Cuban artists: The Prodigious Decade

/ 9 June, 2017

Aluna Art Foundation is pleased to announce its latest exhibit: Cuban Artists: The Prodigious Decade [1]. This curated project that takes place at the Sagamore Hotel shows-case a significant selection of historic and recent artworks centered in the production of Cuban artists from the 80’s generation, The Prodigious Decade, so named by Cuban art critic Rufo Caballero. This exhibition will carry the Sagamore’s longstanding tradition in the world of art to a new frontier by showing some of the most important Cuban Artists who pioneered Contemporary art in the island.

The curators of the show – Dr. Adriana Herrera and Willy Castellanos from Aluna Curatorial Collective, and Sebastien Laboureau, art advisor at the Sagamore Hotel – appropriated Caballero’s term because it encapsulates the spirit of a time that was crucial to the art history of the island. The exhibit shows this generation of Cuban artists who emerged through a series of ruptures that laid the groundwork for the emergence of “New Cuban Art” as Luis Camnitzer coined in his reference eponymous book. At the same time, the exhibition will give its audience an idea of how vigorous the work of this key group of Cuban artists was and continues to be, regardless of where they worked from.

The term “Prodigious Decade” is the designation given to a turning point in the history of Cuban Art. It was a time of aesthetic divergences that questioned the relation of the artists with official institutions and interrogated the function and potential of art itself within society. Their artwork served to undermine the narrative and iconography of political power. This wayward generation resorted to conceptual strategies, such as the return to forms of expression extracted from popular culture, the appropriation of international movements, as well as the depiction of local rituality connected to the restoration of the biographical and subjective.

This approach revealed an attitude of defiance against the rhetoric that had been exalting the epic struggle of the Revolution’s heroes, which was dominant at the time. The artists’ ludic and imaginative feats of invention would even, occasionally, approach the contemptuous. It was a romantic time, in which Cuban artists did not need to worry about the market because there was no market in the island; instead, by exploring different forms of autonomy, they strove to create the kind of art that they felt Cuban society needed.

This exhibit brings together a selection of works by artists who were children during the ‘59 revolution, or born a few years after, and who were mostly formed at Instituto Superior de Arte (ISA) school in Havana. But through various forms of aesthetic ruptures, they disrupted the limits of what was permited and prohibited. This generation emerged in tension with what the Revolution’s authorities considered fundamental tenets, for the Revolution sought to forbid anything that might stand opposed to its core values.

Among the participating artists are (in alphabetic order): Gustavo Acosta, Alejandro Aguilera, Néstor Arenas, José Bedia, César Beltrán, Adriano Buergo, Consuelo Castañeda, Humberto Castro, Arturo Cuenca, Ana Albertina Delgado, Ángel Delgado, Ofill Echevarría, Tomás Esson, José Franco, José Manuel Fors, Carlos García, Flavio Garciandía, Florencio Gelabert, Juan Sí González, Quisqueya Henríquez, Equipo Hexágono (C. Castañeda, H. Castro, S. Elizondo, A. Garcia-Fayat, M. Moreira and Tonel)  Rogelio “Gory” López Marín, Rafael López-Ramos, Alonso Mateo, Maldito Menéndez, Glexis Novoa, Marta María Pérez-Bravo, Gustavo Pérez Monzón, Ciro Quintana, Ricardo Rodríguez Brey, Carlos Rodríguez Cárdenas, Lázaro Saavedra, Tomás Sánchez, Leandro Soto, José Angel Toirac, Rubén Torres Llorca, and Pedro Vizcaíno.

Today, those artists continue to create powerful artworks that reaffirm the value of their trajectories. They work in Havana, Miami and other cities without considering the hordes of consumers that flood the island in search of Contemporary Cuban Art but who are unaware of the movement’s genesis and history. Our selection of pioneers within and beyond the island’s shores, allows one to envisage the undeniable courage of a generation of innovators who made and continue to make works of art abiding by no rules but their own.

[1] A Curated Exhibit with Historic and Recent Artworks from the 80’s Generation. From June 1 to August 30, 2017.

Contact:  Ebony Maclin

Tel: 305.801.7616 // Email: [email protected]

For further information, call 305-535-8088 or visit
Sagamore Hotel – 1671 Collins Ave – Miami Beach, FL 33138

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