On Art, Artists, Latin America and Other Utopias

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On Art, Artists, Latin America and Other Utopias by Luis Camnitzer, edited by Rachel Weiss 2009. 272 pages. ISBN: 978-0292719767 Cloth, $45.00. University of Texas Press, www.utexaspress.com, 800 2>2 3206.

Artist, educator, curator and critic Luis Camnitzer has been willing about contemporary art ever since he left his native Uruguay in 1964 for a fellowship in New York City. This volume gathers his most thought-provoking essays - "texts written to make something happen," in die words of volume editor Rachel Weiss. The thane of "translation" is carried through the first part of the book, with Camnitzer asking such questions as "What is Latin America, and who asks die question? Who is die artist, there and here?" The texts in the second section are more historically than geographically oriented, exploring little-known moments, works and events that Camnilzer draws on and offers (0 his readers. Viewing society through the eyes of someone who has been transplanted from another country, Camnitzer has had to confront fundamental questions about making art in the Americas, asking himself and others: What is Latin American art? How does it relate (if it does) to art created in the centers of New York and Europe? What is the role of die artist in exile? Writing about issues of such personal, cultural and political importance has long been part of Camnitzer's artistic project. With this volume, Luis Camnitzer displays his multifaceted approach to creating, teaching and critiquing art.

From the beginning of die book, Camnitzer explores how local histories are written. But the volume also gives readers a glimpse into who Camnilzer really is. …