In Concrete Cuba: Rafael Soriano, Composición, 1954
Courtesy David Zwirner Gallery

Artista x Artista in Havana—and Madrid. The Artista x Artist program welcomed its latest resident artists, the Italian collective Ornaghi & Prestinari, to Havana with a solo show of their work. After an opening last week, the exhibition may be viewed by appointment. Looking ahead, Ornaghi & Prestinari will close out their residency with a public talk about their work, scheduled for Friday, February 12 at 5:30 p.m. Later this month, Cuban artists Pedro Luis Cembranos and Belén Rodríguez begin their residencies in Madrid.

A detail of Ornaghi & Prestinari, Allineamenti (Alignments), 2015
Courtesy Artista x Artista

You + Me = Us in Havana. At its exhibition space in the Águila de Oro cinema in Havana’s Barrio Chino, Galleria Continua builds on Anclados en el territorio, its current show of Cuban artists, with You + Me = Us, a second show featuring the work of Italian artists Loris Cecchini, Giovanni Ozzola, and Ornaghi & Prestinari, this month’s artists in residence at Artista x Artista. The show, which opened this past weekend, runs through February 14, along with Anclados en el territorio.

Los Catedrales restored at MNBA. Arte por Excelencias reports that Los Carpinteros have restored Los Catedrales, a work of theirs that has stood outside the Cuban Art building of the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes since the 2005 exhibition Escultura Transeúnte. The restoration included rebuilding the work with new bricks, creating a sturdier underground foundation, and adding new lighting. In addition to renovating the work, the artist duo has donated it to the museum. Los Catedrales at the MNBA is part of an international project, with a similar work already installed in Zurich and another planned for New York.

Los Carpinteros, Catedrales, 2005, installed outside the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Havana
Courtesy Galerie Peter Kilchmann

Opening soon: Zootheby’s in Havana. At Galería Villa Manuela, Reynerio Tamayo Fonseca takes aim at the art market with a show inspired by Sotheby’s and the commercial art world in general. With customary humor, Tamayo Fonseca reflects on the shifting paradigms of art and value in connection with the Cuban art scene. The show opens Friday, January 22, with a 6 p.m. reception, and runs through February 26.

Diago in Berlin. Last month, Roberto Diago opened his first solo show in Germany. On view at Galerie Crone in Berlin, Tracing Ashes includes paintings and installations. On view through Saturday, January 23.

Exhibition view of Roberto Diago: Tracing Ashes at Crone Gallery, Berlin
Photo: Marcus Schneider, courtesy Crone Gallery

Concrete Cuba in New York. The new art season in Chelsea got off to a flying start last Thursday. Among the notable openings was Concrete Cuba—the exhibition that kicked off the fall season at David Zwirner Gallery in London—which opened at David Zwirner New York. The show spotlights artists associated with the group Los Diez Pintores Concretos, including Rafael Soriano, José Ángel Rosabal, Loló Soldevilla, and Salvador Corratgé. On view through February 20. (For photos of the opening, see the album on the Cuban Art News Facebook page.)

And Diana Fonseca QuiñonesAlso opening last Thursday at Sean Kelly, the Havana artist’s first solo exhibition in New York—in fact, her first solo exhibition anywhere outside Havana. Fonseca Quiñones recently won the 2015 EFG ArtNexus Latin America Art Award, and the paintings, sculptures, and videos on view demonstrate her flair for evocative metaphor. Among them, the desires literally stitched into her open palm in the video Pasa Tiempo, and the abstract paintings of the Degradación series, composed of paint fragments peeled from Havana buildings. The show runs through February 6. (For photos of the opening, see the album on the Cuban Art News Facebook page.)

Frame from the video Pasa Tiempo by Diana Fonseca Quiñones
Courtesy Galería Habana

Fusco, too. The Chelsea openings continued with Coco Fusco’s solo show at Alexander Gray Associates on Saturday. Mixed-media installations, performance documentation, and two decades’ worth of video are among the works on view. Recent productions on view include the 2015 videos La Confesión and La botella al mar de María Elena, which explore the work of poet Heberto Padilla and writer María Elena Cruz Varela, respectively, and their experiences of political repression. On view through February 6. (For photos of the opening, see the Fusco album on the Cuban Art News Facebook page.)

Frame from the video La Confesión, 2015, by Coco Fusco
Courtesy Alexander Gray Associates

Fors in Los Angeles. Photo-based installation artist José Manual Fors returns to Couturier Gallery for his first solo show there in 11 years: Wide Shadow, which reinterprets the gallery space in a series of installations built from small photographic fragments. On view through February 13.

José Manuel Fors, Paraguas, 2015
Courtesy Couturier Gallery

Drapetomanía coming to Philadelphia. The long-touring exhibition, curated by Alejandro de la Fuente, will open at the African American Museum in Philadelphia on January 30. (It debuted almost three years ago in Santiago de Cuba, later traveling to Havana, New York, Boston, and other US cities.) A tribute to the Afro-Cuban visual arts movement Grupo Antillano, the exhibition showcases work by the group’s original members, and by later Cuban artists who share many of their interests and concerns. This presentation will also serve as an informal memorial to Grupo Antillano founder Rafael Queneditt Morales, who died earlier this month in Havana. The show will run in Philadelphia through March 20.

Courtesy African American Museum, Philadelphia

Cuban artists headed to Portland, Oregon. One of the creative hubs of the US Northwest is welcoming several younger Cuban artists for residencies and a show spotlighting site-specific works. Artists in the exhibition include Susana Pilar Delahante Matienzo, Elizabet Cerviño, Reynier Leyva Novo, and Rafael Villares, who will arrive in Portland in mid-January. “Each artist is creating a piece for the show on site and then using some existing work,” writes Daniel Duford, associate professor of art at Reed College and one of the co-curators of the exhibition. “We really wanted the show to be an interchange between Havana and Portland and not play to existing ideas of cubanismo.”

Also in the exhibition: Adriana Arronte, who was in the Pacific Northwest in November, doing artist residencies at Reed College and at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington; and Yornel Martínez Elías, who had to forego the residency due to visa issues. Intersecciones: Havana-Portland opens Thursday, January 28 at the Ronna and Eric Hoffman Gallery of Contemporary Art at Lewis & Clark College in Portland. The reception with the artists begins at 5 p.m. that evening. A series of public conversations with the artists is scheduled, including a talk at the gallery by Susana Pilar Delahante Matienzo on Saturday, January 30, at 4 p.m. The show runs through March 13.

Cuban movie update. Films from the island are turning up on screens in New York City and around the US. This Friday evening, January 15, at 7 p.m., Esto es lo que hay (This is What It Is), a feature-length documentary about Los Aldeanos, Cuba’s leading hip-hop group, will be shown at the First Look Festival at the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens. The next night, Saturday the 16th, First Look will present La obra del siglo (The Project of the Century) at 7:30 p.m. (See the Cuban Art News interview with the film’s director, Carlos Machado Quintela, here.) Both Machado Quintela and Léa Rinaldi, director of Esto es lo que hay, will be there for their screenings and follow-up discussions.

And more on Viva–opening soon. If you’re a film fan, you’ve probably seen the news that Viva, the Cuban film that is Ireland’s entry in the Best Foreign Film Oscar category, made it onto the final list of nominees. Directed by Paddy Breathnach and starring Héctor Medina, Jorge Perugorría, and Luis Alberto García, the film opens around the US on Friday, February 5. Locations include three theaters in the Los Angeles/Hollywood area, eight around South Florida, and the Angelika Film Center in Lower Manhattan.

Héctor Medina and Jorge Perugorría in Viva

February shows. A few upcoming exhibitions for your calendar: Ana Mendieta: Experimental and Interactive Films, opening Friday, February 5 at Galerie Lelong, Chelsea . . . Aimée García, opening Saturday, February 27, at Couturier Gallery, Los Angeles . . . and Reynier Leyva Novo at Galleria Continua, San Gimignano (no date yet).

Awards for Herrera and Estévez. Last week, the College Art Association announced the winners of its 2016 CAA awards, given to writers, art historians, and artists. Among the winners: Carmen Herrera, who received the Distinguished Artist Award for Lifetime Achievement. . . . And Carlos Estévez is among the recently announced recipients of a 2015 Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors GrantFelicidades to Herrera and Estévez!


Cuban art on 2015 ‘Best of’ lists. Wrapping up 2015, Cuban art and artists hit several international ‘Best of’ lists. Leading the pack was New York Times critic Holland Cotter, who chose the Havana Biennial as his #1 “Best in Art of 2015.” . . . Arteinformado featured Los Carpinteros and Tania Bruguera on its list of the year’s Top 15 Latin American Artists. . . . and Eugenio Valdés Figueroa, director and curator of the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation (CIFO), and Madrid-based Tamara Díaz Bringas made Arteinformado’s list of Top 15 Latin American and Portuguese Curators for 2015.

Calling him “perhaps Cuba’s most sophisticated conceptualist,” Blouin Artinfo’s Mostafa Heddaya chose Wilfredo Prieto’s show at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes this past spring as one of his Best Museum Exhibitions of 2015. “Prieto amplifies but never shouts,” Heddaya wrote. “His nuances are less performed than they are simply suggested.”

Heddaya also gave honorable mentions to two Cuba-related books on his list of Must-Read Art-Related Books of 2015. “Cuban art benefitted from two important texts,” he wrote: “Coco Fusco’s Performance and Politics in Cuba (Tate) and Rachel Price’s Planet/Cuba (Verso)”—both of which, we’re happy to say, were included in our “Bookshelf” columns in September and December.