I shall begin by highlighting that most of the Cuban artists in the exhibition Artists in purgatory: Cuban Artists in the Reynardus Collection, presently live in Miami, the reason why that city was selected to venue the exhibition, together with the presentation of the equally entitled book, that gathers the trajectory of the collection and the creators in and outside Cuba, before and after, also including artists that live in other latitudes. This has been possible thanks to the Kendall Art Center (KAC), a Miami institution that emerged from the personal collection of its founder Leonardo Rodríguez, who made available to Mr. Jorge Reynardus the modern and wide halls of this facility (…).
This collection emerged in recent decades, when Reynardus was a successful New York publicist, witnessing the hard time of many of his compatriots seeking new horizons in the United States. He had experienced the difficulties of this exodus; born in Panama, raised in Cuba, he overcame an infinity of obstacles until he graduated from Harvard. Aware of his civic commitment and his ability to help, he started purchasing products from his compatriots—he considers himself 100% Cuban—first as a palliative and advertisement, until becoming a passion. Carlos Cárdenas, born in Pinar del Río, supported the consolidation of this collection, someone who knew well what it was like to be stuck in limbo, lone some in a studio Union City, when the cold temperatures are most severe in New Jersey and the Big Apple.
Carlos Cárdenas introduced Reynardus and the artist and writer Aldo Menéndez, who led him to the work of new candidates that ended up in his compilation. Likewise, Menéndez put together the book, now published in English by Artium Publishing. This work of advertisement is part of the work of The Cuban Art Alliance, a permanent support institution created by Reynardus led by artist Rubén Mendoza.
The exhibition shows only part of the collection, but in the book, we can see a reproduction of all pieces: paintings, sculptures and photographs. Newly attained pieces will appear in the version published in Spanish.
It is a luxurious volume, including 342 pages of essays conceived from differentiated views and criteria, sometimes counterpoised, with new thesis and polemics from well know critics and gallery owners: Ricardo Pau–Llosa, Janet Batet, Gerardo Mosquera, Nina Menocal, Dennys Matos and Aldo Menéndez. The book includes an analysis of five Cuban artists interviewed by the academician from Michigan University and sociologist Silvia Pedraza about the process of leaving Cuba and adapting to a different culture. All articles are illustrated with pictures and new materials of great historic value, provided by the artists. (…)