• Dictator’s Dreamscape: How Architecture and Vision Built Machado's Cuba and Invented Modern Havana
    Joseph R. Hartman
    University of Pittsburgh Press, 2019
    Joseph R. Hartman

Cuba’s Office of Public Works, La Plaza de la “Fraternidad” as seen from El Capitolio, 8 March 1929, Havana, Cuba. Courtesy of the OHC Centro de Documentación de la Empresa de Proyectos de Arquitectura y Urbanismo, RESTAURA.

Dictator’s Dreamscape: How Architecture and Vision Built Machado's Cuba and Invented Modern Havana analyzes the architecture, visual culture, and public works program of Cuban President Gerardo Machado y Morales (in power 1925–33). Political histories condemn Machado as a US-backed dictator, overthrown in a popular revolution. Architectural histories tend to catalogue his regime's public works as derivatives of US and European models. The building campaign of the machadato (Machado's regime) has yet to be viewed within the broader cultural context of Cuba and the wider hemisphere during the twentieth century. Hartman's book addresses that cultural and political landscape by reassessing the regime's public works program as a visual project embedded in centuries-old representations of Cuba alongside wider debates on the nature of art and architecture in general, especially with regards to globalization and US-style consumerism. The public works of the machadato articulated a forceful and highly nuanced politics of space, vision, and cultural experience, affecting both local and foreign audiences.

Joseph R. Hartman is assistant professor of art history and Latinx and Latin American studies at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC). He holds a PhD in art history from Southern Methodist University; a MA in art history from the University of North Texas; and a BA in art and Spanish from Goshen College. Prior to teaching at UMKC, Hartman served as a visiting research fellow at the University of Texas at Dallas' Edith O'Donnell Institute of Art History. Writ large, his scholarship examines the intersections of image-making, architecture, urban environments, ecology, and politics in the cultural context of the Americas during the twentieth century. His writings appear in Cultural Politics, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, The Latin Americanist, Hemisphere: Visual Cultures of the Americas, and Athanor.