Tuesday April 24, 2018

Cuban Art – 6 Shows to See Now

Plus 1 to catch this weekend, opening Saturday

Donis Llago, Untitled, from the series Transparencias

Courtesy Donis Llago

In this roundup of current shows, the Kremlin faces off against the White House, the lines form at MoMA, and a historical center of US slavery contemplates Afro-Cuban history. A master printmaker’s retrospective arrives in the US heartland, and a conceptual photographer journeys deeper into assemblage.

Donis Llago: Transparent Secret. Opening tonight in Havana, this show at Galería Artis 718 builds on the artist’s ongoing Transparencias. Previous works in the series have envisioned a Havana crowded with transparent high-rise buildings but eerily empty of people, and transparent Malecón walls spelling words like “Leave” and “Dream.” His latest works extend this vision to seats of governmental power—the Kremlin, the White House, the Presidential Palace in Mexico—turning them into metaphors of “transparency” and its absence. The reception begins at 6 p.m. tonight at Galeria Artis 718 in the Playa district.

Donis Llago, Untitled, from the series Transparencias

Courtesy Donis Llago

Unofficial. As Cuba’s Academia Nacional de Bellas Artes San Alejandro celebrates its 200th year, five of its graduates from the 1980s reflect on the relationship of art, power, and society. Curated by Henry Ballate, with a text by Willy Castellanos, Unofficial  features works that, in Castellanos’s words, “seek to create, from various strategies, an annoying noise in the homogeneous chorus of power and its social constructs.” With work by Alejandro Arrechea, Manuel Arenas, Ernesto Arencibia, Ángel Delgado and Magín Pérez. Through March 4 at the Kendall Art Center in Miami.

Ernesto Arencibia, La Isla, 2017

Courtesy Kendall Art Center

El fin del gran relato. Presented by the Oficina de Proyectos Culturales in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, this group show explores how Cuba is defined in 2018, from within and beyond the island. Curated by Henry Eric Hernández and produced with Galería Taller Gorría, El fin del gran relato features a cross-generational mix of 12 artists, including Carlos Garaicoa, Celia-Yunior, José Ángel Toirac, Reynier Leyva Novo, Los Carpinteros, and Hernández himself, among others. Through May 5.

In Puerto Vallarta: Celia-Yunior, Dienteperro, 2008–2017

Courtesy Galería Taller Gorría 

Roberto Diago: La Historia Recordada. Diago’s work has long addressed Afro-Cuban identity and the roots of slavery in Cuban society. Hosted by the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at the College of Charleston, South Carolina, his exhibition is the centerpiece of a broader, college-wide project that engages with Cuban culture, politics, and economics, exploring the common history of Cuba and the US South as plantation cultures built on slavery. Through April 17.

Installation view of Roberto Diago: La Historia Recordada in Charleston

Courtesy Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art

Nkame: A Retrospective of Cuban Printmaker Belkis Ayón. “We are thrilled to see the work of #BelkisAyón travel on to the Kemper!” the Fowler Museum at UCLA wrote on its Facebook page. The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Missouri, is the third stop in a tour that began over a year ago at the Fowler—and made Nkame a New York Times Top Ten Show of 2017 during its run at El Museo del Barrio. On view at the Kemper through April 29.

Belkis Ayón, Niloro, 1991

Courtesy Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art

Tania Bruguera: Untitled (Havana, 2000). The lines started forming for Bruguera’s performance installation at MoMA—first presented at the 7th Havana Biennial—almost from the moment it opened this past weekend, and will probably continue right up to the moment it closes on March 11. For more about the project, see our story earlier this week.

A frame from the video included in Tania Bruguera: Untitled (Havana, 2000) at MoMA

Courtesy Museum of Modern Art, New York

Opening Saturday: María Martínez-Cañas: Transformative Structures (Estructuras Transformativas). Building on her recent Rebus + Diversions collage series—featured in a Cuban Art News interview earlier this year—Martínez-Cañas continues to expand the interplay of experimental photography, drawing, and sculpture. The personal archive of noted 20th-century Cuban critic and curator José Gómez-Sicre is once again a starting point for her explorations. In the new works, Martínez-Cañas attempts to synthesize the artists and art history that most deeply influenced her, from Walter Gropius to Gego and Sandú Darié. At New York’s Julie Saul Gallery, the exhibition opens with a reception and book-signing, 5 to 7 p.m.

María Martínez-Cañas, CSl_033, 2017

Courtesy Julie Saul Gallery, New York