She is not as daft as she seems

/ 1 June, 2015

An Interview with Nina Menocal


(…)Whether because of a sense of mission, or a whim, or an enthusiastic embrace of nationalism, or sheer vanity, Nina Menocalnow has become part of the history of Cuban art. Her gallery was one of the outlets enabling some of the great artists of the so-called Eighties Generation to leave Cuba at a time when the dialogue between art and institution had become sterile. (…)

I arrived in Cuba that same month, January 1989, for the second time since 1959. My cousin FichúMenocal introduced me to some of the artists of the Eighties Generation. Unlike most of our family, Fichú never left after the Revolution so she was allowed to keep her mansion in El Vedado neighborhood. She turned the servants quarters into spaces for the artists to work. I then promised Arturo Cuenca and Tomás Sánchez that I would be back to get them… and I did. In May of that same year, (…) we organized an individual exhibition for Cuenca at the National Auditorium. We did likewise for Tomás Sánchez in November at the Arvil Gallery in Mexico City.

(…)In May 1990, I opened a gallery (…), it was the first and only commercial gallery in the world dedicated to Cuban art. (…)

Since then the main attraction of Ninart-Havana (which is how the branch of the gallery that does projects in Cuba is called) is that we take collectors to artist studios; thus, clients negotiate directly with the artists and they pay Ninart-Havana only 10 percent of the negotiated price. It’s a win-win for all: clients, artists, and the gallery. (…)

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