Earlier this month, Cuban art world saluted some of its distinguished longtime members—and a few emerging voices—with this year’s national prizes in the visual arts and curatorship, and the Guy Cisneros prizes for art criticism.
Visual Arts Award. The 2017 Premio Nacional de Artes Plásticas was awarded to Eduardo Roca Salazar, known as “Choco.” A master of the collographic print as well as a painter and sculptor, Choco trained at the Escuela Nacional de Arte (ENA) and the University of Havana.
His early awards and recognition included the Premio de Grabado in the National Youth Salon for Visual Arts in Havana, 1977, and the medal of honor in the Graphic Salon, Bulgaria, in 1982. In Cuba, he was recognized in 1995 with the Orden por la Cultura Nacional.
The Premio Nacional de Artes Plásticas generally includes a solo exhibition presented at or by the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Havana.
“El silencio de Duchamp is a discreet 'whisper' with an essentially balanced intent," wrote Marrero in an email to Cuban Art News, "pointing towards the neurological center of Duchamp's attention: language, its uses, abuses and disuses. It is the first part in a trilogy that, from an art-historical perspective, ponders the paths of those who have consciously devoted themselves to the art of thinking and directing the 'traffic' of information in one way or another--not better or worse, but different. After all, art is the ideal tool for creating new platforms and dismantling the walls that surround ideas."
Artists in the exhibition included Humberto Díaz, Eduardo Ponjuán, Elio Rodríguez, and Ariamna Contino and Alex Hernández, among many others.
The three jurors for curatorship were Corina Matamoros, Hilda María Rodríguez, and Chrislie Pérez. In addition to El silencio de Duchamp, they also singled out for mention Sonique, a sound-art exhibition curated by Yarisley Medina Abreu (LeyMa); Memorias. Grabado 80’ 90’, a group show curated by Lisset and Lisandra Yllañez; and Herbaria, a show of Cuban and Puerto Rican artists at the Centro de Desarrollo de las Artes Visuales (CDAV) curated by Guillermo Rodríguez and Caridad Blanco.
The jury also recommended that Zona de juego, an interactive exhibition for toddlers curated by Yanisel Osuna and Yanisley Rodríguez, be included in the national exhibition circuit.
No curator’s prize was awarded this year in the category of solo exhibition. The jurors did give a mention to Todos los mundos de Bachs, a show about graphic designer Eduardo Muños Bachs—whose posters are currently on view in the Hollywood in Havana show in LA—curated by Sara Vega and Fabián Muñoz.
Art criticism. In the Essay category, the winner of this year’s Guy Pérez Cisneros prize is Nahela Hechavarría Pouymiró for La ficción y la memoria (estrategias para penetrar el context). In making the award, jurors Margarita Mateo, Magaly Espinoza, and Erick González cited Pouymiró’s profound approach to reading the history embedded in contemporary Cuban art.
The Guy Pérez Cisneros prize for art review was shared by Luis Enrique Padrón for Pecio para una travesía aplazada, and Laura Magela Garcés for Coitus reservatus.
Born in 1980, Pouymiró has been an adjunct professor of art history at the University of Havana since 2004. She is curator of visual art at Casa de las Américas and chief editor of its online magazine Arteamérica.
Padrón and Garcés are even younger. Born in 1992, Padrón teaches at the University of Havana, and works with Galería Habana. Garcés is associated with Galería Servando.
And a photography award in Italy. Last month, the 2017 Florence Biennial awarded its “Premio Lorenzo il Magnifico” in 12 visual arts categories. Congratulations to Lissette Solórzano, winner in the Photography category. Solórzano won for two works in her 2005 Malecón series: Hombre al agua… and El Santero.