The Communist Party in Cuba purveyed images of Fidel Castro that borrowed from Christian iconography in order to “sell” Fidel. Cuban artist José Angel Toirac and Bay Area writer Robert Glück present their recent collaboration, the artist book Parables. Parables gathers photos from magazines and newspapers like Granma, the mouthpiece of the Communist Party. It repurposes the Cuban Revolution as a Gospel, a new religion with a new scripture. Fidel performs the life of Christ, from his childhood in Nazareth to his ascension into Heaven. Toirac and Glück will present the book and speak about their collaboration.
Cuban artist Jose Angel Toirac mines the visual record of Cuban history, particularly from the last half century. Toirac was a member the artist collective ABTV (1988-1992), which brought a self-critical perspective to Cuban art production, interrogating the limitations of art in a Communist society situated in the Third World. His subsequent work reframes images from the Cuban State media, particularly photos of Fidel and Che, in order to turn official narratives inside out, exposing their constructed nature. His works, ranging from paintings to installation to video, have sometimes been mistaken for ‘official art” while at the same time been censured by the State.
Poet, fiction writer, editor, and New Narrative theorist Robert Glück has served as director of San Francisco State University’s Poetry Center, co-director of the Small Press Traffic Literary Center, and associate editor at Lapis Press. He is the author of eleven books, including two novels, Margery Kempe and Jack the Modernist, and, most recently, Communal Nude: Collected Essays. In 2019, Margery Kempe will be republished by New York Review of Books Classics. Glück edited, with Camille Roy, Mary Berger and Gail Scott, the anthology Biting The Error: Writers Explore Narrative.