Frank Martinez, Blanco y Negro, 2008, mixed media
This exhibition reflected more than twenty-five Cuban artists’ ruminations on the quotidian, social, and political realities of the island and the contemporary world. The island geography and political intensity of Cuba inform the work in a way that is immediately identifiable, often concealing coded, even subversive, ideas while simultaneously celebrating the richness of Cuba’s cultural identity. Peeling away the layers of Cuban art often reveals a story of struggle caused by the US embargo and its economic and political consequences, the social upheaval that a true revolution produces.
Spanning several generations, these contemporary Cuban artists come from an unusual place: a country embargoed by our own because of its socialist revolution. All of the artists in this collection grew up in socialist Cuba, and many graduated from the prestigious Instituto Superior de Arte, built at the beginning of the revolution, Havana’s equally excellent San Alejandro Art Academy or the Escuela Nacional de Arte. Others graduated from local art schools. Despite their disparate backgrounds, aesthetic sensibilities, subject matter, materials, and styles, there is something uniquely Cuban about the art in this collection.
Mid-America Arts Alliance co-organized Arte Cubano with the Center for Cuban Studies (NYC) to synthesize two extraordinary private collections held by Kathy and Marc LeBaron and Karen and Robert Duncan. This exhibition could not have been made possible without their collecting vision and loan generosity. The Center for Cuban Studies opened in 1972 and was organized by a group of scholars, writers, artists, and other professionals, in response to the effects of US policy toward Cuba.
A Program of ExhibitsUSA, a national division of Mid-America Arts Alliance and The National Endowment for the Arts.