Tuesday May 23, 2017

2017 Preview: Cuban Art in US Museums

Getting off to a quick start with shows in Boston, Houston, Miami and beyond

Rafael Soriano, Juego infantil (Children's Game), 1950s

Courtesy McMullen Museum of Art, Boston College

Whether in solo group shows, Cuban art is a vital presence in US museums this year. Here’s a look at some key shows opening in the first quarter of 2017, and a preview of the massive Pacific Time initiative coming this fall.

JANUARY 30, BOSTON. Rafael Soriano: The Artist as Mystic. More than 90 paintings, pastels, and drawings from museums and private collections traces Soriano’s career, from his early work in geometric abstraction as a member of the Diez Pintores Concretos (Ten Concrete Painters) group, through his biomorphic experiments of the 1960s and 1970s, to the luminous mysticism of his mature career.

Organized by the McMullen Museum in conjunction with the Rafael Soriano Foundation, the exhibition is curated by Elizabeth Thompson Goizueta, who curated the McMullen’s Wifredo Lam exhibition of 2014.

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RELATED: In Conversation: Curator Elizabeth Goizueta on Wifredo Lam: Imagining New Worlds

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The exhibition runs through June 4 at the McMullen, then travels in June to the Long Beach Museum of Art in Long Beach, California, and in October, to the Frost Art Museum in Miami.

Courtesy Ethelbert Cooper Gallery of African & African American Art, Harvard University

FEBRUARY 2, BOSTON. Diago: The Pasts of This Afro-Cuban Present. Some 25 mixed-media and installation works trace the career of Juan Roberto Diago from the mid-1990s, when he began to construct, through his art, a history of Cuba from an Afro-Cuban perspective.

Curated by Alejandro de la Fuente, director of the Afro-Latin American Research Institute at Harvard University’s Hutchins Center, the exhibition opens with a 6 p.m. reception on Wednesday, February 1.

Diago will take part in a conversation with de la Fuente in the gallery at noon on Friday, February 3. The exhibition runs through May 5.

A gallery view of Carmen Herrera: Lines of Sight installed at the Whitney Museum, New York

Courtesy Whitney Museum of American Art

FEBRUARY 4, COLUMBUS OH. Carmen Herrera: Lines of Sight. Closing this coming Monday, January 9, at the Whitney Museum in New York, the acclaimed exhibition immediately heads to the Wexner Center, where it opens early next month and runs through April 16—a few weeks’ shy of the artist’s 102nd birthday.

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RELATED: Sneak Preview: "Carmen Herrera: Lines of Sight"

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Emilio Sánchez, Untitled (Yellow House), 1965

Courtesy de la Cruz Collection, Miami

FEBRUARY 9, MIAMI. Emilio Sánchez in South Florida Collections. On the heels of the recent exhibition that he co-curated about mid-century Cuban architects and architecture—the most-read Cuban Art News article of 2016—Victor Deupi turns his attention to a Cuban artist who shares his passion for buildings and light.

Co-curated with art historian Nathan Timpano, Emilio Sánchez in South Florida Collections traces nearly six decades of the artist’s career through 30-plus works drawn from several collections, as well as documents, personal effects, and other ephemera.

Opening Thursday, February 9 at the Lowe Art Museum, the exhibition will run through May 21.

Coming to Houston and Minneapolis: Raúl Martínez, Rosas y estrellas, 1972

Courtesy The Farber Collection

MARCH 3, HOUSTON. Adiós Utopia: Dreams and Deceptions in Cuban Art Since 1950. With a powerhouse curatorial team that includes Gerardo Mosquera, René Francisco, and Elsa Vega, as well as museum advisors Mari Carmen Ramírez of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and Olga Viso of the Walker Art Center, this ambitious exhibition brings together more than 100 works by more than 50 Cuban artists and designers.

Ranging from painting, graphic design, and photography to video, installation, and performance art, the works are organized decade by decade to explore the island’s artistic production through the lens of “utopia,” its construction and its destruction.

Focusing on artists who remained in Cuba or who came to prominence after the 1959 Revolution, Adiós Utopia introduces US audiences to key events in Cuban history as well as key artists.

Conceived by the Cisneros Fontanals Fundación Para Las Artes (CIFO Europa) and organized in partnership with the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Walker Art Center, Adiós Utopia runs through May 21 at the MFA Houston. It opens next November 11 at the Walker in Minneapolis.

And a few events…

Carmen Herrera: The 100 Years Show at the Film Forum in New York

Courtesy The 100 Years Show

JANUARY 11, NEW YORK CITY. Carmen Herrera: The 100 Years Show. The 30-minute documentary by Alison Klayman gets its US theatrical premiere at the Film Forum, sharing the bill with the hour-long Everybody Knows…Elizabeth Murray. The program runs through Tuesday, January 17.

Courtesy Instituto Cervantes, New York

JANUARY 26, NEW YORK CITY. Island Allure – Cuba: 1858–1958. Noted archivist Ramiro A. Fernández will give an illustrated talk, featuring gems from his photo collection, at the Instituto Cervantes. Thursday, January 26, 7 p.m.

From Havana, the early music ensemble Ars Longa

Courtesy earlymusicamerica.org

FEBRUARY 18, MILWAUKEE. Ars Longa de La Habana: “Gulumba, Gulumbe. In its US debut, this early-music ensemble presents “Resonances of Africa in the New World,” including music of Fernández, Salgado, and de la Rocca, among others. 5 p.m. at the Helene Zelazo Center for the Performing Arts.

Looking ahead to September…

PREVIEW, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA. Pacific Standard Time – LA/LA: A Celebration Beyond Borders. The Getty is the prime mover behind Pacific Standard Time, a multi-museum initiative across Southern California.

Courtesy Pacific Standard Time

In its second edition, LA/LA: A Celebration Beyond Borders, PST explores Latin American and Latino art “in dialogue with Los Angeles.”  

As might be expected, Mexican and Chicano art are the focus of many exhibitions, but others focus on art from Central and South American regions and the Caribbean, and Cuban artists are in the mix.

Humberto Díaz is among the artists highlighted in Relational Undercurrents: Contemporary Art of the Caribbean Archipelago, presented at the Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA) in Long Beach. At the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, Learning from Latin America: Art, Architecture, and Visions of Modernism includes work by Felipe Dulzaides.

María Magdalena Campos-Pons, My Mother Told Me I Was Chinese, 2008, installed at Mana Contemporary, New Jersey

Courtesy Artsy

Presented at both the California African American Museum and the Chinese American Museum, Circles and Circuits: Chines Caribbean Art surveys the art of the Chinese Caribbean diaspora from the early 20th century to the present, in Cuba, Panama, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, and beyond. María Magdalena Campos-Pons and, of course, Wifredo Lam are among the artists on view.

And at the Hammer Museum, look for work by Ana Mendieta in Radical Women: Latin American Art 1960–1985.