Tonel, Cumbres del arte (The Summits of Art), 1984-85

Beginning Thursday, April 28, and running through Thursday, June 9, the Center for Cuban Studies in New York City is presenting a series of talks by scholars and curators on contemporary Cuban art. Speakers in the four-part series include collector and print publisher Alex Rosenberg, artists Tonel and Ernesto Oroza, Bronx Museum of the Arts director and curator Holly Block, and Cuban curator/critic Lourdes Socarrás.

The program is supported by The Howard & Patricia Farber Foundation, the sponsoring organization for Cuban Art News.

Alex Rosenberg, president of Alex Rosenberg Fine Art, opens the series with a discussion of “Collecting Art and Printmaking in Cuba.” In 1968, Rosenberg established Transworld Art, which published original prints, portfolios, and multiples, and his current company, Alex Rosenberg Fine Art, offers works by an international roster of artists. Rosenberg is a visiting professor of fine art at the Instituto Superior de Arte (ISA) in Havana, and the Alex and Carole Rosenberg collection includes works by many Cuban artists.

On Wednesday, May 4, internationally acclaimed artists Antonio Eligio Fernández (Tonel) and Ernesto Oroza will talk about “Objects of Necessity and Their Incarnations in Cuban Art and Culture: From the street to the gallery and vice-versa.” The multifaceted Tonel is an artist, art critic, and curator. Born in Havana, he now lives and teaches in Vancouver, B.C. His works are in the permanent collection of the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Havana, as well as in major museums in the U.S., China, Germany, the Netherlands, and elsewhere. He has taught at Stanford University and at the University of British Columbia, and has tutored students at the ISA. He is the author of many articles and essays on contemporary Cuban art.

Ernesto Oroza is an interdisciplinary artist and designer whose work focuses on conceptual design and architecture. Born in Cuba, he now lives in Aventura, Florida. He graduated in Industrial Design from the Instituto Superior de Diseño (Higher Institute of Design) in Havana and holds a Certificate in Graphic Design from the Instituto Politécnico de Diseño (Polytechnic Institute of Design), also in Havana, where he has taught for several years. His work has been exhibited in museums, galleries, and cultural spaces in Paris, Montreal, New York, Miami, Spain, and the Netherlands, among others.

Continuing the series on Thursday, May 24, Holly Block, director of the Bronx Museum of the Arts, will speak on “Contemporary Cuban Art and the Bronx Museum Collection.” Prior to her appointment as director of the Bronx Museum in 2006, Block was the longstanding executive director of Art in General, a leading nonprofit arts organization in the field of commissioning and presenting contemporary art. Block is the author of Art Cuba: The New Generation, a comprehensive survey on contemporary art from Cuba. She curated todo clandestino, todo popular (2005), the first solo exhibition of Alberto Casado, an artist who lives and works in Cuba. Through June 6, the Bronx Museum is presenting an installation by Cuban artist Alexandre Arrechea.

The lecture series concludes on Thursday, June 9, when curator and critic Lourdes Socarrás will discuss “Cuban Photography from the Epic to the Conceptual.” From 2000 to 2010, Ms. Socarrás was Director of the Fototeca de Cuba, an organization created to preserve, study, and promote the country’s photographic heritage. Prior to that, she was director of the Concha Ferrant Art Gallery in Havana, where she lives. Ms. Socarrás has curated a number of exhibitions of works by Cuban photographers in Cuba and abroad, including the photo essay Así son los cubanos (2007) by Roberto Salas.

All programs in “Talking About Contemporary Cuban Art” are free and open to the public, but RSVPs are required. Reserve by phone at 212.242.0559 or via e-mail to

The Center for Cuban Studies is located at 231 West 29 Street, 4th floor, in Manhattan.