Monday July 24, 2017

Update: Agustín Fernández in DC, Azaceta in Newark, Los Carpinteros in Tampa, and Caos in Cartagena

Grethell Rasúa, video still from De la permanencia y otras necesidades / Of Permanence and Other Necessities, 2013

Photo Michael R. Barrick, courtesy Grethell Rasúa

Opening tonight: The Spaces Between in Vancouver. The city's first major exhibition of art from the island in more than 15 years opens tonight at the University of British Columbia's Belkin Art Gallery. The Spaces Between: Contemporary Art from Havana features approximately 70 works by 14 artists or collaboratives, including Juan Carlos Alom, Sandra Ceballos, Celia & Yunior, Eduardo Ponjuán, Grethell Rasúa, Lázaro Saavedra, and Jorge Wellesley. Co-curated by renowned Cuban artist and critic Antonio Eligio Fernández (Tonel) and Belkin curator-associate director Keith Wallace, the show features paintings, prints, drawings, photos, and videos. The opening reception runs from 8 to 10 p.m. tonight, and there's a curators' tour of the show this Saturday, January 11, at 2 p.m. The Spaces Between runs through April 13.

Agustín Fernández, Untitled, 1962

Brandon Webster Collection, Washington, DC, courtesy American University

Agustín Fernández in Washington, D.C. In 2012, art historian and critic Donald Kuspit wrote the introduction to Agustín Fernández: The Metamorphosis of Experience, a comprehensive monograph on the artist and his work. Now, Kuspit has curated a new exhibition: Agustín Fernández: Ultimate Surrealist, which surveys the artist’s career in 40 works. Organized by the Agustín Fernández Foundation, the show is a detailed exploration of Fernández’s style, with its erotic, machine-inspired sensibility. Agustín Fernández: Ultimate Surrealist opens Saturday, January 25 at the Katzen Arts Center of American University, where it runs through March 16.

Opening today: Caos at Art Cartagena. Glenda León, Juan Carlos Zaldívar, Marianela Orozco, and Yornel Martínez Elías are among the artists showcased in Caos, presented by Sandra Montenegro Contemporary Art. Montenegro is one of only 16 galleries and dealers to participate in Art Cartagena, which has been billed as Colombia’s first international “boutique” art fair. The fair opens today and runs through this Sunday, January 12. Look for Caos at Stand 401.

Spirit Migration in Jersey City. This fall, we wrote about the opening of BrutEdge, a new gallery in Jersey City, New Jersey, that focuses on Caribbean contemporary art. This week they’ve got a new show opening: Spirit Migration: The Flowing, the Spectral, the Fleeting, which again takes a pan-Caribbean approach to its theme. Cuban artists include José Bedia, Jorge Alberto Pérez, Santiago Rodríguez Olazábal, and Belkis Ayón. The show opens this Sunday, January 12 in BrutEdge’s space at Mana Contemporary. Coming from Manhattan? RSVP to the Mana events website and reserve a spot on one of the shuttle buses that leave every half hour from Chelsea.

Los Carpinteros, Ciudad Transportable, 2000, as installed at the 7th Havana Biennial, 2000-2001

Courtesy Peter Kilchmann Gallery

Los Carpinteros in Tampa. The University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum (CAM) is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, and its collaborations with artists who have been in residence at USF over the years—including Los Carpinteros, whose 2005 exhibition Inventing the World was organized by CAM. For its anniversary exhibition, CAM@25: Social Engagement, the museum is presenting Los Carpinteros’ installation Ciudad Transportable (Transportable City, 2000), a work in its collection that has recently been restored and fabricated. Displayed out-of-doors on the museum grounds, the ten three-quarter-scale, canvas-and-frame structures interpret the urban landscape with an apartment building, factory, warehouse, church, and other buildings. Also on view in CAM@25: Conga Irreversible (2013), a video of the performance work that Los Carpinteros presented at the 2012 Havana Biennial. CAM@25 opens with a reception on Friday, January 17, 7-9 p.m. The show runs through March 8.

First Person in Milwaukee. At the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design, First Person: Contemporary Cuban Art presents videos, installation work, sculpture, photography, and painting by four artists from the island: Alejandro Calzada Miranda, Yaima Carrazana, Felipe Dulzaides and Glenda León. Even now, Carrazana is at work on a site-specific piece that the show’s curators describe as a mural “done with a wink to political propaganda” and “a performative piece recontextualized for the gallery.” On opening night—next Friday, January 17—León and Carrazana will take part in a panel discussion with the show’s co-curator Cristin Cash. First Person runs through February 15.

Luis Cruz Azaceta, Piñata, 2009

Courtesy Luis Cruz Azaceta

Luis Cruz Azaceta in Newark. Azaceta is the latest artist to grace the “Bending the Grid” series at Aljira, a Center for Contemporary Art. Curated by Alejandro Anreus, professor of Art and Latin American Studies at William Patterson University, Luis Cruz Azaceta: Dictators, Terrorism, War and Exiles showcases 29 works spanning 1980 to the present. The show opens on Thursday evening, January 23, with a gallery walk and catalogue signing with the artist and curator from 6 to 9 p.m. The show runs through April 26.

And still on view.  Many of the shows we’ve written about in the last few months are still open and well worth a first or repeat visit. Among them are Cuban Forever at the Pizzuti Collection in Columbus, Ohio, through June 30 . . . Tania Bruguera’s Museum of Arte Útil at the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, Netherlands, through March 30 . . . Citizens of the World: Cuba in Queens at the Queens Museum through March 9 . . . “Walking in someone else’s shoes” (Identities in transit) at Aluna Art Foundation in Miami through February 25 . . . Amelia Peláez: The Craft of Modernity at the Pérez Art Museum of Miami through February 23 . . . Cuban Art and Identity: 1900-1950 at the Vero Beach Museum of Art through February 2. . . and Manuel Mendive: Things That Cannot Be Seen Any Other Way at the Frost Museum through January 26. 

Book launch in Havana. Last June, Cuban Art News took a two-part look at the Cuban Pavilion of the 2013 Venice Biennial. Curated by Jorge Fernández Torres of the Wifredo Lam Contemporary Art Center and Giacomo Zaza, the Pavilion’s theme was “The Perversion of the Classic: Anarchy of the Narratives.” As the year drew to a close, the pavilion’s commissioner, Miria Vicini, traveled to Havana to mark the book’s publication with a presentation at the Wifredo Lam Center. The trilingual book (Italian, Spanish, English) has been published in a numbered, limited edition of 650, each copy of La perversión de lo clásico: anarquía de los relatos is slipcased and signed by Vicini. 

Courtesy Sylvie Collier

Dancing triplets now on DVD. First Run Features has announced the February 4 DVD release of the documentary To Dance Like A Man, directed by British filmmaker Sylvie Collier. The video features identical triplets Angel, César, and Marcos, who are students in the Cuban National Ballet School. The boys, who were 11 years old at the time of filming (2011), captivate viewers with their mischievous grins and their hard work and dedication to their dream of joining the Cuban National Ballet. Cuba has produced many outstanding male ballet dancers and this documentary offers insights into the rigorous training involved. The director intends to make a follow-up film about the triplets as they mature.

Call for entries. The 15th IMAGO Festival, scheduled for March 27-30 in Havana, is currently soliciting submissions. Organized by the Department of Audiovisual Communications Media at the University of the Arts, the IMAGO festival is aimed primarily at the Cuban university community, with the goal of supporting audiovisual work in this sector and bringing greater recognition to the makers. University students, both Cuban nationals and those resident in Cuba, as well as students of EICTV (International School of Cinema and Television of San Antonio de los Baños), are eligible to participate. A jury will award IMAGO prizes in various categories, including fiction, documentary, animation, video spots, etc. Deadline for submissions is January 30. For details, click here. According to Jesús Miguel Hernández Bach, producer of the competition, the festival also serves as a means of evaluating the work being done in different parts of the country and assessing the needs and challenges of young media makers.