Arte Cubano

Frank Martinez, Blanco y Negro, 2008, mixed media

Building on recent events, this timely exhibition reflects 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 Allliance 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.

Exhibition Sponsor:

PREVIEW PARTY
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 30
6-8 PM
Join us in celebrating the opening of this new exhibition. Music, small bites and a cash bar will supplement the wonderful art on view to make this a truly unique and enjoyable evening.

COFFEE WITH THE CURATOR
MONDAY, DECEMBER 3
9 AM
Join KAC Deputy Director & Curator, Tami Miller, for an informative tour in the galleries. Learn about the selected artworks, the artists who made them, and how their work informs our understandings of Cuba today.

Personal to Political: Celebrating the African American Artists of Paulson Fontaine Press

David Huffman, Hoop Dreams, 2007, color softground and spitbite aquatint etching; image courtesy of Paulson Fontaine Press, Berkeley, CA

There is no singular way to address the conversation of race and representation in contemporary art. Personal to Political: Celebrating the African American Artists of Paulson Fontaine Press presents fourteen artists who capture the personal narratives and political discourses of African Americans across the country, reflecting a collective experience expressed in uniquely individual ways. This powerful exhibition of figurative and abstract artworks channels the poetics of human experience from past and present, and boldly presents ideas about history, identity, personal story, and spiritual inspiration.

~ Carrie Lederer, Curator ‘s Statement (excerpt)

Personal to Political: Celebrating the African American Artists  of Paulson Fontaine Press was organized by Carrie Lederer, Curator of Exhibitions, Bedford Gallery, Lesher Center for the Arts, Walnut Creek, CA.

PARTICIPATING ARTISTS

Edgar Arceneaux
Radcliffe Bailey
Louisiana Bendolph (Gee’s Bend Quilter)
Mary Lee Bendolph  (Gee’s Bend Quilter)
Loretta Bennett  (Gee’s Bend Quilter)
McArthur Binion
Lonnie Holley
David Huffman
Samuel Levi Jones
Kerry James Marshall
Loretta Pettway  (Gee’s Bend Quilter)
Martin Puryear
Gary Simmons
Lava Thomas

artlab: Allison Svoboda

Allison Svoboda uses the patterns and forms found in nature to create intricate, collages of layered pen and ink paintings that are assembled into large scale installations. Meditative, bold and delicate all at once, her work draws viewers in and holds them captivated.

ARTIST TALK & WORKSHOP
Saturday, November 17

10AM: ARTIST TALK
Free & Open to the Public
Join artist Allison Svoboda in the artlab for an informal talk about the process and inspiration behind her artwork. Enjoy a snack and continued dialogue in the KAC lobby after.

11AM: SUMI-E PAINTING WORKSHOP WITH ALLISON SVOBODA
Free & Open to the Public – Advance Registration Required – Email curatorial@krasl.org

Learn the meditative practice of traditional Asian ink painting. Sumi-e means path of ink, through different brushstrokes we will learn different ways to control the medium. Allison will teach basic brushstrokes and help those who want to experiment with their own original work. This 2 hour workshop is appropriate for all levels. Japanese ‘washi’ paper, ink and brushes are provided.

Summertime in the Galleries!

As the Sculpting Community project is underway outdoors, the Krasl Art Center invites guests of all ages and abilities to participate and enjoy a unique, fun, and playful atmosphere that is far from business-as-usual!

Summertime in the Galleries encourages visitors to explore aspects of KAC’s new grounds by participating in collaborative art projects, examining sculpture, and reflecting on themselves and public spaces. KAC’s newly designed grounds will feature a stunning sculpture by world-renowned artist Richard Hunt. Before the sculpture is installed in this Fall, experience its monumental scale and dynamic twists and turns in the galleries via a life-size silhouette. Come investigate and learn about how public sculptures are made and touch sculpture models on display!

Exhibition Sponsor: The John DeVries Insurance Agency

artLab: The Future is Made Out of Cardboard

While the Sculpting Community project is under construction on the KAC grounds this summer, campers will create their own exciting construction project in the artlab gallery. Using cardboard and make-do fasteners, campers will create buildings, structures, and vehicles that benefit communities of the future. Artist Keith Stevens will help campers work collaboratively and individually. Once the camp ends on June 30, visitors to KAC will have the opportunity to add their own futuristic cardboard creation to the collaborative installation.

2018 Biennial Sculpture Invitational

 

Since 1996, the Krasl Art Center has been celebrating art and community with its Biennial Sculpture Invitational. The Biennial places large-scale contemporary sculpture outdoors throughout the cities of St. Joseph and Benton Harbor, Michigan – along the scenic waterfronts and parks, and integrated throughout urban and artist communities. This special exhibtion shows the finest artworks by today’s public artists. It is accessible, engaging and fosters exploration of both fine art and its surroundings.

The 2018 Biennial Sculpture Invitational is supported by civic partnerships with the cities of St. Joseph and Benton Harbor, and cultural collaborations with the New Territory Arts Association and the Box factory for the Arts.

INVITED ARTISTS:
BIGthink (Michigan)
Bill Boyce (Benton Harbor, MI)
Isaac Duncan, III (Chatanooga, TN)
Albert LaVergne (Paw Paw, MI)

THE KRASL COLLECTION JOINS THE BIENNIAL
As the Krasl Art Center grounds are under construction this summer as part of its Sculpting Community project, the KAC permanent collection moves offsite and joins the Biennial Sculpture Invitational in the community. New surroundings for familiar artworks provide fresh contexts, encourage seeing the works anew and celebrates over 35 years of collecting sculpture.

Wandering Spirit: African Wax Prints

This exhibition is a tribute to the century-old handmade designs and patterns on textiles that originated in Indonesia and were copied and industrialized by Europeans and exported to Africa. Wandering Spirit: African Wax Prints traces the developmental pathway of the African wax print and tells how these fabrics reflect the stories, dreams, and personalities of the people who wear them.

Batik is a Javanese word that refers to a traditional technique of wax-resist dyeing, in which a pattern is made on both sides of cotton fabric with warm liquid wax applied by a tjanting, a small brass cup with a spout. After the wax cools and solidifies, the cloth is dyed with a primary color and the wax is then removed, revealing the pattern where the wax had once been.

The success of the wax prints in Africa is driven by many factors, such as the culture, taste, and desires of African consumers. Clothing in Africa serves an important means of communication, sending secret messages and retelling local proverbs. Clothing also depicts a person’s social status and position, political convictions, ambition, marital status, ethnicity, age, sex, and group affiliations. The names and stories associated with the fabrics differ from country to country and region to region. One fabric may have different names in different countries, depending on the symbolism that the consumer can read in the fabric.

The history of the African wax print is a history paved along colonial trade routes and globalization in the post- colonial era. Though not originally African, these textiles have become ingrained in African culture and society, and loved and identified as their own.

The exhibition Wandering Spirit: African Wax Prints is curated by Dr. Gifty Benson and organized by ExhibitsUSA/Mid-America Arts Alliance, Kansas City, MO.