The Politics of Taste: Beatriz González and Cold War Aesthetics (Art History Publication Initiative) (Paperback)
In The Politics of Taste Ana Mar a Reyes examines the works of Colombian artist Beatriz Gonz lez and Argentine-born art critic, Marta Traba, who championed Gonz lez's art during Colombia's National Front coalition government (1958-74). During this critical period in Latin American art, artistic practice, art criticism, and institutional objectives came into strenuous yet productive tension. While Gonz lez's triumphant debut excited critics who wanted to cast Colombian art as modern, sophisticated, and universal, her turn to urban lowbrow culture proved deeply unsettling. Traba praised Gonz lez's cursi (tacky) recycling aesthetic as daringly subversive and her strategic localism as resistant to U.S. cultural imperialism. Reyes reads Gonz lez's and Traba's complex visual and textual production and their intertwined careers against Cold War modernization programs that were deeply embedded in the elite's fear of the masses and designed to avert Cuban-inspired revolution. In so doing, Reyes provides fresh insights into Colombia's social anxieties and frustrations while highlighting how interrogations of taste became vital expressions of the growing discontent with the Colombian state.