Art Cuba: The New Generation

By Holly Block; Cola Franzen et al. | Go to book overview


A project of this scale required much support and generosity from many people, including friends and colleagues from New York City, Miami, Cuba, and elsewhere. I was embraced by the Cuban arts community, which extends well beyond the artists in this book. My selection of sixty-seven artists should be only the beginning of a series of long discussions between the cultural communities of Cuba and the United States. I am particularly grateful to the contributing artists and the writers who devoted many hours to this book: Eugenio Valdés Figueroa, Orlando Hernández, Gerardo Mosquero, Antonio Eligio (Tonel), and the authors of the chronology, written in 1997 by Eduardo Aparicio and Ernesto Pujol and in 2000 added to by Glenda León. In addition, I would like to thank Glenda León for compiling many of the artists' biographies and assisting me in Cuba with the research for this book.

I am indebted to Clayton Miller, photographer and friend, who made multiple trips with me to Cuba to photograph most of the artwork. His ability to adjust to changing conditions and the ingenuity he demonstrated in converting any available room into a photographic studio were extraordinary. The Cuban photographer Eddy A. Garaicoa not only took most of the artists' portraits and photographed some of the artwork but also served as an assistant to Miller as well.

In Cuba, Helmo Hernández, president, and Wifredo Benítez, manager, of the Fundación Ludwig de Cuba, an independent cultural institution founded by the late art patron Peter Ludwig, now in its fifth year, sponsored my project by securing permission for me to do further research on contemporary art on the island. The Fundación supported my visa through the Ministry of Culture and initiated many important introductions that enabled this book to happen quickly. Their assistance included setting up studio visits with artists and meetings with curators and writers, and they introduced me to many important figures in the arts, such as Rafael Acosta, president of the Consejo Nacional de las Artes Plásticas, and many others. They also facilitated my invitation to a state dinner with Fidel Castro, when I spoke at a Cultural Congress.

The Fundación also arranged for me to study Cuban art history and architecture with Pilar Fernóndez, former director of the Museo Nacional. The Fundación's staff gave me great support throughout my visits, particularly Raul Caneino, José Miguel Fernández, Elvis Fuentes, Cristina González, Marilin González, Sara Lucas, Luisa Marisy, Ada Pérez, Rosana Pérez, Rayza Rojas, Fernando Saez, Frank Vega, and Yuneikis Villalonga.

The U.S. Interests Section in Cuba supported my project on many occasions. Over the years, I have worked with Michael G. Kozak, former director; Douglas Barnes, former public affairs officer; Vicki Huddleston, current director; Lawrence N. Corwin, public affairs officer; Myrna Quinones, cultural specialist; Nilda Carreras, secretary; and Otmara Ramírez, coordinator of the Information Resource Center.

I've benefited from a great community of friends, artists, and art professionals from such a close but distant place as Cuba. I am grateful for their encouragement, support, and efforts: Pedro Álvarez, Damian Aquiles, Abel Barroso, Tania Bruguera, Los Carpinteros ( Marco Antonio Castillo, Alexandre Arrechea Zambrano, Dagoberto Rodríguez Sánchez), Julio Armas Femenías, José A. Figueroa, Gabinete Ordo Amoris, Carlos Garaicoa, Luis Gómez, Erena Hernández, Jorge Luis López, Mahe Marty, Rosario Esteva Morales, Dannys Montes de Oca, Rolando Milian, America Milo, Manuel Piña, Liane Ramos, Sandra Ramos, René Francisco Rodríguez, Pamela Ruiz, Will Stebbins, José Ángel Toirac, and Kerstin Zurbrigg.

I also received support from cultural institutions and galleries in Cuba. At the Centro Wifredo Lam, the following people were invaluable: Dr. Lillian Llanes, former director; Nelson Herrera Ysla, current director; curators Hilda Maria Rodríguez, Magda I. González-Mora, Ibis Hernández Abascal, and Lourdes Castillo González; and Heidy Rodríguez and Dayamick Cisneros, librarians. I would also like to thank Margarita González Lorente, director, and Verna Enriquez, Centro de Desarrollo de las Artes Visuales; Debra Bruguera, Casa de las Americas; Iliana Cepero, Fototeca; Dalia González and Alain Michel Sosa, Galería Habana; and Cristina Vives, Havana.

In the U.S. and Canada, I would like to thank the following individuals.They include Karni Dorell, Rochelle Feinstein, Skowmon Hastanan, Betti-Sue Hertz, Michael Goodman, Carey Lovelace, John M. Morton, Carole and Alex Rosenberg, and Dauna Williams. Art galleries and institutions include Sandra Levinson of the Center for Cuban Studies, Barbara Gladstone Gallery, Galerie Lelong, LiebmanMagnan Gallery, Throckmorton Gallery in New York, Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, Vancouver, Canada, Lisa Sette Gallery, Scottsdale, Arizona, and the Amagansett Free Library, Long Island. At Art in General, I would like to thank my staff for their endurance, including Catherine Ruello, director of programs; Anthony Meyers, special events coordinator; Elizabeth Tennenbaum, former executive assistant; Corrine Doron, current executive assistant; the board of directors; and, most of all, two friends and founding members of Art in General, Martin Weinstein and Teresa Lizska.

At Harry N. Abrams, Inc., I would like to thank Paul Gottlieb, publisher, who supported this project, and I thank the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture through which I met Mr. Gottlieb; Margaret A. Kaplan, senior vice president, and Nicole Columbus, associate editor, for their patience in the preparation of this book.

Lastly, I would like to thank members of my family, most significantly my husband, artist John D. Morton, who accompanied me to Cuba and acknowledged the demands of my research, thus making this book a priority in our lives. Others in my family who supported me in this endeavor were my parents Cielle, Harvey, and Peggy, brothers Eben and Charlie, sister-in-law Wendy, and my niece and nephew, Sydney and Aidan, who undoubtedly will visit Cuba freely in the near future.


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Art Cuba: The New Generation
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 5
  • Introduction - Remembering Why 7
  • New Cuban Art Y2k 12
  • Notes 16
  • Notes 23
  • The Pleasure of Reference 24
  • Culture and Society in the Work of Cuban Artists 30
  • Notes 35
  • Plates 37
  • The Artists 149
  • Selected Chronology and Exhibition History: Cuban Art Since the Revolution 160
  • Selected Bibliography 168
  • Index 169
  • Acknowledgments 173
  • Credits 174


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