Crate of Curios part 49

It’s Monday again and in this Crate we take a jump from a happy clearly outlined Mexican Art Deco to moody and dark Cuban expressionism that rather than providing cheery aesthetic pleasure fulfills the viewer with a vague unease and a premonition of dark things that are yet to come. And as another point, I’ll turn the gaze again towards female creators of the area as I have come to a realization that besides the brilliant-yet-ubiquitous Frida Kahlo, I know no other South American woman artists. So… time to open this week’s Crate.

  1. The word ‘Cuba’ usually calls up a range of associations starting with the bearded figures of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, moving on to sun, rum, elegant vintage cars and salsa-dancing women in fruity headgear. The work of Antonia Eiriz‘ is the antithesis of all that – Goya rather than Carmen and ‘The Scream’ rather than sunsets between palm trees. At the age of 2 she caught polio, that left her left leg damaged for the rest of her life. Youngest of six children of poor Spanish immigrants in Cuba, Antonia learned various crafts as a child, but turned towards painting when she applied to San Alejandro National School of Fine Arts at the encouragement of her sister. During her student years, she joined the artist group ‘Grupo de los once’ (The Eleven), who rejected the earlier picturesque style in favour of a more expressive and abstract approach to painting. After an intensely prolific period of creation during the 1960’s, Antonia ceased painting in 1968 when the death of her mother and the announcement by the Cuban government declaring her work counterrevolutionary made her decide to withdraw from artistic circles. She spent the rest of her life teaching crafts and giving private art lessons in the neighbourhood where she had been born and raised and only resumed painting when she moved to Miami with her husband in 1993.

2. And, speaking of crafts, Mariko Kusumoto‘s transparent textile sea life shows just how thin the line between arts and crafts is.

3. Why it’s important to own books that you’ll never read? An antilibrary reminds us of the things we don’t (yet) know.

4. Do you know the three temperature scales? If not, here’s an easy way to remember.

5. How much can we trust our own minds? Not that much as this infographic of 50 cognitive biases shows.

6. And to finish off for this week, here’s the most tranquil little comic Nathan W. Pyle has ever created.

And that’s it for this time. Happy reading and until next week!

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