Modernism in Havana reached its climax during the turbulent years of the 1950s as a generation of artists took up abstraction as a means to advance artistic and political goals in the name of Cuba Libre. During a decade of insurrection and, ultimately, revolution, abstract art signaled the country’s cultural worldliness and its purchase within the international avant-garde. This pioneering book offers the first in-depth examination of Cuban art during that time, following the intersecting trajectories of the artist groups Los Once and Los Diez against a dramatic backdrop of modernization and armed rebellion. Abigail McEwen explores the activities of a constellation of artists and writers invested in the ideological promises of abstraction, and reflects on art’s capacity to effect radical social change. Featuring previously unpublished artworks, new archival research, and extensive primary sources, this remarkable volume excavates a rich cultural history with links to the development of abstraction in Europe and the Americas.
Abigail McEwen is associate professor of Latin American art history at the University of Maryland, College Park.