The Politics of Taste – Beatriz Gonzalez and Cold War Aesthetics (Paperback)

In The Politics of Taste Ana Maria Reyes examines the works of the Colombian artist, Beatriz Gonzalez and the Argentine-born art critic, Marta Traba, who championed her art during Colombia’s National Front coalition government (1958-1974). This was a critical period in Latin American art, when artistic practice, art criticism, and institutional objectives came into strenuous yet productive tension. While Gonzalez’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 Gonzalez’s cursi (tacky) recycling aesthetic as daringly subversive and her strategic localism as resistant to U.S. cultural imperialism. Reyes reads Gonzalez’s and Traba’s complex visual and textual production and their intertwined careers against Cold War modernization programs that were deeply embedded in elite 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.

Ana Maria Reyes

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In The Politics of Taste Ana Maria Reyes examines the works of the Colombian artist, Beatriz Gonzalez and the Argentine-born art critic, Marta Traba, who championed her art during Colombia’s National Front coalition government (1958-1974). This was a critical period in Latin American art, when artistic practice, art criticism, and institutional objectives came into strenuous yet productive tension. While Gonzalez’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 Gonzalez’s cursi (tacky) recycling aesthetic as daringly subversive and her strategic localism as resistant to U.S. cultural imperialism. Reyes reads Gonzalez’s and Traba’s complex visual and textual production and their intertwined careers against Cold War modernization programs that were deeply embedded in elite 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.