¡Viva Warhol! Cuba’s Socialist Posters Reflect Pop Artist’s Influence

THE DAILY PIC: Miguel Abreu's exhibition of Cuban posters shows us socialism with a Pop-y face.

THE DAILY PIC (#1734): These and other Cuban posters from the 1970s are now on view at Miguel Abreu Gallery in New York. A couple of thoughts came to mind on seeing them.

First, I was reminded—especially by the image at the very bottom of this column — of how much bold modern design there still was in Cuba in the 1970s, even though that’s not an era when the country’s creators had much room to flourish.

Second, I was surprised—especially in the image above, at left—to see such a strong Warholian influence. After all, by the 1970s Andy Warhol was usually seen as the capitalist artist par excellence, and should have been anathema to socialists. But it could be that the Cubans had absorbed a contrary, earlier, more European reading of Warhol’s Pop work that has always seen it, just as accurately, as a stinging critique of consumerism.

As usual, Warhol’s own pronouncements support both positions. He believed in Barthes’s “Death of the Author” – but with himself as its suicide victim.

(Clockwise from above left: Nuestra Solidaridad Combatiente con Todas las Mujeres del Mundo (1970s), anonymous artist for the Marzo 8 Dia Internacional De La Mujer; Delicia y Manantial de Orgullo Es Una Mujer Valiente y Abnegada (1975), Clara Díaz for the 8 de Marzo: Día Internacional de la Mujer; Del Surco al Central: Con Eficiencia y Calidad (1974), José Papiol Torrent for the Sindicato Nacional Trabajadores Agropecuarios. All courtesy Miguel Abreu Gallery, New York)

For a full survey of past Daily Pics visit blakegopnik.com/archive.

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