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Havana Spaces for Cuban Art Critic: the 1950s, by Luz Merino Acosta

/ 1 March, 2016

The book approaches a very complex and interesting cultural horizon, revisited by diverse specialists from multiple looks, who have suggested new contributions to the knowledge of the period in question. Luz Merino has anchored her study in art criticism, a topic she has worked in her teaching and essays, now centered on the inquiry in the spaces in Havana for art critic in the fifties.

In the prologue we observe how Luz specifies the methodological and theoretical aspects used in her work and, from this reading, not only the knowledge and the organic appropriation of the existing theories considered by important European, North American and Latin American specialists emerge, but also the intelligent adaptation of diverse hypotheses when reflecting on the treated topic. The author specifies the defining traits of the fifties scene and applies what is enunciated with the heading of slow modern, whose signs define other social temporariness, where the culture of spare time and entertainment marks fringes which developed a new sensitivity in Havana society, generated by the technological advances that increased with the arrival of television, whose small screen became an important part in the daily life of the Cuban family since it engendered information and free time day by day. In that plot, show business, nightlife, cinema, sports and television, among others, also involve artistic creation with its own nuances and, together with it, the agents invigorating an entire process of national culture in which they move: market, consume, mass culture and cultural industry.

The text places in certain levels essential aspects of critique and art production, beyond the traditional view, that is, the producer/evaluative comment binomial, since the author positions critique as a subject, in spite of favoring the perspective of who exercises and offers, besides the reader, a bibliography she may expand to enrich the study of the republican process, as well as other researches on the fifties. This inquiry does not promote a triumphalist appropriation of the period, but rather tries to clarify, specify and inform on zones immerse in the shadows, unknown or lost in the memory, but fundamental in these years, as precedent and foundation of the future which approaches at the end of the explored decade and enunciator of deep transformations in Cuban history…

Havana, November 2015

Pilar Fernández Prieto

Graduate in Art History. Professor at the Faculty of Arts and Letters in Havana University and the Higher Institute of Arts. Between 1995 and 1998 she was the director of the National Museum of Fine Arts. She has published several texts on Cuban architecture, particularly on Art Deco.

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