Roberto Diago: El poder de tu alma (The Power of Your Soul). The artist’s first Havana show in four years opened last week at the Wifredo Lam Contemporary Art Center. The work on view veers toward the abstract, dispensing with the figurative, narrative, and textual elements that characterize Diago’s previous work. On view through January 11.
La isla del día después (acuarelas de Luis. E. Camejo). Last week also saw the opening of The Island of the Day After (Watercolors by Luis E. Camejo) at Galería Servando. The large-scale works depict a storm-battered Havana of pounding waves and flooded streets, rendered in an evocative palette of muted grays.
Picassum Tremens. The 20th-century giant has cast a haunting shadow over generations of younger artists, including many on the island. Seven of them—Eduardo Abela, Alicia de la Campa, Sinecio Cuétara, Hilda María Enríquez, Aristedes Hernández (Ares), Pedro Pablo Oliva, Ángel Rivero (Andy) and Reinerio Tamayo—share their personal interpretations of Picasso and his enduring influence in this group show, on view through January 18 at Casa Victor Hugo in Havana.
Post-it. Conceived as a new forum for young emerging artists, this exhibition and sale at two galleries features 56 works by artists under 35. Most are from the San Alejandro Art Academy and the Visual Arts Provincial Academies; three are self-taught. Look for large-scale canvases, installations, and sculpture at Galería Galiano, and other works—including prints, paintings, photos, and video art—at the Galería Collage Habana, through January.
Havana Jazz Plaza Festival. The 29th annual jazzfest is dedicated to father-and-son Cuban jazz greats Bebo and Chucho Valdés. It kicks off this Thursday, December 19 with a tribute concert by Chucho for Bebo, who died earlier this year. Cuban musicians participating in the fest include Bobby Carcassés, Enrique Plá, Pablo Menéndez & Mezcla, Alexis Bosch, Ruy, Ernán and Harold López-Nussa. Among the U.S. musicians on hand are Arturo O’Farril, Randy Weston, with attendees also expected from such countries as Venezuela, Argentina, Spain, Holland, Brazil, Switzerland, and Germany. Through Sunday, December 22.
And moving beyond the island…
Abel Barroso and Sandra Ramos in Tokyo. Promo-Arte, a gallery of Latin American art in the city’s Shibuya-ku district, is presenting parallel exhibitions by the two artists. In Modern Myths, Ramos reinterprets classic Greek and Roman mythology in a contemporary Cuban context, along with two other series of works on paper, “Cuban Passport” and “Inner Treaty,” and a series of animations featuring such iconic characters as Liborio, Bobo by Abela, and Jinetera. In Touch Panel Phone, Barroso interprets technology, global politics, and the challenges of Cuban life from a “third world” point of view. The show, which opened late last week, has a brief run, closing December 24.
Capote in London. Yoan Capote: Emotional Objects, the artist’s first solo show in London, features photographs and sculptures like Lacerante (Mi Silencio), a laser-cut stainless steel work with hand-sharpened edges, shown here on the gallery invitation. On view at Ben Brown Fine Arts through January 29.
Carlos Estévez in Guadeloupe. Prelude, the artist’s latest solo show, opens next week at T&T Basse-Terre gallery in Basse-Terre, Guadeloupe. The show runs through February 22.
Cuban Artists in El Segundo. In January 2013, a small, agile “art laboratory” opened in the Los Angeles-area seaside town of El Segundo. Referring to its exhibitions as “experiences,” the new El Segundo Museum of Art has taken an interactive, often experimental approach to presenting contemporary art—as in its latest project, Experience 07: STING. Earlier this month, four Cuban artists and artist collaboratives—Fidel García, Celia and Yunior, Mauricio Abad, and Dennis Izquierdo—took over the museum’s near-empty exhibition space. Over the following six weeks, they’re filling it with artworks in a process that, as a form of conceptual art, will be fully open to public observation and experience.
“Walking in someone else’s shoes” (Identities in transit). The idea of psychogeography is explored in this group show featuring artists who use walking as a creative element in their work. Organized by the Aluna Curatorial Collective (Adriana Herrera and Willy Castellanos), the exhibition showcases artists from around the Americas, including Cubans and Cuban-Americans Gustavo Gavilondo, Humberto Castro, Willy Castellanos, Hugo Moro, and Antuán. On view at Aluna Art Foundation through February 25.
Glexis Novoa in Miami. At Bridge Red Studios Project Space in North Miami, Novoa shares a show with Peruvian-born artist William Cordova. Wipala / Annica: Surveying / William Cordova & Glexis Novoa casts an interrogating, decentering eye on contemporary visual culture, with an emphasis on street-level popular culture and its impact on the visual landscape. The show runs through Sunday, January 19, with a closing brunch that day from noon to 3 p.m.
And congratulations, too, to Glexis on winning a prestigious 2013 Painters & Sculptors Grant from the Joan Mitchell Foundation, just announced this week. Felicidades!
Identity and the Accumulation of Memory in Upper Manhattan. This group show, curated by Alexis Mendoza, presents 10 Cuban artists who utilize the visual language of documentation to access, interpret, and in some cases reconstruct individual and collective memory and identity. All of the artists have lived outside the island for many years, yet their creative expression is rooted in an intrinsically Cuban identity. The artists on view are Tony Chirinos, Guillermo Lorente, Jesús Rivera, Juana Valdés, Alexis Mendoza, Margarita Fresco Crespo, Mario Petrirena, Nelson Alvarez, Renelio Marín, and Raúl Villarreal. On view through December 27 at the Boricua College Art Gallery.
Abelardo Morrell mini-tour online. In a previous Update column, we wrote about Abelardo Morell: The Universe Next Door, the photographer’s retrospective currently on view at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. If you’re not able to see the show, the Getty is offering an online “mini-tour:” 6 images from the exhibition, accompanied by audio comments by Getty photo curator Paul Martineau and Morell himself. The exhibition runs through January 5; presumably the mini-tour will remain online indefinitely.