Professor Emeritus Martínez Curates Exhibition on “Cuban Art and Identity”


LamMalemboDiosdeLaEncrucijada_60.25x49.875On October 18th, Professor Emeritus of the College of Architecture + the Arts Juan A. Martínez will see the opening of a new exhibition he has curated. At the Vero Beach Museum of Art, Cuban Art & Identity: 1900 to 1905 will be on display until February 2014. The exhibition will showcase works by some of Cuba’s twentieth-century, pre-Castro modernist painters who, through art, tried to capture what the island represented as a new nation. The exhibition includes pieces by artists like Mario Carreño, Amelia Peláez, and Wifredo Lam. The works in the show come from three museums – including the Museum of Modern Art in New York – and seven private collections. Martínez, who before retiring taught a History of Cuban Art course, has decided to curate this show in order to shed light on the contributions made by such artists. “The visualizing of national cultural identities through art is fascinating,” said Martínez. “It is about how people imagine their nation.”

One important aspect of Cuban Art & Identity is the presentation of both traditional and modernist Cuban art of the period. “The former usually employs the visual languages of naturalism and realism,” said Martínez, “whereas the latter uses expression and abstraction.” Usually viewed as being polar opposites, the traditional and modernist works show a similar attempt at defining Cuban culture. “The exhibition suggests that when seen from the point of view of subject matter, rather than style, traditionalist and modernist Cuban art of the first half of the twentieth century….show[s] a commitment to explor[ing] and express[ing] Cuban identity themes.”

The opening reception for Cuban Art & Identity: 1900 to 1950, which will include a lecture by curator Juan A. Martínez, will be on Friday, October 18 at 5PM. Vero Beach Museum of Art, 3001 Riverside Park Drive, Vero Beach, FL 32963.

The featured image is Rene Portocarrero’s “Interior del Cerro” from the collection of Mr. Ramón Cernuda. The image to the right is Wifredo Lam’s “Malembo, Dios de La Encrucijada” from the collection of Mr. Isaac Rudman.

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