Waiting for the idols to fall

January 11 through March 22, 2013

 
José Toirac,  Pantócrator , 2012. Gold leaf and oil on canvas. Courtesy of the artist. [Image Description: Three panels comprise a rectangular image, the background of which is gold-leaf with bits of red poking through. Across the triptych a figure, rendered in black, stands at a microphone with his back to the viewer. The figure rests one arm on the podium while stretching the other outward emphatically.]

José Toirac, Pantócrator, 2012. Gold leaf and oil on canvas. Courtesy of the artist. [Image Description: Three panels comprise a rectangular image, the background of which is gold-leaf with bits of red poking through. Across the triptych a figure, rendered in black, stands at a microphone with his back to the viewer. The figure rests one arm on the podium while stretching the other outward emphatically.]

 

Cuban visual artists in the last few decades have fixed on a group of icons to represent their social, cultural, and human collective: the map of Cuba, the Cuban flag, royal palm trees, makeshift boats and rafts of emigration, El Morro, the Malecón, the ruins of Havana, José Martí, Che, La Caridad del Cobre, San Lázaro, and the exoticized objects and ritualistic symbols of the Afro-Cuban religions of Palo Monte, Abakuá, Santería and Ifá, among others.

As a new era approaches, will Cuban cultural identity as depicted be an old-fashioned thing of the past? Waiting for the Idols to Fall considers how Cuban artists represent “lo cubano” without resorting to some variation on the same old icons. It’s too early to know in this transitional period if there will be a need to represent, reaffirm, or cling to something in order to continue being Cuban.

Featuring works by Tania Brugera, Alexandre Arrechea, Belkis Ayón, José Toirac, Frank Martinez, José Ángel Vincench, María Elena González, Raúl Cordero, Alejandro Aguilera, Alexis Esquivel, Abel Barroso, Juan Carlos Alom, Clara Morera, Jose Bedia, Roberto Diago, and Fernando Rodriguez.

Press Release