NOT for sale
Imagine. A work has been conceived for intimacy. The artist does not want anyone to see it. He does not want nobody to express an opinion or try to unravel it. Possibly he is not sure if it is his best or his worst piece. But it lodges a mystery, a power of attraction which displaces him to a zone of delirium and egoism.
“It is mine” and, for others to understand: “it is not for sale”. It is not apt for scrutiny and not because of a lack of maturing the ideas, but because it is the essence, the core, the axis; because without it the artist would not be who he is, because all the others are excellent or not so prominent ways to reach that point, or because since that point he understands how to reach excellence.
Every author keeps for himself a work which he prefers not having to say goodbye, not even for all the gold in Peru. What would happen if we could have access to a selection of these kind of works, of a group of chosen artists?
What criteria could guide the exhibition of these pieces? What would be their fate? Would they lose their magic, their aura, that which defines them as the quintessence of the creative spirit? From this possibility multiple questionings emerge. Some tangentially related with the omnipresent art market.
The market fulfills a distinctive role in the world of contemporary art. To deny it would be absurd. And in Cuba it results as a special ingredient since the market is not managed on the established way—galleries, fairs, auctions…—although these are also present. The artist studio has become the axis of the market strategy for an entire country, and even when many artists know, respect and follow very close the international conventions, many times it is unavoidable that they create, establish and try to connect to the circuits their space of creation or exhibition in one of the cities of Cuba.
There are two levels that should coexist in art: what is private and what is public. To create for yourself or to create for others and, in last instance, for the market.
Among the artists on whom we have centered this time our focus of attention are José Ángel Vincench, Carlos García, Alejandro García and Alexandre Arrechea. This last one, with a new pubic intervention in great scale who again arouses a wide polemic and social acknowledgement.
A book on the murals in Cuba, produced in digital format by Ediciones Boloña, Havana, turns out indispensable for the approach to this topic because of its extensive historical and geographical panning. The work by Pepe Franco in public projects in Argentina and the United States, highlights because of a display of the imaginary of the artist in great scale and an impressive technical mastership. A text on the billboards in Cuban art as a topic or a support. New approaches of
Art On Cuba to the topic of public art, which leaves pending an exploration of the initiatives emerged from the Cuban institutions in the 1980s, little studied and put into value to the present day.
Three collective exhibitions are widely reviewed in these pages. In New York, Milan and Washington three perspectives on Cuban art were exhibited pointing at different generations: Galerie Lelong, with a selection of works by Amelia Peláez, Loló Soldevilla and Zilia Sánchez, which point to a look on abstraction; the Pavilion of Contemporary Art exhibiting a group of pieces that contribute to the concept posed by the curators on how the Cuban events left an indelible mark in the corpus of world history in the 20th century; and the Art Museum of the Americas, with a study of the youngest proposals in contemporary Cuban art.
These three exhibitions that coincide in the time would be enough to confirm that we are a trending topic, that the world is deeply looking what happens with Cuban art, that what is private is increasingly more public. We will see, in the way, how the artists preserve and integrate, how they adapt.