by Alejandro Anreus. (A ver: revisioning art history). UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center Press, dist. by University of Minnesota Press, September 2014. 156 p. ill. ISBN 9780895511522 (pbk.), $29.95; ISBN 9780895511539 (cl.), $60.00.
Reviewed May 2015
Clayton C. Kirking, Chief, Art Information Resources, New York Public Library, firstname.lastname@example.org
This very welcome tenth volume in the A Ver series, written by Alejandro Anreus, who also advises the series, makes a significant contribution to the literature treating Latino/Hispanic artists who emerged with force in the 1980s. Additionally, the text should be greeted with appreciation by anyone interested in the arts of the Cuban diaspora and the rapidly growing study of the art and artists of the Caribbean basin. The series' editor, Chon Noriega, a primary force with which to be reckoned in this field, has a keen eye for subjects that are ripe for further examination, as well as topics that just have not gotten enough "ink." In general, the audience for this book, and for the series, is broad, but with a solid academic foundation—one that encourages a deep and evolving study of each artist.
The production of the book follows the pragmatic and accessible style of the series. Luis Cruz Azaceta is well-illustrated, with reproductions spanning 1975 through 2010. These are books (A Ver) that are made to read and are easy to handle—compact enough to read in bed. Anreus writes in a clear voice and, as he traces Azaceta's career, he is able to effectively decode individual works of art while, at the same time, placing them in both historical and social contexts. This is critical in the examination of Latino artists who were coming into focus in the late 1970s and 1980s, the same period of time when the field of Latin American art was rising to the surface in museums and academic programs nationwide.
The illustrations in this volume are, in the style of the series, high-quality, well placed in the text, and numerous; there more than eighty here in 146 pages. This is beneficial as much of Azaceta's career, not surprisingly, is documented in exhibition catalogs; the longer, retrospective, and heavily illustrated text allows for a more profound consideration of his production and placement within the firmament of late twentieth and early twenty-first century art history.
When all of the above elements are coupled with the extensive end notes, an exhibition history, a thorough bibliography, and a proper index, any librarian looking for a reason not to purchase this volume—or the series—would come up wanting.
This, and the other volumes in the series, is paper bound. In an academic, or public library, setting it would be well served by re-binding, with the original paper covers retained, as the set will be used well into this century.