Art, theater, poetry, humor, la cocina cubana—and a dragon in the garden
Cuban art in the 20th century: Cultural identity and the international avant garde. By Segundo J. Fernández, Juan A. Martínez, Paul Niell (Florida State University Museum of Fine Arts, 2016). “The Cuban modern art movement consists of a loose group of artists, divided into generations, who counted on the moral support of an intellectual elite and who had minimal economic help from the private and public sectors. In spite of a fragile infrastructure, this art movement, along with similar movements in literature and music, played a major role in defining Cuban culture in the twentieth century.” This is the catalogue of an exhibition, curated by Segundo Fernández, presented at the FSU Museum of Fine Arts, February 12–March 27, 2016. In English.
Segundo J. Fernández is an art collector and guest curator of the exhibition. Juan A. Martínez is professor emeritus of art and art history at Florida International University and the author of several books, including Cuban Art and National Identity: The Vanguardia Painters, 1927–1950. Paul Niell is assistant professor in art history at Florida State University.
La abstraccion en la pintura cubana: 126 pintores cubanos abstractos, no figurativos, no objetuales (Volume 1). Revised Edition. By Luis García Peraza (Arista Publishing Co. 2016). The author explores the origins of abstraction in Cuban painting, and its universal roots. This edition includes two new essays on abstract painting and 26 new interviews with painters, for a total of 126 interviews and 630 images, as well as a Chronology covering the years 1930–2015 and a new Prologue. In Spanish.
Iconocracia: An Image of Power and the Power of Images in Contemporary Cuban Photography. By Iván de la Nuez (Turner, 2016). A profusely illustrated catalogue, interspersed with brief essays by curator Iván de la Nuez, Iconocracia brings together the works of approximately 30 Cuban photographers and explores ways that artists of several generations have wrestled with the “official” iconography of the Revolution and post-Revolutionary Cuban life. The exhibition was presented at Artium, the Basque Museum Center of Contemporary Art in Vitoria-Gasteiz in northern Spain in 2015, and at the Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno (CAAM) in Las Palmas in 2016. Among the artists included are Juan Carlos Alom, Ana Mendieta, Carlos R. Cárdenas, Carlos Garaicoa, Reynier Leyva Novo, and Geandy Pavón. Bilingual edition.
Iván de la Nuez (b. Havana, 1964) is an essayist, art critic, and exhibition curator. He has been the head of the Cultural Activities Department at the Contemporary Culture Center of Barcelona (2009–2011) and the Exhibitions Director at La Virreina Centre de la Imatge (2000–2009).
El humor gráfico en la prensa cubana. By Luis García Fresquet (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2016). This book offers an overview of the intricate and controversial world of editorial caricature, beginning in the years 1952–1958 during the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista, and continuing in 1959 with humor found in the government-controlled press. Illustrated with caricatures and pages from the weeklies Zig Zag and El Pitirre; the magazines Bohemia and Cartón; and political cartoons by the most outstanding graphic humorists of the 1950s and 60s. In Spanish.
Apuntes para un viaje a Alemania: El cómix. By Carlos A. Aguilera, with illustrations by Maldito Menéndez (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2016). A comic book or graphic novel—based on the text of the same name by writer Carlos A. Aguilera and artist Maldito Menéndez—that journeys through hundreds of 20th- and 21st-century documentary images, tracking hidden paths between phenomena as distant in time and space as German fascism and the Cuban Revolution. The authors, both Cubans living in Europe, have created an artifact that mixes autobiographical and imaginary elements with historical and cultural facts and personalities, along with large doses of satire and black humor. In Spanish.
Cuba Inside Out: Revolution and Contemporary Theatre (Theater in the Americas). By Yael Prizant (Southern Illinois University Press, 2013). “The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989 drastically altered life in Cuba. Theatre artists were faced with new economic and social realities that changed their day-to-day experiences and ways of looking at the world beyond the island. The Cuban Revolution’s resistance to and intersections with globalization, modernity, emigration, and privilege are central to the performances examined in this study. The first book-length study in English of Cuban and Cuban American plays, Cuba Inside Out provides a framework for understanding texts and performances that support, challenge, and transgress boundaries of exile and nationalism. Prizant reveals the intricacies of how revolution is staged theatrically, socially, and politically on the island and in the Cuban diaspora. This close examination of seven plays written since 1985 seeks to alter how U.S. audiences perceive Cuba, its circumstances, and its theatre.” The author is a translator, dramaturg, and assistant professor of theatre at the University of Notre Dame. In English.
Fuga del bosque. By Felix Lizárraga (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2015). “Félix Lizárraga is not only one of the most important poets of his generation; he is also one of its most original voices, with a unique style that, while striving to emulate the classics, is singularly modern. His sonnets are veritable works of filigree as well as excellent proof that rigorousness of form is hardly incompatible with spontaneity of expression. … [N]o well-versed reader will miss references to mythology, Shakespeare, and the Middle Ages, or tributes to the best of Modernism.” — Francisco Morán, essayist and poet. In Spanish.
La cocina cubana de Vero. By Verónica Cervera (Anaya, Madrid / Lectorum Pubns, 2015). “Cuban cooking incorporates the island's rich cultural heritage, combining culinary elements from Spain, Africa, China, and France. Verónica Cervera provides not only traditional recipes from Cuba; she also includes recipes from Cubans living in exile. The delicious dishes include Stuffed Potatoes, Lentil Salad, Plantain Soup, Fried Snapper, Ropa Vieja, Mamey Shake, and Guayaba Turnovers. A glossary is included.” In Spanish.
Verónica Cervera is a Cuban residing in Miami. She has published her recipes in the blog Baby Center, in the magazine Qué rica vida, in El Nuevo Herald, in the web site Travel Curious Often, Telemundo 51, and El Velero de Yaiza. In 2013 she was selected as a Top Latino in Social Media (LATISM) Blogger and was a finalist in the category of Best Food Blog.
Sabor Cubano. By Patricia Belatti Cabrera, with photos by Nacho Urquiza (Ediciones Boloña, 2015). Ballerina, choreographer, and professor of Afro-Cuban Culture Patricia Belatti has assembled a collection of 82 recipes, with the participation of 24 artists and intellectuals and 10 paladares, plus an introduction by Dr. Eusebio Leal Spengler. Belatti emphasizes that Cuban cuisine is more than just black beans and rice; it incorporates the flavors of Asia, Africa, and Europe which young chefs are exploiting in ingenious ways. In Spanish.
Dragones en el cielo. By Sergio Andricaín, with illustrations by Israel Barrón (El Naranjo, 2013). One day, while walking in the woods, two children find a gigantic egg. They take it home and care for it next to the fire, wondering what kind of creature it contains. Then one morning, the shell breaks open and a dragon emerges! This fantastic creature soon becomes their great friend and playmate. As the animal grows, so do the expectations of the family and the villagers who anxiously await something that only dragons can do. Until one day an unexpected visitor changes everything… In Spanish.