During the Cold War, the Organization of American States, formerly the Pan American Union, actively promoted artists from Latin America and the Caribbean that demonstrated affiliation with influential modernist styles such as Constructivism, Surrealism, Art Informel, and Abstract Expressionism. Cuban José Gómez-Sicre, the Visual Arts Specialist of the OAS, exhibited artists sympathetic to international trends in contemporary art, with the intention of demonstrating the cosmopolitanism of Latin artists and emphasizing freedom of expression in the American republics. Libertad de Expresión examines how the both the OAS and its cultural institution, the Art Museum of the Americas, advanced Latin American art and democratic values during the Cold War. Ironically, Gómez-Sicre’s support for freedom of expression rarely included artists of a socialist or communist bent, and his support for international modernism also allied him with U.S. cold warriors, who used freedom of expression as a tool in the cultural and intellectual struggle against the Soviets. Freedom of expression was given a Latin cast through Gómez Sicre’s exhibition and collection policies. Published in conjunction with the eponymous exhibition, the publication features the work of more than 60 artists, including Joaquín Torres-García, Roberto Matta, and Jesús Rafael Soto.
Claire F. Fox is a professor in the departments of English, Spanish, and Portuguese and co-director of the Latina/o Studies program at the University of Iowa. She is also author of Making Art Panamerican: Cultural Policy and the Cold War (2013).
$19.95, paper ISBN: 978-0-9851609-6-8
124 pages, 12 x 9
75 color illustrations