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Article

Roberto Pontual

Brazilian city, capital of Pará state. Built c. 130 km from the Atlantic Ocean on the Baia de Marajó, the southern estuary of the Amazon delta, the city (1994 population 1,244,688) is the chief port and commercial centre of northern Brazil and has several fine Neo-classical buildings. Founded by the Portuguese in 1616 as a defensive outpost for the Amazon region, its remote location and difficulty of access left it largely isolated from the rest of Brazil until the end of the 18th century, although it developed a prosperous spice trade with Europe during this period. Early buildings include the Jesuit church of S Francisco Xavier (1719), which replaced two earlier buildings on the site and has an interior with rich gilt wood-carving. Significant urban development took place in Belém in the 1750s and after, when a mission of scientists, architects and draughtsmen arrived in the region to demarcate the Portuguese–Spanish frontier established by the Treaty of Madrid (...

Article

Belize  

Lita Hunter Krohn

[formerly British Honduras]

Central American country. Bordered by Mexico on the north, Guatemala on the west and south and the Caribbean Sea on the east (see fig.), its total land area is c. 23,300 sq. km. Its population of c. 250,000 (1999) contains a vast variety of ethnic groups. There are three types of Maya: the Mopan, Kekchi and Yucatec, each with its own unique language. The largest group are the Mestizos (43.6%), of mixed Spanish and Maya descent. There are also Creoles (29.8%), of mixed European and African ancestry, whose language, derived from English, is widely spoken by all, and Garifuna (6.6%), descended from Amerindian Caribs, Arawaks and Africans. The population also includes Chinese, Lebanese, Europeans, Hindu and Mennonite communities. In 1970 Belmopan became the capital in place of the coastal Belize City, which had been devastated by a hurricane in 1961. The terrain in the north of the country is mostly flat, as is the whole of the coastal area, while the south contains the Maya Mountains. There is thick rainforest in the interior, while the coast has the largest barrier reef in the western hemisphere; the Belize Barrier Reef has been named a World Heritage Site....

Article

Margarita González Arredondo

(b Calgary, Dec 9, 1930; d Mexico City, July 12, 1992).

Canadian painter, draughtsman and sculptor, active in Mexico. After studying in Canada at the Vancouver School of Art (1944–5) and Banff School of Fine Arts (1947–8) he moved to Mexico City, where he continued his training at the Escuela de Pintura y Escultura La Esmeralda (1948–9) and from 1950 worked as one of a team of assistants to David Alfaro Siqueiros. He began soon after to produce murals, such as The People Don’t Want War (acrylic, 2×2.5 m, 1952; Mexico City, Inst. Poli. N.) and Scenes from Don Quixote (acrylic on concrete, 1957; Cuernavaca), following these with many others in Mexico, the USA, Canada, Cuba and Nicaragua. He was also prolific as a draughtsman and easel painter, often working on a large scale, and to a lesser extent as a sculptor. Working in an Expressionist style and concentrating his attention on the human figure—sometimes contorted, flayed or treated in a robot-like manner—he treated biblical themes as well as more contemporary subjects such as the victims of Nazism or of the bombing of Hiroshima. In ...

Article

Louise Noelle

(b Mexico City, March 22, 1923; d Mexico City, April 20, 2002).

Mexican painter, printmaker and illustrator. He studied at the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas and with Carlos Alvarado Lang. Although he painted some murals and a good number of easel pictures, he was active primarily as a printmaker and as an illustrator of books, magazines and journals. He founded the satirical newspapers Ahí va el golpe (1958) and El coyote emplumado (1960) and from its inception in 1962 acted as art director and illustrator for the newspaper El día. From 1945 to 1959 Beltrán was associated with the Taller de Gráfica Popular in Mexico City, acting as its president for several years and sharing its populist, political and nationalist principles. Placing his art at the service of social concerns and using protest as his main weapon, he expressed himself with particular force in his prolific production of drawings and in masterful linocuts such as Exodus (...

Article

Jorge Glusberg

(Fernando )

(b Buenos Aires, July 12, 1937; d Buenos Aires, April 12, 2011).

Argentine sculptor, painter and architect. As an artist he was self-taught. Making reference to biological and chemical experiments to construct metaphors of the relationships between science and art, he began in 1968 to analyse the role of the individual in society through his first Animal Habitat, consisting of glass objects with water and fish, and Microzoos of ants, lizards, fish, tortoises, vegetables and honeycombs. At the Venice Biennale in 1970 he showed The Biotron (see Glusberg, p. 142), a cage for bees containing an artificial meadowland with 24 flowers that supplied a sugary solution; the bees could choose between the artificial device and the gardens that surrounded the Biennale. In later works he designed mazes for rats, ants, cockroaches and fish, as well as contraptions displaying the behaviour of plants (e.g. Fitotron, 1972, see Glusberg, p. 141), not to encourage scientific observation but to suggest to the spectator possible applications of the experiment....

Article

Monica E. Kupfer

(b Panama City, Sept 5, 1927; d Panama City, Nov 6, 1968).

Panamanian painter and draftsman. He studied under Humberto Ivaldi in the 1940s. In 1950 he won a scholarship to the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence, but he returned to Panama after only a year and a half because of health problems. There he painted constantly until his death, but he remained a marginal figure in Panamanian art circles. He specialized in portrait drawings rendered with sparse but expressive ink lines and dramatic semi-abstract landscapes in tempera. In his oil paintings he favored strong contrasts, somber colors, and dynamic brushwork....

Article

Dolores M. Yonker

(b Port-au-Prince, Nov 1, 1911; d Port-au-Prince, Oct 29, 1986).

Haitian painter. A painter of particularly lyrical gifts, he entered the Centre d’Art in Port-au-Prince as the driver of its jeep, having earlier exercised his talents as a musician and painter of china. He was so shy about his first efforts at panel painting that he attributed them to a friend. He admired Hector Hippolyte’s art while he was courting his daughter, whom he later married. His genre pictures, although anecdotal, are tinged with a subtle mystery. From the beginning, his work was meticulously executed. His polished surfaces, often obtained by repeated overpainting, are reminiscent of medieval manuscript illuminations. Details of faces, hands, and feet are delicate but expressive and individualistic. Scenes of everyday events or of Vodoun ceremonies are usually situated in an architectural framework, giving scope to his fascination with perspective. His paintings of Vodoun scenes incorporate the mystical appearances of the spirits in wildly imaginative forms. In ...

Article

Giulio V. Blanc

(b Havana, Sept 3, 1914; d Westchester, Oct 30, 2008).

Cuban painter, ceramicist and printmaker. He studied at the Academia de S Alejandro in Havana (early 1930s) and at the Academia de S Carlos in Mexico City (1938), where he also became familiar with the work of the muralists. He had his first one-man exhibition at the Lyceum in Havana in 1942.

Bermúdez shared with many of his contemporaries an interest in Cuban realities and themes painted in a manner that was in keeping with 20th-century art movements. His work from the 1940s is characterized by popular Cuban scenes and types depicted in an almost caricatural, naive style with loud tropical colours (e.g. The Balcony, 1941; New York, MOMA).

In the 1950s Bermúdez abandoned the folkloric themes and tropical voluptuousness of his earlier paintings, instead depicting elongated, barely human, Byzantine-like figures. The most accessible of these paintings are of acrobats and musicians. In 1967 Bermúdez left Cuba for political reasons and settled in San Juan, Puerto Rico. There he continued to evolve metallic colour harmonies and surrealistic imagery including clocks, ladders and turbaned figures in his paintings. He also produced murals and lithographs, and his best-known print is the silkscreen entitled ...

Article

Katherine Chacon

(b Caracas, Aug 4, 1930).

Venezuelan sculptor and museum founder. Bermúdez studied at the School of Visual and Applied Arts of Caracas between 1944 and 1946. Jesús Soto and Ernest Maragall (1903–1991) were among her professors in that time. In 1947 she moved to Maracaibo where she continued her studies at the Escuela de Artes Plásticas “Julio Árraga” (1948–1950). During the early 1950s she produced stylized figurative paintings derived from Cézanne, but soon she started to paint abstract and flat forms, influenced by Soto, who had been named director of the school in 1947. Her researches in abstraction went together with her inquiries about three-dimensionality and she became a pioneer of abstract sculpture in Venezuela. In 1957 she made her first solo exhibition at the Centro de Bellas Artes de Maracaibo which contained paintings made with lacquer on wood, and some of her first sculptures—open-line hanging structures made of welded iron. In ...

Article

Roberto Pontual

(b Guadalajara, 1852; d Rio de Janeiro, 1931).

Brazilian sculptor. The son of Italian musicians, he spent his childhood in Mexico and Chile before coming to Brazil with his family. In 1870 he was already enrolled in the course on statuary sculpture in the Academia Imperial das Belas Artes in Rio de Janeiro, from where he was awarded a trip to Europe in 1876. He remained abroad until 1885, living briefly in Paris from 1878 to 1879 but staying mainly in Rome, where he finished his studies with Achille Monteverdi. During that time he executed one of his best-known works, the marble Christ and the Adulteress (1884; Rio de Janeiro, Mus. N. B.A.), which bears witness to the persistence in Brazil of a Neo-classically based naturalism throughout the 19th century and beyond. He taught in the Academia Imperial, and when this was renamed the Escola Nacional de Belas Artes with the establishment of the Republic, he became its director from ...

Article

Paulo J. V. Bruna

(Vladimir )

(b Rio de Janeiro, April 9, 1919).

Brazilian architect and industrial designer. He graduated as an architect in 1948 at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, where he subsequently taught architectural composition. He went into private practice in Rio de Janeiro in 1948, and his early residential work was in the elegant, rationalist style of modernism then dominant in Rio. Examples include the M. G. Brandi house (1952), near Petrópolis, where a stone wall resolves the uneven terrain and the angular volume of the main building, and the L. de Macedo Soares house (1953), Rio, where the most frequent elements of his later work first appear: very light structures of bare steel painted black on tubular pillars, reflecting a growing interest in structural and constructional techniques. This treatment was used in a series of non-residential works, such as the administrative headquarters and workshops (1956) of the CCBE Company in São Paulo and several exhibition pavilions, including the prize-winning Brazilian Pavilion at the Exposition Universelle (...

Article

Jorge Luján-Muñoz

In 

Article

Jorge Glusberg

(b Rosario, May 14, 1905; d Buenos Aires, Oct 13, 1981).

Argentine painter, sculptor and printmaker. He trained at the stained-glass window workshop of Buxadera & Compañía, Rosario, province of Santa Fé, and with Eugenio Fornels and Enrique Munné. He held his first exhibition in 1920. At the age of 20 he won a scholarship for study in Europe awarded by the Jockey Club of Rosario, which enabled him to study in Paris under André Lhote and with Othon Friesz at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière. After showing his European works in Buenos Aires in 1927 he obtained another scholarship, this time from the government of the province of Santa Fé, as a result of which he established contact with the Surrealists in 1928; in particular he befriended Louis Aragon and the French philosopher Henri Lefebvre.

Berni returned to Argentina in 1930. In 1933 he established an artistic–literary group, Nuevo Realismo, and began to depict Argentina’s social reality. From the 1960s, through two characters he created (Juanito Laguna and Ramona Montiel) he began to create works from pieces of metal and wood, buttons, burlap, wires and other debris gathered by him in the shantytowns surrounding Buenos Aires. Combining in these works commonplace materials and a brutal realism (e.g. ...

Article

Ticio Escobar

(b Asunción, June 26, 1892; d Asunción, 1965).

Paraguayan painter. He trained in Paris, where he lived from 1924 until 1933, attending studios and private academies. His landscapes from the period are constructed solidly with vigorous modelling, massive forms and clear outlines. The result is an image made up of compressed bodies and dense colours regulated by strict composition, as in the oil painting My Mother’s Patio (1934; Asunción, Paraguay, Mus. N. B. A.). His tendency to emphasize the structure of a work had great importance during the 1930s and 1940s as a forerunner of the revival of Paraguayan art, which until then had been dominated by a 19th-century type of naturalism. The paintings of Bestard and those of Wolf Bandurek prepared the ground for the break with academicism that took place in the 1950s. While Bandurek drew attention to the expressive content of paintings, Bestard’s contribution was to formal values. After 1950 he produced small-format sketches in oil, tempera, pencil, pastel and watercolour, for example ...

Article

Camara Dia Holloway

[Smikle, David Edward]

(b Queens, NY, Nov 25, 1953).

African American photographer. Bey was born and raised in the neighborhood of Jamaica, in Queens, New York City. His interest in photography was cemented by viewing the now infamous exhibition, Harlem on My Mind, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1969. He studied at the School of Visual Arts during 1976–8, later earning his BFA from Empire State College, State University of New York in 1990, followed by his MFA from Yale University School of Art in 1993.

Bey launched his career in 1975 with the Harlem, USA series, following in the footsteps of street photographers who found the predominantly African American community a compelling subject. This series of black-and-white portraits became the subject of Bey’s first solo exhibition at the Studio Museum in Harlem in 1979.

During the 1980s, Bey continued making portraits expanding his terrain beyond Harlem. Sensitive to the politics of representing African Americans, he developed strategies to equalize the photographic encounter. Bey began using a large-format view camera on a tripod that he set up in the street. He established a dialogue with his sitters and gifted them with a print of their portrait. This was facilitated by his discovery of 4×5 Polaroid positive/negative Type 55 film that yielded virtually instant prints....

Article

Ramón Gutiérrez

(b nr Rome, 1677; d Córdoba, Argentina, Dec 25, 1740).

Italian architect, active in Argentina. Having studied architecture in Rome, in 1716 he joined the Jesuit Order. In 1717 he travelled with Giovanni Battista Primoli to Buenos Aires, subsequently settling in Córdoba. He was an able designer with a considerable theoretical knowledge of architecture and often worked in collaboration with Primoli, who completed many of his designs. Bianchi’s purified, classical style contained some Mannerist tendencies, and its implementation helped to increase the level of craftsmanship in architecture in the region. In 1719 he set up the lime kilns at La Calera, near Córdoba, so enabling an improvement in the building techniques of the region. In 1720 he moved to Buenos Aires, where he directed work on the Jesuit Colegio and later completed the construction of their church. Other important projects in Buenos Aires were his designs for the churches of Nuestra Señora del Pilar (Recoletos), Belén, S Catalina, La Merced, and S Francisco as well as the façade of the cathedral (all ...

Article

John-Paul Stonard

(b Barbados, May 26, 1959).

American sculptor and painter. He studied at the California Institute of the Arts (1982) and the Whitney Independent Studies Program, New York (1985). He had his first solo exhibition at Artists Space, New York (1984), and subsequently showed regularly in America and Europe. Bickerton emerged in New York in the early 1980s as part of the group of artists termed ‘Neo-Geo’, along with Jeff Koons, Peter Halley and Meyer Vaisman. Their work was characterized by a rejection of the neo-expressionist trends in painting and, in Bickerton’s case, by the appropriation of images and labels from consumer culture. His use of popular imagery, though most obviously indebted to Pop art, was influenced also by conceptual and Minimal art; because of its critique of consumer society, it has also been termed ‘commodity art’. In the early 1980s Bickerton made paintings on masonite boards that contained single words, such as ‘Susie’ and ‘God’, in extravagantly ornate lettering as ironic reflections that foreshadowed his later criticisms of American society. These developed into the works for which he became known: wall-mounted black containers, riveted together and covered with corporate logos. Labelled either ...

Article

Dolores M. Yonker

(b Port-au-Prince, Jan 29, 1931).

Haitian painter and draughtsman. He was introduced to the Centre d’Art in Port-au-Prince by Hector Hippolyte, his neighbour at the time, when he was only 15; his seriousness and tenacity were already apparent. From the first his drawings were densely detailed. Working towards a mastery of colour as well as an illusion of volume modelled in light and dark, Bigaud demonstrated a mature command of his art in the great Terrestrial Paradise (1952; Port-au-Prince, Mus. A. Haït.), painted when he was just 21. He has been called a popular realist, as he delighted in the festivals of carnival and Rara, representing them in full action and colourful detail. His Self-portrait in the Carnival Costume of the Fancy Indian (WI, Flagg priv. col.) demonstrates his love for lush detail and the golden colours that suffuse many of his paintings. His genre scenes are material rather than dreamlike, solid and respectful of the limitations of naturalism. The ritual and mystery of Vodoun are presented as he observed them in reality. His masterpiece in Ste Trinité Episcopal Cathedral in Port-au-Prince, the ...

Article

Biombo  

Sofía Sanabrais

Name used in Mexico and throughout Latin America for a folding screen. The word biombo is a transliteration of the Japanese word for folding screen—byōbu—an acknowledgement of its place of origin. The Japanese byōbu has long been a quintessential example of Japanese art and was a common diplomatic gift to foreign courts in the early modern period (see Screen, §1). Referred to as the ‘face of Japanese diplomacy’, byōbu were presented as ambassadors of Japanese culture to places as far off as London and Mexico City. Byōbu also found their way to New Spain as exports in the Manila Galleon trade. In 17th-century Mexico the Japanese screen was admired by artists and patrons, and was adapted and reinterpreted on a grand scale. The unique format of the biombo provided new ways for artists to depict subject-matter, and locally made biombos began appearing in the archival record in the first years of the 17th century. ...

Article

Erika Billeter

(b Surrey, Feb 16, 1931).

Brazilian photographer and film maker of English birth. Having moved to Brazil, she studied painting with André Lhote in Paris (1953–4) and with the American painter Morris Kantor (b 1896) at the Art Students’ League in New York (1954–6), before deciding to become a photographer; after 1962 she worked as a freelance photojournalist and film maker. In 1970 a Guggenheim Fellowship enabled her to go to Brazil, where she settled. She began to take an interest in the Indian inhabitants, and as a result spent years working with the Xingu in the Amazon region, creating an important visual record of the Amazon Indians at a time when their culture was increasingly threatened. In 1975 this work brought her the Critics’ Prize at the São Paulo Biennale. In 1979 her illustrated book Xingu Tribal Territory appeared. Among her films were A João Guimarães Rosa (...