Diffusion: magazines, institutions, critics

The preponderance of magazines from European and North American centers, such as Art in America and Flash Art, dominated the publishing field until the XNUMXs, when local and regional publications appeared. 


The Dominican magazine Cariforum, published in three languages, under the direction of Marianne de Tolentino, has made known the activities of the Cariforo Cultural Center and has disseminated the information related to the biennials: It consecrated its number of February 7, 2002 to the IV Caribbean Biennial, dedicating a page to each country. Similarly, its issue of January 12, 2004 dealt with Carifesta VIII and artists from Suriname and Guadeloupe.

Arts in Santo Domingo, "The magazine specialized in Caribbean art", gathers the information of its different correspondents and dedicated a number to "Art in Puerto
Rico ", in October-December of 2005; as well as "The contemporary graphic", in the corresponding to July-September of 2006.

The Artep magazine, of art and architecture, "disseminates information on the Dominican artistic avant-garde", that is, artists, events, exhibitions: for example, the IV
Biennial of the Caribbean.

The Magazine of the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture consecrated 4 number of the first semester of 2003 to the Dominican Republic. The critic and curator Abil Peralta made reference in this to "A panoramic vision: Dominican art, history and modernity from the colonial period to the eighties", while a work by Belkis Ramírez occupies a page next to the poem by Julia de Burgos about the new American woman, as well as the cover.

The Cariforo Cultural Center has organized numerous exhibitions, including Urban life in the Caribbean region; first inter-Caribbean itinerant exhibition, which marked the participants. The Museum of Modern Art serves as the headquarters for the biennials of the Caribbean for many years and confirms the Dominican talents by dedicating personal exhibitions.

On the other hand, the León Center, in Santiago de los Caballeros, plays a fundamental role in the formation of young people, as well as in the production and dissemination of Dominican arts. Their competitions, which summon recognized international juries, incessantly undergo analysis with the aim of improving more and more and demanding the highest quality from the participants. Several reference works in this chapter have participated in these competitions or have been acquired by the Leon Center, which was directed for a decade by Rafael Emilio Yunén, to whom a fundamental work in that sense is due.

Two critics of Dominican art stand out in particular: Marianne de Tolentino and Sara Hermann. Both have had institutional responsibilities and have acted in favor of the visual arts of their island, without forgetting María Elena Ditrén, Delia Blanco, Danilo De los Santos, Myrna Guerrero and Paula Gómez. Nobody knows creation in the region better than Marianne de Tolentino. She has accumulated experience, documentation, interviews in the course of her travels and encounters with artists from all over the Caribbean, with the exception perhaps of Cuba. Currently director of the National Gallery of Fine Arts in Santo Domingo, she set up the Caribbean Biennial since 1985 and had a decisive role in those from 1992 to 2003. De Tolentino became involved in group exhibitions of artists from the region, as was the one presented at the XXX International Painting Festival of Cagnes Sur Mer, in 1998, which featured artists from each of the twenty Caribbean countries. It was exhibited in Santo Domingo and later traveled through Haiti, San Martín and Antigua between 2000 and 2001. Likewise, De Tolentino was involved in the show Between Lines, which exhibited high quality photos of the Caribbean.

As for Sara Hermann, who directed the Museum of Modern Art of the Dominican capital between 2000 and 2004 and serves as an advisor in visual arts at the León de Santiago de los Caballeros Center, she dominates Dominican production in particular. She has been curator of numerous exhibitions, and we particularly remember Suite Quisqueya, New Dominican Painting (co-curator, Paula Gómez), Fernando Peña Defilló: The eternal return (co-curator, Karenia Guillarón), The visual codes of merengue, Body of crime (with Paula Gómez), Heroic Dimensions: The art of the 60 years in the Dominican Republic (with Paula Gómez). In addition, she expands her centers of interest to Central America and Latin America. He has lectured and published articles about the island's artists, as well as ArtNews, Longwood Arts Journal and El Caribe. His point of view on the relations between the two communities that populate the island seems very revealing. In the catalog of geographies (in) visible, in the Leon Center (2008), he wrote: "In the case of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, it is opportune to present the subject of this territory and its artists as one of the communicating vessels in which there is a situation of dialogue that is sometimes unnoticed (or intentionally unnoticed).

Thus, in the field of visual arts, the cultural relations between the two island neighbors seem exemplary in a society where Haitian immigration breeds rejection reactions. This corroborates the possibility for the art of the two countries to establish themselves as guarantors of the spirit of tolerance.

On the other hand, it is important to emphasize that the crossing of experiences on the occasion of biennials has constituted an opening to other creations and has proven to be enriching, thus compensating for the isolation. The plastic artists became aware of their region, of an art that is built on a common history, if not similar, on the collective memory, on the incessantly enunciated hybridity, on a commitment not in the face of a specific political ideology, but that translates a resistance to everything that can go against the free will and the realization of man. This is expressed linguistically by a series of ruptures and new formal, structural and conceptual propositions.

Taken from the Book Braiding a History in Progress, Contemporary Dominican Art in the Context of the Caribbean

Michele Dalmace, Critic and art researcher.
Professor at the Michel de Montaigne University, Bordeaux

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