Even before its new show opens Thursday night, administrators at the Perez Art Museum Miami say they have already heard criticism from some in the Cuban exile community over including works by artists still living on the island.
“On the Horizon: Contemporary Cuban Art from the Jorge M. Pérez Collection” includes works by artists based in Miami, New York, Europe and Cuba that explore horizons literally and as a symbol of aspiration and confinement, explains curator Tobias Ostrander. Photographs, sculptures and mixed-media presentations offer a range of commentary, positive and negative, about life on the island and the relationship between Cuba and the U.S.
No public money was used to purchase the works, according to the museum. All were collected by PAMM namesake Jorge Pérez or purchased from funds donated by him, in consultation with Ostrander and Perez’s own curators, Patricia Hanna and Anelys Alvarez.
The museum hopes the exhibit will spark dialogue about Cuba, the U.S. and artists’ role in critical dialogue, says Christina Boomer Vazquez, deputy director of marketing and public engagement. Showgoers are invited to share thoughts, memories and hopes in Spanish and English via comment sheets. The museum will reach out to some commenters to publicly share their views.
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“All contemporary art is a conversation about contemporary life,” says Ostrander.
Aethestically, the show is a standout. If you go, don’t miss two works by Yoan Capote: a massive canvas of the sea made with 550,000 fishing hooks and a pair of surgical scissors with blades in the shape of Florida and Cuba. Other highlights include a wall by duo Jorge + Larry that incorporates pop culture and ideological icons, a children’s suitcase by Sandra Ramos and a pair of sculptures by Manuel Mendive.
The exhibit runs in three iterations, the first through Sept. 10. pamm.org.