Sofía Vindas Solano – Cosmopolitan outsiders: Artistic practices and cultural activity of Central American artists at the international circuits of modern art, 1950s-1970s

This project analyzes how between the 1950s and 1970s, certain Central American artists engaged in a large network of local and international cultural spaces (public and private) that were devoted to the promotion of Latin American modern art. These artists were engaged in a complex circuit of art exhibits, art competitions such as biennales and lectures amongst others to occupy space in the larger debate of what Latin American Art was supposed to be. Through their work, they also envisioned alternative modes of organizing and promoting their artistic practices in an increasingly polarized world between the 1950s and 1970s.

After the 1950s, agents such as the Organization of American States in the US, were part of a large network of local and international entities that engaged in the promotion of certain Central American modern artists, through the transnational cultural activity sponsored by this institution and others. In this context, cities such as New York, Washington, Caracas, and Paris became hubs of activity for these artists. In these cities, Central Americans were able to create networks, present shows, sell artwork, etc. due to the complex and large network of galleries, institutes, museums, and other key players that stimulated Central American Modern art. These artists managed to exist at the fringes of not just the art circuits, but also on the borders of diplomacy and geopolitics.

This research highlights how Central American artists constructed and deconstructed their identities through their art. There, the international spaces where they circulated, demanded their artistic practices to be both cosmopolitan and deeply embedded in local artisanal and cliched notions of what Latin American art was thought of. In being “Cosmopolitan Outsiders”, these artists operated from the borders of not just politics but culture.

Sofía Vindas Solano

Sofía Vindas Solano, Ph.D (1986), has a master’s degree in Political Science, and a bachelor’s degree in History as well as in Art History from the University of Costa Rica. She is currently a Researcher at IIARTE, where she is the coordinator of the Central American Cultural Heritage Repository. She also teaches at the School of History of the University of Costa Rica. Vindas has worked together with the institutions such as the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design and the Central Bank Museum in production, research and curatorship since 2010. Some of her published works include: “Pigs that feed on gold: Imperialism Yankee in the Costa Rican cartoons 1900-1930” (Istmica Magazine), “The First Central American Biennial of Painting and the Presence of Marta Traba in the Costa Rican and Guatemalan Press, 1970-1979” (Annals of the Institute of Aesthetic Research, Mex), amongst others.


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