Art Cuba: The New Generation

By Holly Block; Cola Franzen et al. | Go to book overview

Selected Chronology and Exhibition History: Cuban Art since the Revolution
The ISA, visual arts building.

1959
Triumph of the Cuban Revolution. Fidel Castro assumes power in January.
ICAIC. Instituto Cubano del Arte e Industria Cinematográficos (Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Art and Industry) is created by the Revolutionary government, with Alfredo Guevara as its first president.

1961
Diplomatic Ties Severed. In January, the U.S. breaks off diplomatic relations with Cuba.
Operation Peter Pan. Beginning in late 1960 and continuing through 1962, approximately 15,000 children are sent out of Cuba by their families, in the fear that parental authority will be transferred to the Cuban state and spurred by rumors that Cuban children will be sent to the Soviet Union. Twelve-year-old Ana Mendieta, later to become one of Cuba's most important artists and the first Cuban-American artist to exhibit back in Cuba, is among the children who arrive in the U.S.
Prohibition of the magazine Lunes de Revolución (whose writers include Guillermo Cabrera Infante, Carlos Franqui, Edmundo Desnoes, and Ambrosio Fornet). The short film P.M. (directed by Sabá Cabrera Infante and Orlando Jiménez ) is censored for showing allegedly offensive images of Havana's nightlife. These are two early examples of the new governmental control over art.
Palabras a los intelectuales (Words to the Intellectuals). In June, the Cuban intellectual community holds a series of meetings with Armando Hart Dávalos, minister of education; Osvaldo Dorticós Torrado, president of the republic; and Fidel Castro, prime minister. In the final meeting Castro declares the famous sentence: "Within the Revolution, everything; outside the Revolution, nothing." The moral and political commitment of the artist to society is stated in the Constitution of the Republic of Cuba in 1976.
UNEAC. On August 22, the national union of writers and artists of Cuba is founded in Havana. (The current president is Abel Prieto, and UNEAC now has 3,751 members.)

1962
U.S. Embargo. In February, the U.S. imposes a full trade embargo against Cuba.
ENA. Escuela Nacional de Arte (National School of Art) is created by the Cuban government for the purpose of offering art instruction to students of all socioeconomic backgrounds. In the 1960s it serves as a meeting place for artists such as Sebastián Matta, Antonio Saura, and Wifredo Lam, who give lectures to students. The school is founded in Havana's former exclusive country club.
Galería Habana in Havana is founded.

1965-67
UMAP Cuban artists and writers are among those interned in labor camps known as Unidades Militares de Ayuda a la Producción (Military Units to Assist Production), for reasons of political dissent or sexual orientation.
1967
Salon de Mayo. An international group of artists, including Cuban artists such as Wifredo Lam, Chago, and René Portocarrero, create a collective mural in Havana.
1971
Soviet Union starts to provide economic assistance to Cuba.
First National Congress of Education and Culture. At this conference held by the government, art is defined as an "arm of the Revolution"; "extravagance" and homosexuality, among other "social evils," are criticized. The Congress promotes the decommercialization of art, the involvement of art in daily life, and the importance of the political aspects of art over the aesthetic. Government censorship of the arts intensifies.
Padilla Case. The writer Heberto Padilla is jailed when the government criticizes his collection of poetry Fuera del juego (Out of the Game), which won the Julián del Casal Prize awarded by the UNEAC in 1968. He is accused of anti- patriotism and demoralizing the Cuban people.

1976
Ministry of Culture is founded.
ISA. Instituto Superior de Arte (Graduate School of Art) is founded, providing students with intensive studio and theoretical visual and performing arts training. From this school emerges the first generation of Cuban artists fully trained during the Cuban Revolution, later known as the 1980s generation.

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Art Cuba: The New Generation
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 5
  • Introduction - Remembering Why 7
  • New Cuban Art Y2k 12
  • Notes 16
  • Notes 23
  • The Pleasure of Reference 24
  • Culture and Society in the Work of Cuban Artists 30
  • Notes 35
  • Plates 37
  • The Artists 149
  • Selected Chronology and Exhibition History: Cuban Art Since the Revolution 160
  • Selected Bibliography 168
  • Index 169
  • Acknowledgments 173
  • Credits 174
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