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Thirteen Ways of Looking at Latino Art by…

Thirteen Ways of Looking at Latino Art

by Ilan Stavans

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Thirteen Ways of Looking at Latino Art by Ilan Stavans and Jorge J.E. Gracia (Duke University Press, $22.95).

Ilan Stavans, a professor of Latino studies at Amerherst College, and Jorge J.E. Garcia, a professor of philosophy and comparative literature at SUNY-Buffalo, brought the tools of their distinct disciplines—as well as their personal histories and aesthetics—to bear on thirteen contemporary works of art by Latinos.

These works are as varied as the famous “La Reconquista” triptych by Einar and Jamex de la Torre; the Latino graffiti of Bear TCK (“Chicano Grafitti”); the Latino-Afro-Caribbean intersection of Jean-Michel Basquiat (“Untitled (Skull)”); a photograph by Mariana Yampolsky (“Elva”); and Andres Serrano’s well-known “Piss Christ.”

Conducted as wide-ranging conversations about the way that Latino experience is expressed in contemporary artworks, the book as a whole is casual but intellectually solid, accessible by non-specialists, but not dumbed-down. It is refreshing and eye-opening, though it would benefit if more of the thirteen artists represented were women. ( )
  KelMunger | May 8, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0822356341, Paperback)

The essayist and cultural commentator Ilan Stavans and the analytic philosopher Jorge J. E. Gracia share long-standing interests in the intersection of art and ideas. Here they take thirteen pieces of Latino art, each reproduced in color, as occasions for thematic discussions. Whether the work at the center of a particular conversation is a triptych created by the brothers Einar and Jamex de la Torre, Andrés Serrano's controversial Piss Christ, a mural by the graffiti artist BEAR TCK, or Above All Things, a photograph by María Magdalena Campos-Pons, Stavans and Gracia's exchanges inevitably open out to literature, history, ethics, politics, religion, and visual culture more broadly. Autobiographical details pepper Stavans and Gracia's conversations, as one or the other tells what he finds meaningful in a given work. Sparkling with insight, their exchanges allow the reader to eavesdrop on two celebrated intellectuals—worldly, erudite, and unafraid to disagree—as they reflect on the pleasures of seeing.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:34 -0400)

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