In City/Art, anthropologists, literary and cultural critics, a philosopher, and an architect explore how creative practices continually reconstruct the urban scene in Latin America. The contributors, all Latin Americanists, describe how creativity—broadly conceived to encompass urban design, museums, graffiti, film, music, literature, architecture, performance art, and more—combines with nationalist rhetoric and historical discourse to define Latin American cities. Taken together, the essays model different ways of approaching Latin America’s urban centers not only as places that inspire and house creative practices but also as ongoing collective creative endeavors themselves. The essays range from an examination of how differences of scale and point of view affect people’s experience of everyday life in Mexico City to a reflection on the transformation of a prison into a shopping mall in Uruguay, and from an analysis of Buenos Aires’s preoccupation with its own status and cultural identity to a consideration of what Miami means to Cubans in the United States.
Contributors delve into the aspirations embodied in the modernist urbanism of Brasília and the work of Lotty Rosenfeld, a Santiago performance artist who addresses the intersections of art, urban landscapes, and daily life. One author assesses the political possibilities of public art through an analysis of subway-station mosaics and Julio Cortázar’s short story “Graffiti,” while others look at the representation of Buenos Aires as a “Jewish elsewhere” in twentieth-century fiction and at two different responses to urban crisis in Rio de Janeiro. The collection closes with an essay by a member of the São Paulo urban intervention group Arte/Cidade, which invades office buildings, de-industrialized sites, and other vacant areas to install collectively produced works of art. Like that group, City/Art provides original, alternative perspectives on specific urban sites so that they can be seen anew.
Contributors. Hugo Achugar, Rebecca E. Biron, Nelson Brissac Peixoto, Néstor García Canclini, Adrián Gorelik, James Holston, Amy Kaminsky, Samuel Neal Lockhart, José Quiroga, Nelly Richard, Marcy Schwartz, George Yúdice