Relational Undercurrents

Contemporary Art of the Caribbean Archipelago

Relational Undercurrents

Book Pages: 352 Illustrations: 200 color plates Published: September 2017

Art and Visual Culture > Art Criticism and Theory, Caribbean Studies

Relational Undercurrents accompanies an exhibition curated by Tatiana Flores for the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach, California, which forms part of the Getty Foundation's Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA. This initiative examines the artistic legacy of Latin America and U.S. Latinos through a series of exhibitions and related programs. This exhibition catalog and volume edited by Flores and Michelle Ann Stephens calls attention to the artistic production of the Caribbean islands and their diasporas, challenging the conventional geographic and conceptual boundaries of Latin America. The editors offer an "archipelagic model," which proposes a mapping of the Caribbean from the perspective of its islands as distinct from its continental coasts. The exhibition, organized around the four themes of Conceptual Mappings, Perpetual Horizons, Landscape Ecologies, and Representational Acts, highlights thematic continuities in the art of the insular Caribbean, placing Hispanophone artists in visual conversation with those from Anglophone, Francophone, Dutch, and Danish backgrounds. It includes over eighty artists, among them Tania Bruguera, Allora & Calzadilla, Christopher Cozier, Jorge Pineda, Edouard Duval-Carrié, and Ebony G. Patterson. In accompanying essays, curators, critics, and scholars discuss particular artistic traditions in Cuban, Puerto Rican, Dominican, and Haitian art and theorize the broader decolonial and archipelagic conceptual frameworks within which such works are produced. Relational Undercurrents will be on display that the Museum of Latin American Art from September 2017 through January 2018.

Publication by the Museum of Latin American Art in collaboration with Fresco Books / SF Design, LLC. Distributed by Duke University Press.


"The project as a whole helps to unpack connections between regional and international divides,and moreover between diaspora and island, land and sea, art and theory, histories and ground. It is an effort that will surely ripple, and that carries with it the potential to rupture and reconfigure modes of thinking of and through the insular Caribbean, its art,and its histories— told and untold." — Adrienne Rooney, CAA Reviews

"In its compendious and imaginative reach, Relational Undercurrents augurs brightly for a new generation of scholarship on Caribbean art. . . . Beautiful color illustrations grace the volume throughout, showing details and installation views that document the work, much of it little known or exhibited. A fitting, interdisciplinary counterpart to Flores’s exhibition, Relational Undercurrents posits the power and plausible archipelagicity of contemporary Caribbean art, daring to chart new conceptual and topographical terrain." — Abigail McEwen, Latin American and Latinx Visual Culture


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Tatiana Flores is Associate Professor of Art History and Latino and Caribbean Studies at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, and the author of Mexico's Revolutionary Avant-Gardes: From Estridentismo to ¡30-30!.

Michelle Ann Stephens is Professor of English and Latino and Caribbean Studies at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, and coeditor of Archipelagic American Studies, also published by Duke University Press.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Foreword / Lourdes I. Ramos-Rivas, PhD  11
Part I. Relational Undercurrents: Contemporary Art of the Caribbean Archipelago
1. Relational Undercurrents: Towards an Archipelagic Model of Insular Caribbean Art / Tatiana Flores and Michelle A. Stephens  14
2. Inscribing into Consciousness: The Work of Caribbean Art / Tatiana Flores  29
Catalogue Images  91
Part II. The Caribbean Islands and Their Diasporas
3. Actes de Transformation: Mixing and Mapping Haitian Aesthetics / Jerry Philogene  191
4. Among the Islands: Dominican Art at Home and Abroad / Rocío Aranda-Alvarado  205
5. A Local History in the Global Narrative: Notes on Cuban Art between Two Centuries / Antonio Eligio (Tonel)  219
6. Aglutinación: The Collective Spirit of Puerto Rican Art / Laura Roulet  231
Part III. The Archipelagic Caribbean
7. On Metaphysical Catastrophe, Post-Continental Thought, and the Decolonial Turn / Nelson Maldonado-Torres  247
8. There are no islands without the sea: Being a compendium of facts, fictions, names, etymologies, lyrics, and questions, in the form of a broken-up archipelago / Nicholas Laughlin  261
9. Arc'd Relations: Archive and Archipelago in the Greater Caribbean / Michelle A. Stephens  278
Exhibition Checklist  294
Artist Biographies / Kaitlyn Argila, Diego Atehortúa, and Kaitlin Booher  300
Contributor Biographies  307
Index  308
Acknowledgments  317
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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-1-934491-58-4 / Cloth ISBN: 978-1-934491-57-7