CROSSCURRENTS curated by Carla Funk
October 24, 2019
Contemporary Selections from the Rodríguez Collection of Cuban Artists
The “crosscurrent” for this show is metaphorically expressed by the art selected from the Rodriguez Collection in Miami, representing the New Cuban Art movement that arose in the 1980’s. These selections illustrate efforts by the first generation of Cuban artists to grow up after the Revolution of 1959 that dared to break from the state-sanctioned ideology promoted by the government. Ironically, the New Cuban Art of the 1980’s flourished in spite of the increasingly oppressive control of cultural expression on the island.
In 1981, less than a year after the Mariel boatlift, which resulted in a mass exodus of Cubans to the United States, the groundbreaking exhibition Volumen Uno (Volume One) opened at the Centro de Arte Internacional in Havana, a milestone in the history of the visual arts in Cuba, exhibiting work that was authentically Cuban but which also mirrored trends in international artistic movements, a truly pioneering achievement in Cuba at the time.
Three influential artists from Volumen Uno are included in this exhibition: Jose Bedia, Ruben Torres Llorca and Rogelio “Gory” Lopez Marin. The contributions of these artists disrupted the status quo of art production and education on the island, ushering in global importations like Conceptualism, Minimalism and Postmodernism.
After Volumen Uno, successive artists banded together to explore new art forms that challenged the state-controlled narrative. In 1984, Grupo Pure (New Wave), which included featured artists Adriano Buergo, Ana Albertina Delgado and Ciro Quintana, was formed to express a critical and judgmental view of society. Arte Calle (Street Art), of which featured artist Pedro Vizcaino was a member, formed in 1986 with the idea of taking art to the street for the people. Audacious fuera de las puertas ( out of doors) happenings and rowdy exhibitions ensued, provoking censorship, most famously by Tomas Esson, and a performance by Angel Delgado that led to his imprisonment.
By the second half of the 1980’s, fearing the anti-communist political trends of increased openness, Cuba’s president Fidel Castro announced a period of rectificacion (a redirection or correction) undertaken to put the Revolution on “the correct path.” By 1990, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, Cuba was in a deep socio-economic crisis known as the Periodo especial (Special Period). By 1991, migration from the island was at its peak and the majority of the 1980’s artists had left Cuba. This migration from the island to Miami, Mexico and Spain fostered, nurtured and spread the idea of this Crosscurrent in Cuban art, a style that spans the literal gulf of water that isolates the island but also creates a bridge to bring together a group of exiled artists who formed the New Cuban Art movement.
Now living in the United States, primarily in Florida, these artists continue to push the boundaries of their unique Cuban and exile experience, question the role of art, and influence their fellow artists, both at home and abroad.
Carla Funk, Executive Director and Chief Curator
Foosaner Art Museum
The Foosaner Art Museum, 1463 Highland Ave. in the Eau Gallie Arts District of Melbourne, features changing exhibitions of nationally and internationally recognized art. The museum also draws from its permanent collection of over 5,000 objects to present exhibitions relevant to the community and revealing of art historical movements.
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Florida Institute of Technology
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CROSSCURRENTS is the companion book to the exhibition featuring dozens of contemporary works from Cuban artists is on display at Florida Tech’s Foosaner Art Museum, presented by The Rodríguez Collection. Now living in the United States, primarily in Florida, these artists continue to push the boundaries of their unique Cuban and exile experience, question the role of art, and influence their fellow artists, both at home and abroad.