Title Atlántica: revista de arte y pensamiento
Location Las Palmas de Gran Canarias
Publisher Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno
Periodicity Quarterly, Irregular
ISSN 1130-7587
URL Atlántica online
Published Since 1990-
Indexed Holdings 2000-


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Periodical's Overview

"Atlántica. Revista de Arte y Pensamiento es una publicación periódica que se ocupa de las artes visuales, dinamiza el pensamiento crítico, la investigación y la cultura artística en general, con decidido propósito de diálogo intercultural, en un marco geoestratégico singularizado.

Los responsables de la publicación en estos ya 50 números logran insertar y renovar paradigmas esenciales de reflexión, e insertar a su vez al propio centro de arte, CAAM, en la comunidad artística global.

La revista presenta su contenido en edición española e inglesa, y se concitan voces múltiples, diversas e interdisciplinares de destacadas personalidades del discurso y el entorno del arte y la cultura internacional."[1]


"Atlántica. Revista de Arte y Pensamiento is a four-monthly publication, focusing on the latest tendencies in art, especially in Africa, Europe and America, the three continents which conform the idea of tri-continentality, the cultural context of the Canary Islands and the idea that was behind the birth of CAAM.

Atlántica presents in contents in Spanish and English, and brings together the work of writers, critics, artists, gallery directors, magazine editors and other prominent figures of the international art world."[2]

Selected Subject Headings

  • Aggression in art
  • Al-harafish (periodical)
  • Atrocities in art
  • Cities and towns - Spain
  • Counterculture - Brazil
  • Disappeared persons - Argentina - memorials
  • Down syndrome in art
  • Grupo de arte callejero (group)
  • Imaginary books and libraries in art
  • Islands in art
  • Landscape architecture - Brazil
  • Lesbianism - Germany
  • Lovett/Codagnone
  • Nomads in art
  • Refugees - Albania


After 40 years of right wing dictatorship, and a democratic decade of socialist stabilization towards a rapprochement to a historically estranged Europe, the Spanish cultural landscape was ripe for an explosion of modern and contemporary art centers and museums. There was a lot to catch up with, as the Spanish engagement with Modernism had been aborted by Franco’s regressive regime, no matter if individual figures had continued it in exile, internally or in other countries.

The product of a new national administrative structure, la comunidad autónoma, Spain saw during the late 1980s and early 1990s the creation of public museums and centers like the Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno in Valencia, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid, el Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea in Santiago de Compostela, and the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, as well as private institutions like the Fundació Antoni Tàpies, also in Barcelona. In Las Palmas de Gran Canarias, the Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno was founded in 1989.

During those initial years, and before the conservative backlash of the 2000s, a massive cultural infrastructure was created, collections built, and discursive networks established that connected an isolated Spain to the international flows of cultural production. The form it took was a retroactive look to the 20th century and recuperation of “lost” figures of Modernism (IVAM, MNCARS), or an excavation and presentation of divergent contemporary art practices (Centro Galego, Fundació Tàpies, CAAM, MACBA). A focus on the local took place in all the institutions, as after all, regional and local public funding was being used, and a local art scene needed to be nurtured.

It is in this context that Atlántica, “a magazine of art and thought,” published its first issue in 1990. After three tentative issues, the magazine found its voice when Antonio Zaya (1954-2007) assumed its directorship, with his brother Octavio Zaya occupying the role of Associate Editor, a link to New York’s early 1990s shifting cultural scene. The magazine used the term tricontenalidad to define its position, as the archipelago of Gran Canarias occupies a unique geographical position in between Europe, Africa, and Latin America. It is this in-betweeness that fueled the editorial line, as a syncretic dialogue was desired. In Zaya’s own words:

…el diálogo pertienente, un diálogo sincrético y mestizo, verdadero diálogo Norte/Sur, sin hegemonies ni etnocentrismos; diálogos de algunos mundos culturales que están más allá de estas dos orillas, que, cinco siglos después, parecen todavía, enfrentados.[3]

Twenty years after, one cannot but wonder at the daring venture that Atlántica was, and continues to be; it is now difficult to imagine how prescient it was to embrace in Spain discourses about “multiculturalism,” beyond the hegemonic Anglo-Saxon discursive matrix that the rest of institutions embraced, whether some of them did it critically.

It is this embrace of syncretism and métissage that makes Atlántica a very interesting document for a thorough understanding of a culture yet to be exposed to the “global” rhetoric, and especially, for an amnesic Spain that was on the edge to become a country which had to welcome immigrants, rather than to produce them. A perusal of its contents might give the reader an indication of the various decentralized attempts that have taken place during the years in the struggle against a cultural imperialism of sorts, which continues to this date.

Yes, there might be failures on the path to somewhere else, and yes, we might not agree with all the aesthetic or theoretical stances and positions embraced by Atlántica and similar ventures, but to deny that realities exist other than the ones mediated and imposed on us as ‘natural’ by the self-designed Anglo-Saxon discursive centers, cannot but flatten a more complex understanding of what it could mean to exist and perceive beyond their narrowness, flaws.

As Zaya writes, a relevant dialogue that continues, albeit in a changed world.

To peruse the indexed contents of Atlántica, please log into the database.


[1]Atlántica description, Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno website. Spanish.

[2]Atlántica description, Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno website. English.

[3]Antonio Zaya. "Editorial," Atlántica, no. 4 (1992): 3.

English translation: "... a relevant dialogue, a syncretic and mongrel dialogue, a true dialogue between North/South, without hegemonies, ethnocentrism; dialogues from some cultural worlds which are beyond these two shores, which, five centuries after, still appear to be opposed."