Meira Marrero and José Ángel Toirac in Havana. At Galería Habana, Mare Magnvm, Mare Nostrvmpresents recent work by the artmaking duo Meira & Toirac (also known as Toirac & Marrero). Taking up themes of the island, the sea, and the sun, the show includes small watercolor landscapes and other works. The show opened last week and runs through January 10.
Servando Cabrera at the Biblioteca Nacional.The year 2013 is the 90th anniversary of the artist’s birth, and it’s ending with another salute: a show of Cabrera Moreno’s erotic oil paintings in the El Reino de este mundo gallery of the José Martí National Library of Cuba in Havana. With this exhibition, the Casa del Festival Internacional del Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano—sponsors of the Havana Film Festival—have joined forces with the Servando Cabrera Moreno Museum and Library in an homage to both the artist and his close friend, the late Alfredo Guevara, a leader in the Cuban film industry for many years. In addition to 19 paintings spanning the years 1970-81—some of which have never been shown—the exhibition also features documents relating to Cabrera and Guevara from the archives of the Biblioteca Nacional. La fuente de la vida: Óleos eróticos de Servando Cabrera opened last week and will remain on view through December 14.
African Roots/Raíces Africanos at Cuban Art Space. This group show in Manhattan’s Chelsea district features 100 works by some 20 artists, which explore the African roots of Cuban culture. Artists on view include Choco, Manuel Mendive, Ibrahim Miranda, René Peña, and Clara Morera, whose work is making its first appearance at CAS. The show runs through January 11.
And African Roots/Raíces Africanos for 2014. The Center for Cuban Studies’ 2014 calendar reflects the theme of the exhibition, with a work by Belkis Ayón featured on the cover. Pick one up when you see the show, or order online at the CAS website.
Tania Bruguera in the Netherlands. On December 7, the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven opens The Museum of Arte Útil, a project by Tania Bruguera that analyzes the use value and social function of art. Through a collaborative working process involving artists, architects, designers, theorists, and other participants, The Museum of Arte Útil re-envisions the museum as a “Social Power Plant” and art as a pursuit that brings beneficial results to large numbers of people. The core of the project is an open archive of more than 200 case studies of arte útil (which roughly translates as “useful art”) gathered over the past two years, including some that will be reactivated for the exhibition.
Several additional Arte Útil projects will also take place at the museum, including the Honest Shop, a museum store in collaboration with the UK organization Grizedale Arts, intended to encourage local production and creativity; and Light Therapy by Slovenian artist Apolonija Šušteršič, in which the benefits of light in combating mild winter depression are combined with social interaction. The Museum of Arte Útil runs through March 30.
Garaicoa in Munich. Carlos Garaicoa continues his insightful exploration of the banking industry and the connections between architecture and power—this time with a German flavor, in Wer Im Glashaus Sitzt… / If You Have a Glass House…, a solo show at Barbara Gross Galerie in Munich. As in his recent show in Buenos Aires, Garaicoa presents a gemlike gold miniature of the country’s central bank building—in this case, the German Federal Bank’s headquarters in Frankfurt. Portfolio consists of thin sheets of gold, each associated with a country—Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy, among others—that has seen popular protests in response to its economic crisis, with a word commonly used by the protesters there delicately embedded in the gold.
A model of Munich’s Haus der Kunst—made of transparent glass, not solid stone—offers a different take on the building’s National Socialist aesthetic, while evoking the smashed shop windows that heralded the persecution of Jews in Germany. Another work, The serial killer book shelf, gathers writings by ideological figures that have been found in the collections of serial killers, with cast bronze bookends inspired by athletes in Leni Riefenstahl’s two-part 1938 documentary Olympia. On view through January 11.
Glauber Ballestero in Madrid. The Raymaluz Art Gallery in Madrid is presenting Amava Linaje—Appaloosa, recent paintings by Glauber Ballestero (Havana, 1977). Following last year’s solo show at the gallery, Ballestero here pursues a thematic obsession, often depicting people of the white (Caucasian) race. Photographic images are reinterpreted in painting, then photographed and encapsulated in a transparent resin, creating a milky scrim over the images and introducing a dialogue between painting and photography. The exhibition runs through February 2014.
Ricardo Brey in Miami. At Pan American Art Projects, FOR ONE NIGHT ONLY presents works by the noted artist of the 1980s Volumen Uno generation. Encompassing works from different periods and in different media, including two site-specific pieces, FOR ONE NIGHT ONLY is Brey’s first solo gallery show in the U.S. “I think it’s an exhibition that validates the idea of cyclic work that has always fascinated me,” the artist says in a gallery statement, “in which a ‘filo de tempore’ can build a bridge spanning 20 years of exploration, not thinking as a unity but as a multiplicity of visions.” FOR ONE NIGHT ONLY opens Friday, December 6 with a reception at 6 p.m., which Brey will attend. The show runs through February 1.
Pedro Vizcaíno in Miami. Since his student days at the Instituto Superior de Artes in Havana, an unpredictable wild streak has been essential to Pedro Vizcaíno’s art. It doesn’t look as if time has mellowed his manic sensibility, either. Opening this Saturday, November 30, Vizcaíno’s solo show La pesadilla (The Nightmare) takes viewers on a rambunctious, underground comics-inspired journey through an urban wilderness teeming with rabbit-headed monsters, fallen angels, and the like. The opening night reception starts at 7 p.m. at Art@Work gallery, where the show runs through February 2.
Hilario Candela in Coral Gables. In an Update column last month we shared the news of an exhibition at the Coral Gables Museum, curated by art and architecture conservationist Rosa Lowinger, which spotlights Miami’s now-derelict Marine Stadium. Now, a companion exhibition casts an appreciative eye on the career of the stadium’s creator. Hilario F. Candela: The Culture of Architecture showcases a number of his firm’s projects in the South Florida area. Like the Miami Marine Stadium, Candela’s other buildings pioneered new responses to the climate, the changing culture of the region, and the range of materials and construction methods that became available from the 1960s through the 1990s. The exhibition opens Friday, December 6 and runs through February 2. Concrete Paradise, the exhibition about the Miami Marine Stadium, runs through January 5.
Cubans in Paris, Cubans at Home—in Reston, VA and NYC. In the 1920s and ’30s, Cuban music found a second home in Paris, where it was warmly welcomed in cafes, nightclubs, theaters, and concert halls. This season, the New York Festival of Song (NYFOS), under the leadership of Steven Blier, artistic director, and Michael Barrett, associate artistic director, is presenting a program of Cuban music from this era.
Says Blier: “It has been a joy to return to the popular song of Cuba in all its facets—son, trova, tumbao, criolla, habanera, canción romántica—irresistible music ripe for rediscovery by American audiences. We’ll also hear how the Afro-Cuban sound extended into the concert hall, with three vivid art songs by the great Alejandro García Caturla. Of course, Havana’s theaters also vibrated to the Cuban beat, with zarzuelas by Lecuona and Grenet. The program focuses on Cuban musicians who worked in Paris—beginning with 19th-century icon José White, who taught at the Conservatoire and was admired by Rossini. Almost all of our composers spent time in the City of Light, and one of them—Moisés Simons—wrote a zippy Cuban-French operetta called Toi C’est Moi. We’ll sample four numbers from that very rare work.”
Cubans in Paris, Cubans at Home debuts next Tuesday, December 3, in a preview performance in Reston, Virginia, in the Washington, DC area. A concert in Manhattan follows on Thursday evening, December 5. For details on both performances, check the NYFOS website.
Strawberry and Chocolate Goes Off-Broadway. It’s been 20 years since Tomás Gutiérrez Alea and Juan Carlos Tabio’s film became an international hit. The movie was adapted from a three-character play by Cuban writer Senel Paz. Now, the original play—in a new translation by Eugene Nuñez—makes its English-language debut in the theater district. Directed by Tony Award winner Roger Robinson, the cast includes Roy Arias, A. J. Cedeño, and Andhy Mendez. The show opened earlier this month and runs through December 29.
Research Fellowships in Miami. The Cuban Heritage Collection at the University of Miami Libraries offers fellowships for students and scholars looking to do research in the collection. Three categories of fellowships are offered: Graduate Research, Graduate Pre-Prospectus Summer Fellowships, and Arts in the Cuban Republic. Applications are due by Saturday, February 1. For more information, visit the Cuban Heritage Collection website.