Sunday October 23, 2016

In Havana, 2016 CNAP Prizes Awarded to Curators, Critics

Announced during first-ever meeting in Cuba of international art critics association

A work by Nestor Siré, from the personal exhibition Hábitat at Fucina des Artistas, Havana

Courtesy Nestor Siré, Facebook

This year, Cuba’s national awards to art curators and critics took on an added significance, as the announcements came during the 49th Congress of the International Association of Art Critics (AICA) in Havana—the first time in the organization’s history (founded in 1950) that its annual meeting was held on the island. 

In curatorship, the Consejo Nacional de Artes Plásticas (CNAP) awards outstanding group and solo exhibitions presented in Cuba during the previous 12 months. The 2016 jury included Tania Parson (chair), José Veigas, Onedys Calvo, Isabel Pérez, and Shirley Moreira. 

Delia María López, curator of Ardid para engañar al tiempo

Courtesy CNAP

The 2016 curator’s prize for group show went to Ardid para engañar al tiempo (A Ruse to Deceive Time), curated by Delia María López Campistrous and presented at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes this past August. The exhibition was noted for its serious historical research on the Cuban vanguardia

Carlos Enriquez, Atarés (1926), in the exhibition Ardid para engañar al tiempo


The prize for curating a solo exhibition was awarded to artist Lázaro Saavedra and curator Corina Matamoros of the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, for the exhibition Base superestructura. The show was presented at the Wifredo Lam Center this past spring, in recognition of Saavedra as the winner of the 2014 National Prize in Visual Arts. 

Lázaro Saavedra, El progreso de una nación, 2016, in the exhibition Base / Superestructura

Courtesy Lázaro Saavedra

Two other exhibitions received honorable mentions: Hábitat, a solo show of work by Nestor Siré, curated by Yainet Rodríguez; and Grupo punto. 20 años, tracing the history of the art group in Cienfuegos, curated by Danilo Vega Cabrera and Adrian Rumbaut, and presented in fall 2015 in the Centro Provincial de Artes Visuales in Cienfuegos. 

Caridad Blanco accepting the award for "Los flujos de la imagen" (The Flow of the Image).

Courtesy CNAP

CNAP also awards the Guy Pérez Cisneros Prizes for visual arts writing. In the category of essay, the Guy Pérez Cisneros Prize for Art Criticism was shared by two important texts: “Los flujos de la imagen (The Flow of the Image),” by curator/scholar Caridad Blanco de la Cruz, and “Mujeres fotógrafas y fotografiadas en el siglo XIX cubano. Apuntes mayores (Women Photographers and Photographed in 19th-century Cuba,” by critic and scholar Grethel Morell Otero.

Gretha Morell accepting the award for “Mujeres fotógrafas y fotografiadas en el siglo XIX cubano. Apuntes mayores" (Women Photographers and Photographed in 19th-century Cuba).

Courtesy CNAP

Two additional essays received honorable mentions: “El espacio cualificado. Mapa para una isla concreta (Space Qualified: Map for a Concrete Island),” by Beatriz Gago; and “Como el pez en el agua: apuntes y consideraciones sobre la vida y la obra de Manuel Mendive (Like a Fish in Water: Notes and Considerations on the Life and Work of Manuel Mendive),” by Darys Vázquez.

Nelson Herrera Ysla accepting the award for “Otra vuelta de tuerca en a la fotografía (Another Twist in Photography): Ernesto Javier Fernández.”

Courtesy CNAP

The Guy Pérez Cisneros Prize for Reviews and Journalistic Opinion went to “Otra vuelta de tuerca en a la fotografía (Another Twist in Photography): Ernesto Javier Fernández,” by critic/curator Nelson Herrera Ysla.

The outstanding quality of entries in this category, including many young writers, resulted in a number of Honorable Mentions, including “Una artista se baña en el Ganges: Una artista que vive entre el zen y la house music (An Artist [Elizabet Cerviño] Bathes in the Ganges: An artist who lives between Zen and house music),” by Elvia Rosa Castro Martín; and “El arte cubano y la diáspora: claves para armar y desarmar {Cuban Art and the Diaspora: Keys to assemble and dismantle), by Nahela Hechavarría Pouymiró. 

Honorable mentions also went to “Arte cubano a la hora del mercado: a propósito de Post-It 3 (Cuban Art in the Marketplace: About Post-It 3),” by Hamlet Fernández Díaz; “Cartografía de un pensamiento. La obra de Tonel (Mapping a Thought: The Work of Tonel),” by Hilda María Rodríguez Enríquez; and “Si de intimidades se trata…bojeo a la obra de Lidzie Alvisa (If It’s About Intimacies…: the work of Lidzie Alvisa),” by Julienne López Hernández. 

The jury for the 2016 Guy Pérez Cisneros awards included Pedro de la Hoz, Gretel Medina, Luz Merino Acosta, Margarita Sánchez, and was chaired by Rafael Acosta de Arriba. 

Marek Bartelik, President of AICA International; Adelaida de Juan Seiller; David Mateo, President of AICA Cuba

Courtesy AICA

The AICA Congress, during its meeting, also awarded Cuban critics. The 2016 award for Distinguished Contribution to Art Criticism was presented to art historian and professor Adelaida de Juan Seiller, founder and first president of AICA’s Cuban Section, during the meeting’s opening ceremony on October 11. 

AICA’s annual Incentive Prize for Young Critics was awarded to Victor Wang (Canada-UK) for his essay “The Creation of Sanctioned Spaces and the Fall of the Cuban Wall: The 12th Bienal de La Habana.” In addition, Yenny Hernández Valdés (Cuba) received an Honorable Mention for her essay “El gusto por el cuerpo. Estrategias discursivas de la novísima generación de fotógrafos cubanos del cuerpo (The taste for the body. Discursive strategies of the new generation of Cuban body photographers).”