A Selection of Our Past Stories
Last June, during the first Bienal del Diseño La Habana, the New York-based organization EcoArt Project announced “the first eco-sustainable furniture and lighting design competition in Cuba.” Now it’s showing off its finalists in a Design Week exhibition. And one of them will be headed to Italy.
The Kremlin faces off against the White House, the lines form at MoMA, and a historical center of US slavery contemplates Afro-Cuban history. A master printmaker’s retrospective arrives in the US heartland, and a conceptual photographer journeys deeper into assemblage.
In 1968, Cuban movie screens were shaken by a black-and-white feature film with a singular title: Memorias del Subdesarollo (Memories of Underdevelopment). Although its director, Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, set the drama in the time between the disastrous Bays of Pigs invasion in 1961 and the missile crisis the following year, the film was not a propagandistic paean to the virtues of the Cuban Revolution. Its main character was a wealthy bourgeois who stays behind when his family leaves for the US; film’s images were contradictory, with nothing idealized. Forty years later, the young Cuban filmmaker Miguel Coyula rescued Edmundo Desnoes, the exiled scriptwriter of the original film. In New York, they began working on his next project: Memorias del Desarrollo (Memories of Overdevelopment). The blog CINE CUBANO: La Pupila Insomne (CUBAN CINEMA: The Imsomniac Eye) by Cuban film historian Juan Antonio Borrero published a substantial interview with this independent filmmaker.
Taking a line from a Zen koan as her title and starting point, Elvia Rosa Castro reflects on the art of Enrique Martínez Celaya, “a Renaissance man with a fractured identity.”
With Wifredo Lam and Tomás Sánchez leading the pack as usual, a number of Cuban artists made a strong showing in an auction week dominated by the sale of the Lorenzo H. Zambrano collection.
Tomorrow night, the Cuban comedy-horror film Juan of the Dead makes its Florida debut at the Miami Film Festival. The hottest ticket of the festival, it sold out its initial 1,700-seat screening weeks in advance, and more screenings have been added. Cuban Art News caught up with the film’s director, Alejandro Brugués, and producer Inti Herrera for a lengthy conversation about independent film production on the island, the zombie-film genre, and the making of Juan of the Dead.
Tamara Campo opens a solo show in Havana, the new Rafael Soriano retrospective opens in Boston, and Juan Roberto Diago and Ana Mendieta are showcased at Harvard. María Elena González and Yoan Capote open solo shows in New York galleries, and the Whitney’s Carmen Herrera exhibition moves on to Ohio.
Cinema may be an art, but it’s also big business. Jesús Hernández, the ISA-educated producer and promoter behind New York’s Bach Media, talks about the nuts and bolts of Cuban film production with Lidia Hernández Tapia—from Hollywood’s Fate of the Furious to the infrastructure needed for filmmaking on the island to thrive.
Opening this Saturday, an ambitious group show examines the role that architecture plays in the work of more than 50 contemporary artists. Here’s a preview of some of the works in the show.