21c Museum Presents Cuba Now, an Examination of Contemporary Cuban Art over the Last Two Decades

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Exhibition features the work of artists living in Cuba, Cuban immigrants and first-generation Cuban Americans as well as never before exhibited works

Anthony Goicolea, "Jettisoned," 2009. Color c-print mounted on aluminum. Image courtesy the artist and Postmasters Gallery, NY.

Despite the struggles that many Cuban artists face, this exhibition displays the hope, resourcefulness and increasingly global perspective of contemporary Cuban art.

21c Museum will present, Cuba Now, an extensive exhibition of more than 80 works of contemporary Cuban art from the 21c collection, other institutions and private collections as well as several works loaned by the artists themselves. Cuba Now will offer a glimpse of the diversity of themes that contemporary Cuban artists are exploring - cultural identity and disconnect, censorship, race, religion and gender - through a variety of media including sculpture, painting, photography, installation, performance and video. The exhibition will feature the work of emerging artists working in Cuba such as Douglas Perez and Glenda Léon alongside that of internationally acclaimed artists including Los Carpinteros, Tania Bruguera, and Carlos Garaicoa; Cuba Now will be on view from February 26 through July 2011.

Among the many works that will be exhibited in the United States for the first time are Juan Roberto Diago’s most recent large-scale sculptural installation, "Ciudad en ascenso," 2009; and Yoan Capote’s monumental painting "American Appeal," 2009, which is made of over 40,000 fish hooks. Also included in the exhibition are several works by influential Havana-based artists whose work is banned in Cuba such as José Toirac and Angel Delgado.

21c Museum Director William Morrow notes, “Despite the struggles that many Cuban artists face, this exhibition displays the hope, resourcefulness and increasingly global perspective of contemporary Cuban art.”

Several public sculptures will also be exhibited for the first time in conjunction with Cuba Now. 21c has commissioned Alexandre Arrechea (recently chosen to represent Cuba at the upcoming 54th Venice Biennale) to create an eight foot aluminum sculpture from his Elasticity series called "Elastic Empire State," 2011. Yoan Capote’s sculpture, "In-Tran/sit," 2002, and Armando Mariño’s, "The Raft," 2010 are planned for exhibition outside of 21c Museum Hotel as public art.

As part of the Museum’s mission to show the work of local and regional artists alongside internationally acclaimed artists, the exhibition will include the works of 23-year-old Carlos Gamez de Francisco, a Cuban immigrant who relocated to Louisville to join his father two years ago. He was trained in painting in Cuba and recently completed a residency at Louisville’s Muhammad Ali Center. The exhibition will feature 22 paintings from the 21c collection, in addition to an animation video the artist debuted at the 3rd Annual Kentucky Short Film & Video Showcase at 21c in 2010.    

The 21c Video Lounge will showcase a series of works from the 21c collection, as well as a selection of videos from the exhibition Video Cubano, which was recently on view at the 8th Floor Space in New York. Video Cubano is a juried exhibition of video art, selected from over 70 submissions in response to an open call to Cuban artists on YouTube. The judges included Rachel Weingeist, Curator, The Shelley and Donald Rubin Private Collection; Corina Matamoros, Curator of Contemporary Cuban Art, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Havana, Cuba; Alberto Magnan, Co-Director of MaganMetz, New York; Ben Rodriguez-Cubeñas, Program Director, The Rockefeller Brothers Fund; and Noel Smith, IRA Curator of Latin American and Caribbean Art, University of South Florida.

21c Museum founders Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson became fascinated with contemporary Cuban art when they attended the Havana Biennial in 2003. Since then, Brown and Wilson have been purchasing works with the goal of creating an entirely Cuban exhibition. This exhibition is curated from their collection with the help of William Morrow, Director of 21c Museum.

About 21c Museum
21c Museum is North America’s first museum dedicated solely to collecting and exhibiting art of the 21st century. The 9,000-square-foot Museum, part of 21c Museum Hotel, was opened in 2006 and is committed to bringing works of art to the public through innovative exhibitions and programs that integrate contemporary art into daily life. The exhibitions and installations of 21c Museum weave into the fabric of the hotel and the surrounding streetscape, with works of art filtering into both public space and unexpected places. There is an opportunity to discover art throughout 21c: on the in-room Video Art Channel, in elevators, public restrooms, sunken courtyards, hallways, the walls and corners of the Proof on Main restaurant and bar, and on the floor. Additionally, 21c Museum presents a variety of cultural programming including a monthly poetry series, a film series, artist lectures and music performances. The 21c Museum is open free of charge 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For more information, visit http://www.21cMuseum.org or http://www.21cMuseumHotel.com.

21c Museum has presented a series of more than 35 special exhibitions and installations since its opening in 2006. Recent exhibitions organized by 21c Museum include Simen Johan: Until the Kingdom Comes; Creating Identity: Portraits Today; All’s Fair in Art and War: Envisioning Conflict; Tangled Up In You: Connecting, Coexisting, and Conceiving Identity; and Hybridity: The Evolution of Species and Spaces in 21st-Century Art. 21c Museum has presented projects by Mikhail Baryshnikov and John Waters, as well as traveling exhibitions including Marc Swanson: Beginning to See the Light, organized by the Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum, and Constant World: the Work of Jennifer and Kevin McCoy, organized by Beall Center for Art and Technology, University of California, Irvine.

21c Museum features permanent installations and special exhibitions of works by both emerging and established artists, including Dinh Q Le, Bill Viola, Tony Oursler, Mikhael Subotzky, Sam Taylor-Wood, Kehinde Wiley, Elena Dorfman, David Levinthal, Yinka Shonibare, Anthony Goicolea, Chuck Close, Miguel Angel Rojas, Alfredo Jaar, Jota Castro, and Kara Walker. 21c also fosters regional artists with new commissions, exhibitions, and programs.

The Museum has a number of original commissions on long term display, including Austrian artist Werner Reiterer’s first outdoor public sculpture in the U.S. Other commissions include: Wheel of Fortune by Anne Peabody, In the Absence of Voyeurism 6 & 7 by artist and surgeon Sean Bidic; MacArthur Fellow Ned Kahn’s Cloud Rings; MacArthur Fellow Camille Utterback and Romy Achituv’s Text Rain; and two untitled ceiling light sculptures by Chilean artist Ivan Navarro, the artist’s first commission for a public space.

Beyond 21c Museum
With the generous aid of private collectors and founders of 21c Museum, Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson, 21c has been able to share its collection with the international art community. It is the mission of 21c to promote contemporary art for all audiences and through its relationships with other institutions we hope to continue in this endeavor. 21c Museum loans include Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, Cincinnati Art Museum, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris; Museum of Arts and Design, New York; Contemporary Art Center, Cincinnati; and the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville.

For press information contact:
Stephanie Greene
21c Museum Hotels
502.582.6300 x112

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Stephanie Greene
21c Museum Hotels
502.582.6300 ext. 112
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