Who gets the prize?

Lovers and detractors of his art, all of them, had a surprise. Lázaro Saavedra received the 2014 National Visual Arts Award. This fact could be understood as a systematization of what could have been anecdotic: the recognition by the Cuban art institutions of the strength of some generations—which are not the oldest or the newest. It is true that some names that we expect will be retaken in the future are still pending, as well as the reevaluation of criteria which are still in the structure of the Award and are already obsolete, among them the limitation to artists living in the country.

Lázaro received the Award and, at the same time—literally, on the same day—a new and complex social and political panorama began to shape before the audience. Cuba and the United States announced the purpose of dialoguing to find common spaces. That December 17 will be remembered by several generations of Cubans living in and out the Island as one of the most significant in the history of the thaw, which will also lead to consequences in the arts.

The fact is that while we asked ourselves, hours later, what would happen with Cuban art, with the Cuban art market, many collectors, dealers and artists were already marking strategies, setting dates. The face of Cuban art collecting will change. And art will change too, and the power and exchange relationships established in the world of art will be redefined. We must carefully watch what happens and have the experts guide us. That is why it was vital for us to include in this edition of our magazine two examples, already considered classic, on how to support, evaluate, commercialize and establish Cuban art: Alex and Carole Rosenberg and Ramón Cernuda.

For very young artists, who are beginning their careers or are halfway through them, the world of art will begin to change more quickly, fundamentally impelled by the market. We have pinned our attention on some of them: Susana Delahante, Alejandro Campins, José Miguel Costa, Glauber Ballestero, Irving Vera, Jorge Otero… Names outstanding in the panorama because of their forceful proposals.

On a separate issue, some exhibitions filled to the brim with new experiences the specialized audience in the Island, among them Nature Boy, by Cuban designer living in the United States Edel Morales, with a very well acknowledged proposal within the editorial world and the cultural posters. For his part, Eduardo Ponjuán and his show Bésame mucho, in the National Museum of Fine Arts, aroused an intense activity by art critics, to which we contributed from these pages with an excellent and pertinent assessment by Héctor Antón Castillo. Also, after our visit to an exhibition in Villa Manuela Gallery, we identified the need to rescue Rafael Zarza for the international audience. Zarza took part in the recovery of the figure that artists as diverse as Antonia Eiriz, Servando Cabrera, Umberto Peña or Sosabravo developed in Cuban art during the seventies. He is the youngest and last of these artists who, in keeping with what was happening in the main circuits of international art, assumed Neofiguration in painting and engraving and developed an exceptional oeuvre, each with an undisputable style of their own. When memory returns to the history of Cuban art, Zarza’s work will acquire the value befitting him.

Another new perspective, in the new times.


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