Postmodernism and the Postsocialist Condition: Politicized Art under Late Socialism

By Aleš Erjavec | Go to book overview

The New Cuban Art Gerardo Mosquera

A question of major importance in Cuban culture is the link between radical political and artistic positions, something that usually occurs in small, poor, subaltern countries where culture carries a marked social edge attuned to the circumstances in which it is produced and where it has been forced to construct a national identity in the face of colonial and neocolonial powers. On the island of Cuba, this trait goes back to the onset of the independence movement—inspired by the French Revolution—at the beginning of the nineteenth century. A large number of the most important intellectuals were also truly outstanding political figures. The paradigm is José Martí, Cuba's national hero, organizer of the war that led to independence from Spain in 1898 and at the same time one of the great writers in the Spanish language. But what is still more telling is that the first possible Cuban Catholic saint o be beatified and now in the process of canonization is Félix Varela, a priest from the early 1800s, professor of philosophy, publicist, political figure active in the courts of Spain, and the first to support the independence of the island, a cause he championed until his death in exile, that is, someone who could be on good terms with both God and the devil.

The weight of a liberal and enlightened tradition in the formation of the Cuban nation, along with the social sense of the intellectual avant-garde as well as the geographical and historical location of the island in the Occidental sphere, established a specific background for the socialist regime in Cuba that was different from the case in Asia or Central and Eastern Europe. On the other hand, these coordinates are to be found in greater or lesser degree in Latin America in general. Moreover, in the early 1980s, when the so-called New Cuban Art movement was consolidated, many intellectuals of the island still harbored a hope for the nationalist and Third World utopia of social justice promised by the Cuban revolution and based on indisputable social

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Postmodernism and the Postsocialist Condition: Politicized Art under Late Socialism
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents vi
  • Illustrations vii
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Foreword xv
  • Notes xviii
  • Introduction 1
  • Notes 50
  • The Other Gaze - Russian Unofficial Art's View of the Soviet World 55
  • Notes *
  • Art as a Political Machine - Fragments on the Late Socialist and Postsocialist Art of Mitteleuropa and the Balkans 90
  • Notes *
  • Neue Slowenische Kunst—new Slovenian Art - Slovenia, Yugoslavia, Self-Management, and the 1980s 135
  • Notes *
  • Hungarian Marginal Art in the Late Period of State Socialism 175
  • Notes *
  • The New Cuban Art 208
  • Notes *
  • Post-Utopian Avant-Garde Art in China 247
  • Notes *
  • Contributors 285
  • Index 287
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