Saturday June 24, 2017

Update: Ponjuán in Havana, Garaicoa in Spain, Bruguera in San Francisco & New York

At Galería Habana: Iván Capote, Knowledge

Courtesy Galería Habana

Registro incompleto in Havana. In contemporary art these days, it’s impossible to maintain rigid distinctions between artistic genres. That’s the starting supposition for this group show, now on view at Galería Habana. A connection to sculpture—formal, technical, or referential—is the common thread among the works by the show’s nine artists: Iván Capote, Elizabet Cerviño, Reinaldo Cid, Ariamna Contino, Adrián Fernández, Alex Hernández, José Manuel Mesías, Michel “El Pollo” Pérez, and Linet Sánchez.

But as curator Luis Enrique Padrón Pérez notes, “Talking today about sculpture is useless.” With that in mind, he says, the gallery space will function as “a scenographic environment, marked by the technical and discursive excess” of the works on view. The show runs through May 27.

Two at CDAV. The Centro de Desarrollo de las Artes Visuales is hosting two solo exhibitions that opened late last month: Levi Orta’s Creo que hablo mucha mierda. Forma, Política y Jet Lag (I think that I talk a lot of crap. Form, Politics, and Jet Lag) and Desarraigo (Uprooting) by Gabriel Sánchez Toledo. On view through this Sunday, May 21.

At CDAV, works by Gabriel Sánchez Toledo

Courtesy CDAV

Ponjuán in Havana. In the Vedado art space El Apartamento, Sputnik presents recent work by Eduardo Ponjuán, winner of the 2013 Premio Nacional de Artes Plásticas. Works on view include drawings, sculpture, and installations. 

A view of Eduardo Ponjuán: Sputnik at El Apartamento. 

Courtesy El Apartamento.

Garaicoa in Murcia. Carlos Garaicoa: Prêt-à-Porter explores the city as an imagined construct. Produced specifically for the Centro Párraga in Murcia, Spain, the show assembles works from different phases in Garaicoa’s career, united in their meditations on cities as representations of individual and collective memory, and on their themes of architecture, utopia, decay, and desire. On view through June 18.

Visitors at Centro Párraga with Perspectivas / Perspectives, 2015, by Carlos Garaicoa

Courtesy Centro Párraga

And Spanish artists in Havana. Meanwhile, the latest pair of Spanish artists have arrived in Havana for their residencies with Garaicoa’s Artista x Artista project. Miriam Isasi will develop a project called Terreno de juego; Sara Munquía will focus, in part, on the challenge of adapting science and technology to daily life. Like previous Artista x Artista residents, they will present exhibitions, workshops, and talks about their work.

Francisco in Utrecht. René Francisco is among an international list of more than 30 artists participating in To Seminar, an exhibition at the Netherlands art center BAK (Basis voor actuele kunst). Using as a starting point philosopher Roland Barthes’s 1974 essay of the same title, To Seminar has evolved over time through public meetings and performances, exploring ways that collective learning can be applied to society in general. As part of his role in the project, Francisco led a week-long workshop, with the outcomes integrated into the exhibition as it continued. Now in its final week, To Seminar closes this Sunday, May 21.

René Francisco, second from left, with members of his workshop in To Seminar

Courtesy René Francisco 

Construções Sensíveis in São Paulo. Sandú Darié, Loló Soldevilla, José Mijares, Roberto Diago, and Carmen Herrera are among the 30-plus artists in this show exploring geometric abstraction in Latin America. Drawn entirely from the Ella Fontanals-Cisneros Collection, Construções Sensíveis (Sensitive Buildings) runs through June 18 in the Galeria de Arte do Centro Cultural Fiesp in São Paulo.

Opening tomorrow: Cuban artists in Medellín. Mayra Alpizar, Elio Rodríguez, René Peña, and the duo jorge y larry are among the artists in 89 Noches. Descolonizando la sexualidad y la oscuridad (89 Nights: Decolonizing Sexuality and Darkness). Presented by the Museo de Antioquia, the show looks at the dichotomies arising from modernity and colonialism—light and darkness, black and white, masculine and feminine—and proposes aleternatives with respect to sex, gender, race, and class. On view through August 13.

Bruguera in San Francisco. Next month, Tania Bruguera brings her art and artivism to the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. As part of Tania Bruguera: Talking to Power / Hablándole al Poder, the artist will set up a temporary iteration of her Escuela de Arte Útil (School of Useful Art), in which she and fellow artist-educators will conduct weekly classes for the public. On view June 16–October 19.

From Tania Bruguera's project The Francis Effect, begun in 2014

Courtesy Yerba Buena Center for Art

Bruguera and Pledges of AllegianceJust ahead of the Yerba Buena opening, Bruguera will join an international roster of artists, including Pedro Reyes, Nari Ward, Yoko Ono, and Rirkrit Tiravanija, in the New York City opening of Pledges of Allegiance. The show is presented by the arts organization Creative Time, which has invited each of the 16 artists to create a flag “as a declaration for a set of values during this fraught political period, and to help us imagine how we might move forward collectively.” The project launches officially on June 14, the US holiday known as Flag Day. Each month a new flag will be raised on a different flagpole around New York City.

Just opened in South Florida. Last Thursday, the Pompano Beach Cultural Center cut the ribbon on its new facility, and opened the doors to Shipwrecked of Reason: Half a Century of Cuban Art. Curated by Isabel María Pérez Pérez, the exhibition features a cross-generational selection of more than 20 artists, including José Manuel Fors, Lázaro Saavedra, Arianna Contino, and Roberto Fabelo. On view through the end of July.

La República in Miami. This Saturday, May 20, is the 115th anniversary of the founding of the Cuban Republic, and Pan American Art Projects is marking the occasion with La Repúblca vista por sus artistas (The Republic through the eyes of its artists). Surveying the art of the island in the first half of the 20th century, the show features work by 18 artists, including Cundo Bermúdez, Amelia Peláez, Wifredo Lam, and Roberto Diago. The show runs through July 31 at the PAAP Annex in Miami’s Little River district.

At Pan American Art Projects: Wifredo Lam, Femme, 1944

Courtesy PAAP

And “…hacerse el Bobo.” The look back at the Cuban Republic continues at Pan American Art Project’s main gallery in Little Haiti with … hacerse el Bobo(Pretending to be a Fool). The exhibition begins with artist, cartoonist, and activist Eduardo Abela— whose character El Bobo (The Fool) took satirical aim at the government of President Gerardo Machado—and then explores how contemporary artists Sandra Ramos, José Ángel Toirac, and Lázaro Saavedra—have adapted El Bobo to the contemporary Cuban context, using the past to reinterpret the present. The show opens this Saturday, May 20—the anniversary date of the Cuban Republic—with a reception, 2–5 p.m. and a curatorial tour at 3 p.m. 

Current & upcoming at Kendall. Photography is in the spotlight at Miami’s Kendall Art Center, with the solo show Osiris Cisneros: All We Need and the group exhibition Alternative. Artists on view include Arturo Cuenca, Rubén Torres-Llorca, Nestór Arenas, and Ana María Sarlat. Then the focus shifts to painting, with Ciro Quintana: Crónicas de un artista cubano opening Friday, May 26, with a reception 7–11 p.m.

Courtesy Kendall Art Center

On the Horizon at PAMM. Next month sees the arrival of On the Horizon: Contemporary Cuban Art from the Jorge M. Pérez Collection at the Pérez Art Museum Miami. Selected from more than 160 works recently given by Pérez to his namesake museum, as well as works given in 2012 plus recent acquisitions, the show takes the horizon as its theme, both as literal depiction and resonant metaphor. Featuring paintings, drawings, sculpture, video, and installation work, the show reflects on the specificities of the current Cuban social, political, and physical environment. On view through April 8, 2018.

Recent acquisitions in Chelsea. The Center for Cuban Studies is known for its venturesome tours throughout the Island, and its Cuban Art Space gallery is reaping the benefits. The current show spotlights recent acquisitions, including ceramic art, works on paper, paintings on canvas, and craft works. Featured artists include Néstor Vega, Ydit Vidal, and Roberto Torres-Lameda. On view through June 17.

Elio Rodríguez in New York. The common theme of humor and tenderness connects the eight artists in The Last Picture Show—including Elio Rodríguez. The show, which opened last week at 532 Gallery Thomas Jaeckel, runs through June 10.

A recent sculpture by Elio Rodríguez at 532 Gallery Thomas Jaeckel

Courtesy 532 Gallery Thomas Jaeckel

And Salsa. The cultural fusion that has powered New York salsa music from the 1960s to the present moment is explored in Rhythm & Power: Salsa in New York, opening June 14 at the Museum of the City of New York. The show makes connections between the music and the social activism of the city’s Caribbean communities, notably Cuban and Puerto Rican. Loaded with audio and video clips, the show also features album covers, dance costumes, musical instruments, and more.

Rhythm & Power: Salsa in New York at MCNY

Courtesy the Museum of the City of New York

CINTAS Awards now open to artists on the Island—but hurry. The CINTAS Foundation recently announced that its fellowship program is now accepting applications from Cuban artists living in Cuba. As reported in El Nuevo Herald, the decision has generated some controversy in the Cuban creative community living outside the island. Read the Nuevo Herald interview (in Spanish) with Cintas president Victor Deupi here.

The foundation is offering three fellowships this year, each awarding $20,000, in the visual arts, architecture and design, and music composition. All applications are due June 1. Access application guidelines for visual arts here; for architecture and design here; and for music composition here.

Congratulations on CIFO. Belated congratulations to Celia-Yunior, who were selected this spring for the CIFO Grants & Commissions Program in the emerging artists category. Awardees participate in an exhibition at the CIFO Art Space, Miami. The 2016 exhibition, Liquid Sensibilities, ran September 8–­October 30 last year.

For your reading pleasure (in English). On the website Cuba Counterpoints, Christina García looks at the growth of Havana’s “studio-taller” alternative art scene and some of its most interesting recent exhibitions. Read it here.

And one more. On Black Perspectives, the website of the African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS), Devyn Spencer Benson looks at “Representations of Black Women in Cuba.” In English: read it here.

Elián González Documentary Opens in New York and LA. In late November 1999, a small boy was found floating in an inner tube off the coast of Florida, the only survivor of a group of Cuban refugees—including the boy’s mother—who drowned in their attempt to reach the U.S. mainland. Rescued by two fishermen, five-year-old Elián González became the focal point of competing interests over the next seven months: the boy’s father in Cuba who wanted his son returned to him and who enlisted the support of Fidel Castro; an uncle and other relatives of the father who wanted to keep the boy with them in Florida; and U.S. government representatives who attempted to broker a peaceful resolution before resorting to force to return the boy to his father.

Co-directed by Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times journalist Tim Golden and award-winning photographer Ross McDonnell, Elián compiles extensive newsreel footage documenting the increasingly tense and emotional custody battle over the boy’s fate. Also includes interviews with some of the Florida relatives, the boy’s father, U.S. and Cuban government officials, and with 23-year-old Elián himself, who recalls his memories of his experience of that time. 

Elián (2017, 108 min.) opened this past Friday at the Cinema Village in Manhattan. It is expected to open in Los Angeles this week before opening nationwide in the US. It will be broadcast on CNN later this year.