Yale to Exhibit Latin American and Latino Artists' Books

Sterling Memorial Library at Yale University will exhibit visually dazzling and intellectually challenging books by 16 contemporary Latin American artists, from September 14 through November 27.

The exhibition, titled “Poetics, Politics, and Song: Contemporary Latin American/Latino(a) Artists’ Books,” will feature about 30 limited-edition works dating from the early 1970s through the 1990s. The artists, some of whom now live in the United States, originate from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Puerto Rico. All items in the display are in the permanent library and museum collections at Yale.

To celebrate the opening of the show, New York-based Argentinian artist Leandro Katz will give a lecture at 4 p.m. on September 14 in the Sterling Memorial Library Lecture Hall. A reception will follow, 5 to 7 p.m. This event is free and open to the public.

Chicano artist Enrique Chagoya will be the guest at a Saybrook College Master’s Tea on October 13, and will speak about his work in the Lecture Hall at Sterling Library. Chagoya is represented in the exhibition by “El Regreso del Canibal Macrobiotico” [The Return of the Macrobiotic Cannibal] (1998) – a pithy and satirical statement on contemporary border patrol politics between the U.S. and Mexico, among other themes. These events are free and open to the public.

The exhibition coincides with Latino Heritage Month and a regional conference sponsored by the Yale Chapter of the Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano(a) de Aztlan (MEChA).

The books in the exhibition reveal a wide range of artistic, political and personal concerns. Artists in Brazil and Chile in the early 1970s, for example, lived under military dictatorship and censorship, which profoundly influenced their work. Cecilia Vicuna’s “Sabor a Mi” (1973) documents the overthrow of the Allende government in Chile in the form of a personal diary with images and poetry. Mexican artist Yani Pecanins explores the relationship between gender and personal power, and the layered transparencies of Brazilian artist Josely Carvalho show the female body as a metaphor for colonialism.

Some books play with the visual aspects of the written word, as in the work of Alonso Barros Pena. Others bring together image, text, music and popular culture. Cuban artist Antonio Eligio Fernandez, for example, sets his lithographs to original boleros (love songs), while saluting Cuban jazz and Havana vernacular.

The Arts of the Book Collection, where the exhibition will take place, is a branch of the Yale University Arts Library housed within Sterling Memorial Library. The collection is devoted to the history of the book and all its attendant arts, including typography, calligraphy, book binding, fine printing, graphic arts and book illustration. Hours for the Arts of the Book Collection are Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1 to 5 p.m.

“Poetics, Politics, and Song: Contemporary Latin American/Latino(a) Artists’ Books” was organized with the support of the Yale University Libraries, the Council on Latin American and Iberian Studies, the Chicano Cultural Center, Saybrook College, the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library and the Yale University Art Gallery.

Sterling Memorial Library is located at 120 High Street in New Haven.

For further information, contact D. Vanessa Kam, curator and Kress Foundation Fellow in Art Librarianship at the Yale University Arts Library, 203-432-7074 or vanessa.kam@yale.edu

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Media Contact

Gila Reinstein: gila.reinstein@yale.edu, 203-432-1325