Books/Articles

“Seeing in the Dark”:
The Aesthetics of Disappearance and Remembrance
in the Work of Alberto Rey
Stephanie Lewthwaite,
Journal of American Studies,
Cambridge University Press,
Cambridge, United Kingdom
2016
https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-american-studies/article/seeing-in-the-dark-the-aesthetics-of-disappearance-and-remembrance-in-the-work-of-alberto-rey/FB579EEFAEE7CE54C74005AE38D60AF3
This article examines how contemporary Cuban American artists have experimented with visual languages of trauma to construct an intergenerational memory about the losses of exile and migration. It considers the work of artist Alberto Rey, and his layering of individual loss onto other, traumatic episodes in the history of the Cuban diaspora. In the series Las Balsas (The Rafts, 1995–99), Rey explores the impact of the balsero (rafter) crisis of 1994 by transforming objects left behind by Cuban rafters on their sometimes ill-fated journeys to the United States into commemorative relics. By playing on a memory of absence and the misplacement of objects found along the migration route of the Florida Straits, Rey’s visual language transmits the memory of grief across time, space and generational divides. Rey’s visual strategies are part of an “extended memory” tied to the aesthetics of disappearance and remembrance in contemporary Cuban American art. His use of objects as powerful memory texts that serve to bring fragmented autobiographical, family and intergenerational testimonies of loss together suggests how visual artists can provide us with more collective, participatory and redemptive models of memory work.

 

Life Streams:
Alberto Rey’s Cuban and American Art
Lynette Bosch and Mark Denaci,
State University of New York Press,
Albany, New York
2014
http://www.sunypress.edu/p-5906-life-streams.aspx
This book is an incisive exploration of the work of Cuban-American artist Alberto Rey. Life Streams explores the paintings, videos, sculptures, and installations of Alberto Rey, an artist whose work addresses issues of identity, cultural diversity, environmental studies, and global sustainability.

 

Alberto Rey’s Balsa Series in the Cuban American Imagination
Isabel Alvarez-Borland,
CrossWorks,
College of the Holy Cross,
Worcester, Massachusetts
2014
http://crossworks.holycross.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1014&context=span_fac_scholarship

 

International Contemporary Artists
Volume IX
Eve Lemonidou, Olga Antoniadou, Alan Rothwell, Alice Chapman and Rebecca Smith,
ICA Publishing
New York, NY
2014
This is a book surveying international contemporary artists as selected by five curators.

 

“Painting Borges: Philosophy Interpreting Art Interpreting Literature”
Jorge J. E. Gracia,
State University of New York Press,
Albany, New York
2012
In this groundbreaking book, Jorge J. E. Gracia explores the artistic interpretation of fiction from a philosophical perspective. Focusing on the work of Jorge Luis Borges, one of the most celebrated literary figures of Latin America, Gracia offers original interpretations of twelve of Borges’s most famous stories about identity and memory, freedom and destiny, and faith and divinity. He also examines twenty-four artistic interpretations of these stories by contemporary Argentinean and Cuban artists. This philosophical exploration of how artists have interpreted literature contributes to both aesthetics and hermeneutics, makes new inroads into the understanding of Borges’s work, and introduces readers to two of the most vibrant artistic currents today. Color images of the artworks discussed are included.

 

Cuban-American Literature and Art: Negotiating Identities
Isabel Borland and Lynette Bosch,
State University of New York Press,
Albany, New York
2009
This groundbreaking collection offers an understanding of why Cuban-American literature and visual art have emerged in the United States and how they are so essentially linked to both Cuban and American cultures. The contributors explore crucial issues pertinent not only to Cuban-American cultural production but also to other immigrant groups—hybrid identities, biculturation, bilingualism, immigration, adaptation, and exile. The complex ways in which Cuban Americans have been able to keep a living memory of Cuba while developing and thriving in America are both intriguing and instructive. These essays, written from a variety of perspectives, range from useful overviews of fictional and visual works of art to close readings of individual texts.

 

The Memories of Others: Ana Menéndez and Alberto Rey
Isabel Alvarez Borland,
Review 78: Literature and Arts of the Americas, 1743-0666, Volume 42, Issue 1, Pages 11 – 20,
Routledge Publishing,
Oxford, UK
2009
This issue of Review focuses on U.S. Latino culture. Review 78 is the second part of a two-issue project that has explored immigration and culture in the Americas. It focuses on first, second, and subsequent generations of immigrant writers whose development has largely taken place within the United States.

“Identity, Memory, and Diaspora: Voices of Cuban-American Artists, Writers, and Philosophers”
Jorge J. E. Gracia, Lynette Bosch, and Isabel Alvarez Borland, ed. State University of New York Press, Albany, New York 2008.
This fascinating volume contains interviews with nineteen prominent Cuban-American artists, writers, and philosophers who tell their stories and share what they consider important for understanding their work. Struggling with issues of Cuban-American identity in particular and social identity in general, they explore such questions as how they see themselves, how they have dealt with the diaspora and their memories, what they have done to find a proper place in their adopted country, and how their work has been influenced by the experience. Their answers reveal different perspectives on art, literature, and philosophy, and the different challenges encountered personally and professionally. The interviews are gathered into three groups: nine artists, six writers, and four philosophers. An introductory essay for each group is included, and the interviews are accompanied by brief biographical notes, along with samples of the work of those interviewed.

 

Complicit! Contemporary American Art & Mass Culture
Art Museum University of Virginia Charlottesville, Virginia
September 1- October 29, 2006
Exhibition website
Right-click to download audio of interview

 

Cuban-American Art in Miami:Exile, Identity and the Neo-Baroque
Lynette M.F. Bosch
Ashgate Publishing- Lund Humphries
London, England
2004
Cuban-American Art in Miami analyses the impact of Cuban exiles on Miami’s cultural explosion, from 1959 to the present day. It is the first book to create an historical record of the circumstances, artists, venues and people who made Miami the important artistic centre that it is today, and a key place for artistic exchange between the US, Latin America, the Caribbean and Western Europe.
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ReMembering Cuba: Legacy of a Diaspora
Andrea O’Reilly Herrera
University of Texas Press
Austin, Texas
2005
The testimonies gathered in this book offer over one hundred perspectives on the Cuban diaspora and on what it means to be Cuban in exile. Through narratives, interviews, creative writings, letters, journal entries, recipes, photographs, and paintings, Cubans from various waves of the migration and their descendants piece together a complex mosaic of the exile experience and diasporic identity.
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“New American Painting”
Elisabeth Sussman, Head Curator of the Whitney Museum, NY
Open Studios Press,
Needham, MA
1994
This a book that surveys contemporary American painting as curated by Elisabeth Sussman.