address the problem of Puerto Rican art falling within the purview neither of Latin American nor U.S. art history by examining it as a participant in both. Cancel ends by affirming that the overall goal of this exhibition is “. . . to redefine the way Latin American art is viewed and discussed in this country.

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