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Full Review: http://alannalockward.wordpress.com/2012/11/24/premio/
by Manuel GarcíaArt critic and curator
Just a few years ago, the field of contemporary Latin American art could claim only about half a dozen essayists: Damián Bayón, Luis Cardoza Aragón, Jorge Glusberg, Jorge Romero Brest, Raquel Tibol, Marta Traba, and a few others. In a sense, the Buenos Aires-Mexico City axis had a monopoly on theoretical thought in the Latin American visual arts scene. The dawning of the third millennium, though, ushering in the Latin American Forums of Meiac de Badajoz – directed by Gerardo Mosquera – and the Diálogos Iberoamericanos – co-directed by Fernando Castro and Kevin Power – , has permitted us to familiarize ourselves with the new Latin American essayists in the arts: Gustavo Buntinx, Olivier Debroise, Ticio Escobar, Ivo Mesquita, Cuauhtémoc Medina, Iván de la Nuez, Justo Pastor Mellado, José Roca, Ana Tiscornia, and others, many of whom are included in the anthology Critical Thought in New Latin American Art, edited by Kevin Power (2006).
I think it’s important to situate Alanna Lockward in this context. Author of the book Apremio: Apuntes sobre el pensamiento y la creación contemporánea desde el Caribe (Pressure: Notes on Thought and Contemporary Creation from the Caribbean) (Cendeac, Murcia, 2006). Lockward is a Dominican art critic, cultural journalist, and curator of exhibitions who has been professionally active in Santo Domingo, Port-au-Prince, Miami, New York, and now Berlin.
The book Apremio is an anthology of diverse texts drawn from Dominican (Cariforum, El Listín Diario), American (The Miami Herald), and Spanish (Atlántica) publications throughout the past ten years. It is not a book about art as such; rather, it is an entire repertoire of catalogue texts, newspaper interviews, and profiles of Caribbean writers, filmmakers, dancers, poets, artists, and others.
Given that Caribbean thought – from art critic Guy Pérez Cisneros to essayist Edouard Glissant and including José Lezama Lima’s writings on art – is little known in the European cultural context, Alanna Lockward’s anthology is welcome indeed.
As an essayist, the author is at her most convincing when writing on contemporary Dominican art ("Los Noventa en Santo Domingo. Un Anecdotario” [“The Nineties in Santo Domingo: A Collection of Anecdotes]"), African art ("La era de la Negritud” [“The Era of Négritude"]), and Caribbean art ("Caribe X-céntrico” [“Caribbean X-centric"] and “Monedas al Aire” ["Coins in the Air"]); these essays reveal comprehensive knowledge, commitment, and discernment regarding a topic that she has studied extensively, critiqued, and taken responsibility for as curator of exhibitions (for example, Pares & Nones. Fotografía Contemporánea de Haití y República Dominicana [Evens & Odds: Contemporary Photography from Haiti and the Dominican Republic]). Particularly lucid is her critique of the exhibition Caribbean Visions (1995) at the Center for Fine Arts (now the Miami Art Museum), denouncing reductionist readings of Caribbean art made from a "gringo" point of view: "This ambitious curatorial and museographic effort is, without a doubt, rife with documentary inconsistencies, phantasmagoric apparitions and interpretive errors". One cannot argue with the author once she reveals that the contemporary selection of the exhibit was limited to José Bedia, Luis Cruz Azaceta, Edouard Duval-Carrié, José García Cordero and Arnaldo Roche Rabell, omitting, for example, Jean-Michel Basquiat.
Her position regarding Haitian-Dominican culture enlightens in a recent interview: "It proves quite symptomatic that in the Dominican Republic there has been no critical reflection on the long trajectory of Dominican-Haitian thematics in the works of our artists.”
Una selección personal de pintura contemporánea dominicana
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