Wednesday April 23, 2014

Update: Abstraction in Miami, Neo-Figuration in Havana, and Bedia at MAM

Raúl Martínez, Untitled, 1958

Courtesy Pan American Art Projects

Cuban Abstractionists in Miami. At Pan American Art Projects, the current exhibitions throw a welcome spotlight on Cuban abstract art of the 1950s and 1960s. Abstraction in Cuba: Guido Llinás, Raúl Martínez and Loló Soldevilla features works by two members of the pioneering abstract art group Los Once (The Eleven), Llinás and Martínez, along with Soldevilla, a member of the later group Diez Pintores Concretos (Ten Concrete Painters). The exhibition offers a rare opportunity to view the richly layered brushwork of Martínez, who later gained international attention for his work in a Pop Art-influenced style, and that of Soldevilla, who has lately become something of an art-world rediscovery. A smaller exhibition in the project room showcases the work of Raul Milián, whose intimate compositions took Cuban abstraction in a different direction. On view through June 2.
 
And Tomorrow, Cárdenas. Another member of Los Once (The Eleven), sculptor Agustín Cárdenas, is the focus of a solo show opening tomorrow evening at Maxoly/Latin Art Core gallery in Miami’s Little Havana district. Leaving Havana for Paris in the mid-1950s, Cárdenas was among the last artists to join the Surrealists, and his work reflects both Surrealism and his Afro-Cuban heritage. The opening runs from 6 to 9 p.m. tomorrow evening.

Latin Neo-Figuration in Havana. Abstraction may be the word in Miami, but at Casa de las Américas in Havana, the focus is neo-figurative art. This weekend, the Casa begins a yearlong look at the “New Figuration” that influenced much of Latin American and Caribbean art in the second half of the 20th century. More than 40 artists from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Spain, Guatemala, Haití, México, Perú and Uruguay are featured in the opening exhibition, along with work by Cuban artists Ángel Acosta León, Antonia Eiriz, and Umberto Peña. Peña is also the subject of a solo exhibition in the Galería Latinoamericana. The shows open this Saturday, April 28. The Año de la Nueva Figuración runs through next March 31.

Cuba Comes to Canberra. Last week, the first full-scale exhibition of Cuban contemporary art in Australia opened in the national capital of Canberra. Made in Cuba: Contemporary Cuban Art in Australia showcases the work of six artists born in the 1940s and 1950s—including Nelson Dominguez, Ángel Ramírez, and Gilberto Frómeta—as well as Belkis Ayón (1967-1999). Presented in the public hall of the Australian High Court, the exhibition is sponsored and organized by the Cuban Embassy and runs through May 15.

Mariño Coming to NYC. More than 20 new paintings and works on paper—including a 13-foot diptych—make their public debut in Armando Mariño: Recent Paintings from the Year of the Protester. For his first solo show in New York, the artist has moved in a somewhat different direction, choosing to reflect on this past year of global change and upheaval. Reinterpreting familiar news images, Mariño poses anonymous figures against near-abstract backdrops, painted in a loose, brushy style with jolts of vivid color. At The 8th Floor gallery in Chelsea, Armando Mariño opens with a reception Wednesday evening, May 2, 6-8 p.m. (RSVP required).

And Bedia Coming to MAM. Last fall, we wrote about Transcultural Pilgrim: Three Decades of Work by José Bedia on the occasion of its Los Angeles debut. Now, the exhibition's headed for the Miami Art Museum, where it opens next month with a gala reception on Wednesday evening, May 23, 6-9 p.m. In describing the show, the Los Angeles Times wrote that “the ideas pour out in his powerful, outsize drawings, paintings and installations, which are full of references to his physical and spiritual journeys.” As one of the last exhibitions in MAM’s current building—before the museum makes the transition to its new Herzog & de Meuron-designed home in fall 2013—Transcultural Pilgrim will be on view through the summer, closing September 2.