The Politics of Taste

Beatriz González and Cold War Aesthetics

The Politics of Taste

Art History Publication Initiative

More about this series

Book Pages: 248 Illustrations: Published: November 2019

Subjects
Art and Visual Culture > Art History, Gender and Sexuality > Feminism and Women’s Studies, Latin American Studies

In The Politics of Taste Ana María Reyes examines the works of Colombian artist Beatriz González and the Argentine-born art critic, Marta Traba, who championed her art during Colombia's National Front coalition government (1958–1974). This was a critical period in Latin American art, when artistic practice, art criticism, and institutional objectives came into strenuous yet productive tension. While González’s triumphant debut excited critics who wanted to cast Colombian art as modern, sophisticated, and universal, her turn to urban lowbrow culture proved deeply unsettling. Traba praised González's cursi (tacky) recycling aesthetic as daringly subversive and her strategic localism as resistant to U.S. cultural imperialism. Reyes reads González's and Traba's complex visual and textual production and their intertwined careers against Cold War modernization programs that were deeply embedded in elite fear of the masses and designed to avert Cuban-inspired revolution. In so doing, Reyes provides fresh insights into Colombia's social anxieties and frustrations while highlighting how interrogations of taste became vital expressions of the growing discontent with the Colombian state.

Praise

“Ana María Reyes tackles an important but understudied subject that is absolutely essential to understanding contemporary Colombian politics, culture and society: the relationship between aesthetics and the Cold War in Colombia. Her analysis of Beatriz González's artistic practices, Marta Traba's art criticism, the institutions where they worked and exhibited, and Colombia's cultural politics and Cold War policies during the National Front period is brilliant and compelling.” — Mary Roldán, author of Blood and Fire: La Violencia in Antioquia, Colombia, 1946–1953

“In this exciting and enlightening book, Ana María Reyes provides an entirely new perspective on the art of Beatriz González, on Latin American engagements with Pop, and on Marta Traba's assessment of her work. By offering a clear sense of the cultural dynamics of the Cold War in Colombia and class politics within Bogota during this period, Reyes allows readers to better appreciate González's subject matter, style, color sensibility, and use of appropriation.” — Mary Coffey, author of Orozco’s American Epic: Myth, History, and the Melancholy of Race

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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Ana María Reyes is Assistant Professor of the History of Latin American Art and Architecture at Boston University, coeditor of Simón Bolívar: Travels and Transformations of a Cultural Icon, and founding member of the Symbolic Reparations Research Project.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments
Introduction. Dis-cursis
1. Vermeer in Bucaramanga, Beatriz in Bogotá
2. A Leap from the Domestic Sphere into the Sisga Reservoir
3. "Cut It Out": Impropriety at the MAMBO
4. Notes for an Exclusive History of Colombia
5. Modernist Obstruction at the Second Medellín Biennial
Epilogue. Underdeveloped Art for Underdeveloped People
Notes
Bibliography
Index
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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-0397-7 / Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-0363-2
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