WIFREDO AND HELENA: MY LIFE WITH WIFREDO LAM, 1939-1950.
Helena Benitez' memoir of the ten years she spent with the artist is a tale of admiration, adoration and usury. The text, filled with rare photos and illustrations, canvases the couple's first meeting in Barcelona, their bonding in and escape from Nazi-occupied France and their eventual marriage and breakup in Lam's homeland of Cuba. In the process, Benitez dates and sites the inspirational sources for important works created during this very prolific period in Lam's career (although, more often than not, the author credits herself with being his inspiration).
In Benitez's writing one can not help but notice her need for nonstop name-dropping. She repeatedly mentions famous artists such as Picasso and Breton. Although Lam was associated with these artists while in Paris, the book's tone implies that it is primarily because of these associations that Lam is as well collected and respected as he has been. In essence, Benitez illustrates the circumference of whiteness that surrounded Lam during the ascension of his career. She rehashes the notion put forth by critics of Lam, an Afro-Chinese Cuban artist, as "other" or "exotic" leaving readers and fans alike with a bad taste which lingers no matter the important information she provides, filling gaps in the artist's process.
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|Publication:||Black Issues Book Review|
|Article Type:||Book Review|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2001|
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