Snite displays colorful Cuban art exhibition
By ERIN LaRUFFA
The sound of Cuban music may come as a surprise to someone entering the normally quiet Snite Museum.
However, the upbeat music provides an appropriate accompaniment to the vibrant colors of many of the paintings within the gallery.
The music and paintings are part of an exhibit at The Snite entitled "Breaking Barriers: Selections from the Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale Contemporary Cuban Collection."
"The images are all very large, lots of bright colors," said Gina Costa, public relations and marketing specialist at the Snite.
The exhibition celebrates Cuban artists exiled from their native country due to the atrocities of Fidel Castro's Communist rule. The government suppresses individual freedoms and punishes dissension, and official artists are restricted in what they can create.
"There are a lot of images of despair," Costa said, adding many of the artists attempt to deal with "being Cuban but not being able to live in Cuba."
Some of the artists left Cuba as children, while others fled as adults. Most of the 55 artists featured are now living in Europe and the U.S., including many in southern Florida.
There is a great deal of variety in the collection, which contains paintings, sculptures, photography, video and installation. Not all of the work reflects a significant Cuban influence.
"The works deal with contemporary issues … and at the same time deal with issues of artists who have fled," Costa said.
The Snite arranged the work based on themes. For example, one gallery focuses on humor, including a piece that contains parts of a broken Kentucky Fried Chicken sign. Other galleries focus on more serious issues such as religion and life in Cuba.
Artist Glexis Novoa came to The Snite for its opening and drew on the wall in one of the galleries.
American-born photographer Andres Serrano, who is also featured in the exhibit, earned fame in the U.S. when his controversial "Piss Christ" raised questions about his funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.
As its title suggests, the exhibit is intended to break barriers by not limiting the artists who are included. Two artists in the exhibit, Serrano and Coco Fusco, are second-generation Cubans not born on the island. Two photographers featured, Juan Carlos Alom and Marta Maria Bravo, still live in Cuba.
A large number of Notre Dame students have already gone to see the exhibition, which opened on Jan. 16 and runs through Mar. 12.
"[Students] seem to be really excited about the show, really intrigued and interested," said Costa. "It gives a different feel."
Costa added that any student who can find the work that contains a scene of the Notre Dame campus should call her office to enter a drawing for a prize.
The Snite has already planned festivities for the weekend of the exhibition's closing. Activities include a Cuban band, a series of lectures and artist demonstrations.
The Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale, began the collection in 1994 based on the merit of the artwork, not on politics. The current exhibit at the Snite features a selection of that collection.
The E.L. Cord Foundation provided funding to make this exhibit possible.
All News Stories for Monday, January 24, 2000