Closing the Eyes and Remembering…

For the critics and the historiography of art the Twelfth Havana Biennial does not go unnoticed (are we satisfied with that?), although the confusion on what is or is not part of the main exhibition will probably be expressed on how we will see it in the future. From our pages we have wanted to offer a sort of a posteriori map, some keys to understand the event which will compel all those who were in Havana, between May 22 and June 22, to close our eyes, put together the suggested sequence, and look a little further from the first impression.

And it is not precisely because a large part of the first impressions have not been positive, even on the long run, after weighing them up. It was revealing for many to enter the halls that the National Museum of Fine Arts gived to the exhibition Tramas, by Gustavo Pérez Monzón. It was impressive, in the Center for the Development of Visual Arts, to find a high voltage tower which apparently worked, perfectly overlapping the walls, as if the building had been built around it, from it, knowing that this undertaking was possible because of the boldness we had been able to identify in other occasions with the young artist Humberto Díaz. And this is applied to a considerable number of proposals by Cuban artists and of the entire world who in those days invaded the city.

As to the audience, it should be remarked that a significant number of visitors arrived in Havana with the first purpose of adding themselves to the celebration.

We are all the time celebrating in this city but, during the Biennial, the pace became frenzied. A proposal that categorically linked art with audience was Detrás del Muro (Behind the Wall), naturally since in the privileged place in which the works were located, because of their own characteristics—the strollers interacted with them almost insistently and even damaging them—and also

because of the support offered by the Ministry of Culture, with the purpose of making the Biennial “attainable” for the general public. Although the Biennial took a meaningful part of our attention in these months, we could not overlook that Carmen Herrera arrived to her hundred years with total lucidity and commitment with her work, with all the eyes focused in her oeuvre. In fact, for 2016 the Whitney Museum of American Art has programmed a retrospective exhibition of her work, a moment which Art OnCuba will wait for going over her poetics.

As usual, a journey through a group of exhibitions completes the view of Cuban art in these times: among others, Segundo Planes establishing himself even more in the Mexican circuit; Florencio Gelabert offering us that other face of the sculpture which, when writing the story of this time, is singular and timely; a curatorial project by Sergio López that had the city as an axis.

Following the track of the effects that the changes on the Cuba-United States relationship are having in Cuban contemporary art, we decided to include in this edition an interview with Holly Block, director of the Bronx Museum of the Arts, an institution that, in collaboration with the National Museum of Fine Arts, inaugurated, during the Havana Biennial, an exhibition showing part of her collection and, in the next year, will hold a Cuban art expo in New York. Also, in a parallel universe, that of galleries, a very prestigious space in Chelsea, Robert Miller Gallery, will open in September the exhibition Nuevos Colores (New Colors) with fifteen Cuban artists of various generations. To know some details, we publish a revealing interview with Betsy Witterborn Miller, its director. We hope you appreciate this new selection on Cuban Contemporary Art.

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  • Editor in Chief / Publisher

    HUGO CANCIO

  • Executive Director

    ARIEL MACHADO

  • Executive Managing Editor

    TAHIMI ARBOLEYA

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    LLILIAN LLANES

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    DEBORAH DE LA PAZ

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    VÍCTOR MANUEL CABRERA MUÑIZ

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    MARÍA TERESA ORTEGA

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    YAMILÉ TABÍO

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    HAI FAJARDO

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    MARILYN PAYROL

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