AICA-Cuba in Action

/ 1 December, 2018

Three matters monopolized the meeting of the Cuban branch of the International Association of Art Critics (AICA) held last October 4 at the home of its current president, Dr. Llilian Llanes, with the participation of new and old members. The meeting followed the route of the periodical event and the analysis of problems having an impact on current Cuban visual arts.

Detailed actions were outlined there to materialize an anthology on the critique of Dr. Adelaida de Juan (Havana, 1931-2018), an acclaimed History of Art professor and a UNESCO Latin American art expert who headed AICA-Cuba in the second half of the 1980s, was its honorary president when it was reconstituted in 2013 and led a criticism workshop in the University of Havana for several years. The compilation must be corollary of the AICA International Prize for the Distinguished Contribution to Art Criticism (…).The Prize was awarded during the inaugural day of the 49th edition of the Congress, held in the Cuban capital under the theme “New utopias: art, memory and contexts” (…)

In addition, the need to include art critics (Roberto Fernández Retamar, National Prize for Literature) in the National Registry of the Creator of Works of Plastic and Applied Arts was retaken at the meeting. A demand already presented in a meeting of the Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba, notified to the Ministry of Culture and still without a satisfactory solution. The alternative of being in the Registry of the Literary Creator, which up to a certain point dignifies the status of a profession still belittled by some, was not feasible for all those exercising visual art criticism in Cuba. (…)

There was also a debate on Decree 349, related to the application of the cultural policy and which should take effect in December. A legislative project that is not directed at regulating the freedom of creation but rather at preventing transgressions of that policy, as the official press has indicated (…).The same press suggested that the Decree have a complementary and clarifying regulation, agreed upon with the intellectuals. And in that sense the AICA meeting had its say and expressed its general concerns about the referred Decree 349 in terms of the way it was written and its putting into practice. (…) several critics (…) considered that the regulatory imprecisions left a very open ground for free interpretation and the probabilities that not sufficiently trained inspectors would inconsistently and regrettably impose measures, which could reproduce past mistakes.

Other pressing issues, like artistic education, will be the object of exposition and analysis in the next meetings of the Cuban chapter of the AICA.

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