Friday 25 May 2012
Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes
After breakfast we visited the Fine Arts Museum (Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes) and the curator gave us a two-hour lecture on the history of Cuban art. Excellent. Could have been two hours longer. (Photo of front of building. No photos allowed inside.)
- 18th C Colonial Art collection, portraits and religious art. Cuban Academy started in 1818, open to women 1878. (Slavery abolished 1886.)
- 19th C Barbizon School Landscape and Hudson River School Impressionism. Historical – Columbus being arrested. (They didn’t tell us that in school, that he’d been arrested for smuggling.) Followers of Caravaggio. Abstract Art – same time as rest of world. (Other movements had been delayed.)
- 20th C Cubism + Santería (a religion which originated with the Yoruba in Nigeria).1
Wifredo Lam is perhaps the most famous. A friend of Picasso’s, so you see a similarity between his The Murmur and Picasso’s Demoiselles d’Avignon (African masks), Tercer Mundo with Guernica. African influence, also surrealism. (I just saw on the internet that a painting of his went for $4.5M2.)
Roberto Fabelo – Ants on building (my photo) by Colombian artist Rafael Gomez Barros for this year’s Biennial are a takeoff of Fabelo’s roaches with human heads (from nuclear war) for the 2009 Biennial.
The Havana-based artist’s solo show features a 32-foot walkway of 12 light boxes in the shape of a symbolic bridge between Miami and Havana. On it, aerial photos taken by Ramos while flying between both tropical cities across the Florida Straits this past May are supposed to present spectators with “the possibility of overcoming more than half century of separation, anguish and differences” in the island’s recent history. 3
Then cases of passports she has altered to convey Close/Far with USA.
El Santo Angel
Lunch at a government restaurant, El Santo Angel, at outdoor tables right on the Plaza Vieja. Good pumpkin soup, dreadful pork that no one could eat, then delicious ice cream. Note: we tip at government restaurants (is that not declared?) At paladares 10% is added.
La Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña
On to the Morro Fortress through a tunnel under the bay to East Havana for the Biennial exhibit at La Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña (the fortress of Saint Carlos of the cabin), which was built was built between 1763 and 1774 on a long, exposed ridge on the east side of Havana. Many rooms of art (see photos.) Many artworks have to do with the escape by sea.
La Divina Pastora
Dinner back at the Morro Fortress at La Divina Pastora overlooking the entrance to the bay. My photos of the the flame tree, the sunset, and West Havana at night.
Tags: 11th Havana Biennial, 90 Miles: Living In The Vortex, Cuba, El Santo Angel restaurant, Havana, La Divina Pastora, La Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña, Morro Fortress, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Rafael Gomez Barros, Roberto Fabelo, Sandra Ramos, Wifredo Lam