viernes, 23 de mayo de 2008
"Unbroken Ties: Dialogues in Cuban Art", A Predictable Proposition
Last week I went to see "Unbroken Ties: Dialogues in Cuban Art" on view at the Museum of Art, Ft. Lauderdale. I was excited about the challenges that I had anticipated would be presented in the exhibition whose curatorial premise was fueled by the concept of "dialogue" (a word that has had a resounding negative connotation and political charge within the context of the Miami/Cuba narrative). Upon entering the exhibit, however, I was immediately put off by the wall text that greets the viewer, for its unabashed subjectivity and heavy-handed clichés. This I found to be true throughout the entire exhibition. Undoubtedly, each artist is represented by a work from the permanent collection that is his or her best. However, the formal and conceptual complexity, the thought-provoking and unwavering personal intensity, which almost every piece is imbued with, is diminished by the descriptive text that is carried throughout. Each work or series of works is forged into the pre-scripted acts that separate the exhibition into different sections: Paradise Lost, Risking Life and Limb and Unbroken Ties/ New Reality. This approach prevents unexpected concepts, challenging contradictions and shared commonalities among each artist’s work to emerge. In other words, the opportunities for dialogue are lost or predictably presented. I found this to be the exhibition’s most unfortunate aspect. That said, it is regardless, a historically significant accomplishment for Mr. Santis and the museum in single-handedly putting together a collection that reflects the artistic richness, diversity and complex personal histories that have come to define Cuban and Cuban-American art. Individually each of the works in this collection address the issues of identity, loss, exile, pain and separation that have defined the great schism that lies between there and here.
Elizabeth Cerejido is an artist and curator living in Miami.