Cutting Edge Contemporary Cuban Art Comes to the Ringling
Oct. 6 – Dec. 30, 2007
Sarasota, FL—July 26, 2007 – A powerful and vibrant contemporary art exhibition, Cuba Avant-Garde: Contemporary Cuban Art from the Farber Collection, will be on display at The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Oct. 6—Dec. 30, 2007 in the new Ulla R. and Arthur F. Searing Wing. Its arrival marks the beginning of a commitment to offer more contemporary art to visitors to the Ringling estate.
“The longstanding and intimate relationship that Florida has with Cuba and her people imparts particular relevance to this exhibition,” says Dr. Stephen Borys, Ulla R. Searing Curator of Collections at the Ringling Museum. “The multifaceted and challenging works by native artists living in and outside of Cuba stand as testimony to this country’s unique and dynamic contribution to the international arena of contemporary art.”
Comprising 56 works by 40 Cuban-born artists, this exhibition draws entirely from the collection of Howard Farber, and demonstrates the diversity of Cuban art in the past quarter century. The presentation includes a wide variety of media, including paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, sculptures, mixed media, and installations.
Featured artist’s such as Eduardo Hernández, Fernando Rodriguez, Tonel, José Bedia, María Magdalena Campos-Pons, and Belkis Ayón Manso interpret a matrix of personal, national, artistic, and civic identities.
Cuba Avant-Garde is rooted in Cuba’s geographical, historical, political and social environments and the dynamic interplay between them is a major theme throughout the exhibition. Cuba became a major player in the international art arena in 1984 with the success of the first Havana Biennial festival. Since then, Cuba’s art environment has been characterized by cyclic periods of growth and stagnation and serves as a context in which to view the exhibition.
Cuba’s art environment suffered setbacks in the late 1980’s as artists left Cuba in mass as economic pressures and government regulations stifled art making. Gustavo Acosta’s haunting painting, Urbis et Orbi, represents the fall and marks the period.
An artistic resurgence began in the mid 1990’s and continues today and addresses broader global and human condition themes. Se acabó la Guerra Fria, by Abel Barroso, synthesizes elements of mass marketing and the war on terror in a sculpture of a plane crashing into the World Trade Center towers.
Cuba Avant-Garde was organized by the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art at the University of Florida in Gainesville and curated by the Harn’s curator of contemporary art, Kerry Oliver-Smith. The exhibition is accompanied by a 188-page bi-lingual English/Spanish book of the same name, published by the Harn Museum of Art. The Harn Museum boasts an impressive collection of African, Asian, Modern and Contemporary Art and Photography.
This exhibition is funded, in part, by the Sarasota County Arts Council, the Tourist Development Council, and the Sarasota Board of County Commissioners.