MINORITY REPORT

Art On Cuba - - Front Page - LLILIAN LLANES & DEBORAH DE LA PAZ

So­cial groups talk­ing from the mar­gins, speeches tak­ing up a stance, voices be­gin­ning to be heard, oth­ers that wane, at times or for­ever. The eter­nal IN-OUT move­ment. The dy­nam­ics of ev­ery stage marked by hege­monic nar­ra­tions and by al­ter­na­tive ones, and the suc­ces­sive ex­changes tak­ing place among them. His­tory, all in all.

His­tory of art has also been writ­ten in these terms. And al­though cen­ter­pe­riph­ery di­chotomy is to­day rather in dis­use, shelved be­hind other con­cepts that, un­der the light of the­ory, bet­ter iden­tify the signs of what is con­tem­po­rary, it is still ap­pli­ca­ble to talk about what is hap­pen­ing to­day in vis­ual arts.

Al­though ap­plied in ways that, for many, are very con­tro­ver­sial.

Be­cause the truth is that mi­nori­ties and their speeches be­gin to fit into the hege­monic dis­course: what is of­fi­cially IN can be just what is or was con­sid­ered al­ter­na­tive or dif­fer­ent, what is res­cued from the mar­gins. There­fore, now we al­most never talk of the pe­riph­ery, but of an ex­panded cen­ter con­tin­u­ally chang­ing its fo­cus of at­ten­tion. The at times showy and com­pli­cated dy­nam­ics of the world of art to­day lies in these move­ments. The trends are tran­sient.

The cer­tain­ties, ephemeral. Only the eye of the cu­ra­tor, the critic or the ed­i­tor are there to iden­tify some­thing that is a trend in it­self, whether com­ing from one or an­other source, whether be­ing or not un­der the spot­light in that minute.

But things be­ing this way to­day does not deny his­tory. And this is­sue of Art OnCuba pre­cisely looks at ar­eas long ago dis­placed from the cen­ter, high­light­ing how prej­u­dices have fallen for some who, with a larger star or be­cause of an in­tense and con­tin­ued pro­mo­tion ac­tiv­ity, but above all from a lan­guage over­com­ing the bar­ri­ers im­posed by gen­der, or by a de­vel­oped man­i­fes­ta­tion, have been seen and ac­cepted even by the most ret­ro­gres­sive dic­ta­tors of trends.

A group of women artists from all gen­er­a­tions, whose cre­ation has de­vel­oped in the most di­verse en­vi­ron­ments, took the paths their time and cir­cum­stances have traced out and that they have mod­i­fied in their own way, from the strength of their art: Mimin Bac­ardí, María Brito, Con­suelo Cas­tañeda, Lidzie Alvisa, Cire­naica Mor­eira, Yamilis Brito, Ma­bel Poblet, Tere­sita Fernán­dez… A pos­si­ble panorama, with some un­avoid­able ab­sences the read­ers may com­plete with for­mer and next edi­tions.

The marginal­ized trade of en­grav­ing, whose pre­tended lim­its have been un­der­mined since the nineties by some of the more sin­gu­lar voices in con­tem­po­rary Cuban art, is also in­cluded. Even a col­lec­tion of en­grav­ings that, with­out an ex­ces­sive fuss or pro­mo­tional dis­play, are in con­tin­ued move­ment in Euro­pean mu­se­ums and gal­leries, ac­tively con­tribut­ing to the knowl­edge of Cuban vis­ual cre­ation. This group of works be­longs to the Sch­nei­ders, whom Peter Lud­wig brought with him to Cuba.

As in other oc­ca­sions, the open­ing of sev­eral ex­hi­bi­tions has been used to lis­ten to the ideas gen­er­ated in in­tel­li­gent spec­ta­tors. That was how we cel­e­brated Cundo Ber­múdez cen­ten­nial, pro­posed a view on Wifredo Lam’s oeu­vre through the McMullen Art Mu­seum show, and en­tered into an in­tel­li­gent re­view on the most re­cent edi­tion of the Con­tem­po­rary Cuban Art Salon.

The pur­pose is, once more, to res­cue mem­ory and avoid obliv­ion.

As is usual in our mag­a­zine, we have in­cluded ex­pe­ri­enced crit­ics to­gether with some younger ones, whose ideas con­trib­ute to en­rich the sys­tem of in­ter­pre­ta­tion and ap­praisal of Cuban art yes­ter­day and to­day, in­clud­ing among them voices of writ­ers and artists.

Para­dox­i­cally, our minority report on Cuban art for this De­cem­ber edi­tion has the priv­i­lege of be­ing in one of the grav­i­ta­tional cen­ters of con­tem­po­rary art: Art Basel Mi­ami Beach.

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