2018 Cuban Contemporary Exhibit

Of the technically accomplished and conceptually rich output by contemporary artists actively creating in Cuba, the pieces in this collection were chosen for their variety of subjects, ideas, and materials, handled especially skillfully by five selected artists. Dorian Agüero Anaya, Andy Llanes Bultó, Osmeivy Ortega, Maikel Sotomayor, and Frank David Valdés represent an emerging generation of powerhouse artists, educated in Cuban art schools, open to manifold influences from both inside and outside the island, and producing extensive bodies of work marked by a distinctive aesthetic and maturity of voice.

Cuba is a fountainhead for what is widely considered some of the most compelling and enigmatic artwork being created in the art world today. Building on the first Cuban Contemporary Exhibit, we pick up here where the first exhibit left off. A new guard explores familiar and pervasive themes, among them reverence of the natural world, lyrical figuration, and the imperative of mood. The works in this collection are executed with innovative use of media, yet done so with the pertinacity of old methods: painting, drawing, lithography, and relief-block printmaking. The fresh voices of these five creatives bring a new vocabulary of visual language, exemplary of the highest echelon of artistry.

An ongoing partnership with Cuban gallerist and curator, Elisa Lopez, has been crucial to every step in bringing this exhibit to fruition. Lopez’s expertise, extensive input in acquisition, and research on the artists in Havana have importantly shaped the Cuban Contemporary Exhibit. Lopez writes, “Contemporary art is characterized by the multiplicity of its practices, by the plurality of visual texts, resources and media, to the same extent that it also generates knowledge, provokes reflections, and establishes bridges of communication and exchange.” Ultimately this curated anthology echoes Lopez’s thoughts on the broader contemporary art world, sampling from a range of subjects and approaches, but touching on universal notes, whether symbols, images, or abstract notions relatable through instinctual understanding. All of this speaks across divides of language, culture, and arbitrary borders.