Cuban Art & Identity: 1900-1950: An Outstanding Exhibition for the History of Cuban Art

/ 8 March, 2014

(…) This exhibition, displayed in an attractive museum with excellent spaces, Vero Beach Museum of Art, is a novel approach to the painting of the first half of the 20th century in which Martínez, with a large analytical capacity, connects by thematic associations the best in academic and vanguard art, with no detriment for any of them. (…) That was how he obtained loaned works from the New York Modern Art Museum, among them the spectacular oil painting by Fidelio Ponce Dos mujeres (Two Women), Mariano Rodr’s extremely well-known Gallo (Rooster) and Ciclón (Cyclone) by Mario Carreño, a jewel for all times.
Throughout the exhibition, Professor Martínez explored and developed four topics which are related, for academic painters – which he calls traditionalists – as well as for modern artists: the countryside, Havana interiors, religious traditions and music. It is through these topics that the curator carries out his work of integration and discloses the decisive contribution of academics as well as moderns to a definition of Cuban cultural identity (or identities).
(…) Unfortunately, the Vero Beach Museum is set in areas isolated from the noisy center of Miami and perhaps this transcendental exhibition will go by without the glories and journalistic resonance it deserves. It is a pity it will not be taken to other cities, among them Havana. The National Fine Arts Museum of Cuba would receive this sample with the respect and rejoicing a great curatorial work deserves. Anyway, the professionals of culture in Cuba cannot overlook this renewing spirit Professor Juan Martínez is regaling us to make us think once again in our complex processes of cultural identity.

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