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Cultural Maps, Networks, and Flows: The History and Impact of the Havana Biennale 1984 to the present

Rojas-Sotelo, Miguel L. (2009) Cultural Maps, Networks, and Flows: The History and Impact of the Havana Biennale 1984 to the present. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Since 1984 the Havana Biennale has been known as "the Tri-continental art event," presenting artists from Latin America, Africa, and Asia. It also has intensely debated the nature of recent and contemporary art from a Third World or Global South perspective. The Biennale is a product of Cuba's fruition since the Revolution of 1959. The Wifredo Lam Center, created in 1983, has organized the Biennial since its inception. This dissertation proposes that at the heart of the Biennale has been an alternative cosmopolitan modernism (that we might call "contemporary" or "post-colonial") that was envisaged by a group of local cultural agents, critics, philosophers, art historians, and also supported by a network of peers around the world. It examines the role Armando Hart Dávalos, Minister of Culture of Cuba (1976-1997), who played a key figure in the development of a solid cultural policy, one which produced the Havana Biennale as a cultural project based on an explicit "Third World" consciousness. It explores the role of critics and curators Gerardo Mosquera and Nelson Herrera Ysla, key members of the founding group of the Biennale. Subsequently, it examines how the work of Llilian Llanes, director of the Lam Center and of the Biennale (1983-1999), shaped the event in structural and conceptual terms. Finally, it examines the most recent developments and projections for the future.Using primary material, interviews, and field work research, the study focuses on the conceptual, contextual, and historical structure that supports the Biennale. It presents from several optics the views and world-view of the agents involved from the inside (curators and collaborators), as well as, from an art-world perspective through an account of the nine editions. Using the Havana Biennale as case study this work goes to disentangle and reveal the socio-political and intellectual debates taking place in the conformation of what is call today global art. In addition, recognizes the potentiality of alternative thinking and cultural subjectivity in the Global South.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Rojas-Sotelo, Miguel, rojaszotelo@gmail.comMIR6
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairSmith, Terrytes2@pitt.eduTES2
Committee MemberMcCloskey, Barbarabmmc@pitt.eduBMMC
Committee MemberHerlinghaus, Hermannhxh@pitt.eduHXH
Committee MemberSavage, Kirkksa@pitt.eduKSA
Date: 24 June 2009
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 23 January 2009
Approval Date: 24 June 2009
Submission Date: 22 January 2009
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > History of Art and Architecture
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: ; art; biennial; contemporary art; cuba; cultural criticism; cultural studies; global south; havana; latin america; network; third world; visual studies
Other ID:, etd-01222009-154200
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:31
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:36


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