The Cuban Art, its value abroad and its potential for expansion in the international market also seem to have a promising future with the new landscape. December 17, which means for Cuba the announcement of restoration of diplomatic ties between Cuba and the United States, not only marks the climax, the national shock and the beginning of the end of break of relations that have lasted over 50 years. Many experts put on notice that Cuba should be prepared for an invasion of collectors. 2015 could also be the year for Cuba to become a new Mecca of art.
Havana, invaded by collectors
From Friday 16 a number of measures entered into force to begin to restore bilateral relations. The ships that previously could not touch US ports until 6 months after visiting Cuban ports can do it now.
This Friday, restrictions on US travel to Cuba began to also mitigate, and US financial institutions may open accounts in Cuban banks.
The digital newspaper El Financiero reported a few days ago how the Cuban-American Alberto Magnan, founder and co-owner of Magnan Metz Gallery in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, said the thaw in relations will “have a huge impact, because Cuba was a limited market “and that the number of people who have access to it” will become huge. “
Magnan is one who thinks that Cuba should be prepared for an invasion of collectors. He, who brings years Americans to Havana to see and buy paintings and sculptures, said he received at least 25 calls from collectors in the 24 hours following the announcement of Obama on December 17. His goal is to acquire works by emerging artists before they are discovered and their prices rise.
“They want to go to Cuba before things keep changing,” Magnan, representing Cuban artists such as Alexandre Arrechea, Roberto Diago and Glenda León said.
“Next year I will be basically in Havana”, he said.
For years, American collectors circumventing the embargo taking to the US art works legally, since Washington classified them as “cultural assets”, unlike rum or cigars.
Howard Farber, famous collector of Cuban art, recently said he believes this art “has been one of the best kept secrets among a few collectors and now that Cuba opens for us I think more people will discover a genre that is fresh and wonderful”.
Another that foresees Cuba as the new Mecca of the art market is real estate developer from Ohio, Ron Pizzuti. Pizzuti has a hundred works of Cuban art, and last year opened a private museum in Columbus with an inaugural exhibition dedicated to the Cuban artists.
“I see that prices are rising as artists have more exposure,” said the US collector digital magazine Bloomberg. Pizzuti, with his wife Ann, brought together a collection of 2000 contemporary works in some forty years.
Prices will rise
Cuban art prices began to rise during the last recession, driven by collectors as Farber and Miami philanthropist Ella Cisneros, plus large museums like the Tate in London. Today, prices for works by living stars of Cuban art as Yoan Capote, Carlos Garaicoia and conceptual art duo The Carpenters range between 5000 and $ 400,000.
Wifredo Lam, considered by many as the Picasso of Cuba, and disappeared since 1982, sold at Sotheby his work Idol (Oya / Divinit, de l’Air et de la mort) for 4.6 million two years ago, a record price for the artist.
The New York dealer Sean Kelly, who represents Carpenters, says he expects American collectors concentrate on finding and visiting young avant-garde artists in Cuba that have not yet been widely exhibited abroad. Kelly says it is also likely that collectors are squeezed into the next Biennial of Havana in May.
Permits for Cuban artists themselves to travel to the US to sell their works may be increased with the thaw in relations. However, many consider this new landscape also means a challenge for the insular art, which happens after the initial appeal of “forbidden fruit” that already may have greater access must stand on its own merits.
Farber Foundation: new awards for our art
Howard Farber’s case is particular. The collector has instituted through its Farber Foundation International Cuban Art Awards in its first edition, to recognize the achievements of contemporary Cuban artists internationally.
New ways to promote the best art of Cuba and position in the world at the level it deserves, open with initiatives like this, which has attracted more attention on young artists like Alejandro Campins, Celia and Yunior, Elizabet Cervino, Rafael Domenech and Carlos Martiel, the five finalists in the category of Cuban Young Artist of the Year (for artists under 35 years).
The Farber Foundation Awards also include Cuban Artist of the Year category, whose finalists are Alexandre Arrechea, Luis Cruz Azaceta, Teresita Fernández, Glexis Novoa and Lázaro Saavedra. Some of these artists work in Cuba, and others do it from outside.
The digital magazine of Cuban art Cuban Art News has highlighted that this event recognized contemporary artists or collaboration “who have demonstrated exceptional creative power over the past two years.”
The finalists were nominated by a different panel of curators, scholars and collectors will select the winners of this group of preselected ones.
Howard Farber himself has admitted a possibility that the insular art more then promoted bilateral talks: “With the historic announcement last month of the return of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States to create Awards Arts Cubano of Farber Foundation is particularly timely, “Farber, who along with a panel of curators, critics and art scholars residing in Cuba and abroad, also integrates the jury to choose the winners of the contest this first year, said that they will be announced in May.