Contemporary Cuban Art

Art Lectures in Miami: Mariano Rodríguez and René Portocarrero. In conjunction with its current exhibition, One Hundred Years: Mariano and Portocarrero, A Two Artist Show, the Cernuda Arte gallery in Coral Gables is presenting two guest lectures at the end of the month. Both talks will be given by Alejandro Anreus, Ph.D., professor of art history and Latin American studies at William Paterson University in New Jersey.

On Wednesday, August 29, the topic is Mario Carreño Mariano Rodríguez, as Dr. Anreus presents “Mariano: Forms and Identity,” a look at the artist’s early influences, his development of specific forms, and how his evolving style reflected changes in the context of Cuban society. The following evening, Thursday, August 30, the focus shifts to “Portocarrero: A Joyous and Tropical Baroque,” an exploration of René Portocarrero’s art and its development throughout his career. Both talks will be given in English, and will take place at 7 p.m. at Cernuda Arte. To reserve a spot, call or email the gallery. [Our apologies to Cernuda Arte and to the great artist Mariano Rodríguez for this error. Ed.]

Melancolía in Havana. At Galería Génesis, Gabriel Sánchez: Melancolía presents recent work by an artist who, in the words of art historian Manuel Álvarez Lezama, “uses unpredictable elements in each of his works to remind us that always, what we see is unique/distinct for each of us.” On view in the Beijing Building of the Miramar Trade Center, the show opens Friday, August 31 at 5:30 p.m.

Piñera Festival in Miami. In Cuba, 2012 is El Año Virgiliano, a yearlong centenary celebration of poet, novelist, and playwright Virgilio Piñera (1912-1979). Now, Miami’s joining in with Absurd Celebration: The First International Festival of Virgilio Piñera’s Theatre, a month-long program of five plays presented by theater companies from Cuba, Spain, and the U.S. The festival kicks off this weekend with Piñera’s most autobiographical play, Aire Frío (Cold Air), presented by the Argos Company of Cuba. In Spanish with English subtitles, the three performances take place Friday and Saturday at 8 and Sunday at 5 at the University of Miami’s Ring Theater

A Celebration of La Virgen, also in Miami. At Ta Project Gallery in the city’s Bird Road Art District, a show of 12 Cuban artists on both sides of the straits celebrates Cuba’s patron saint, La Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre. Marking the 400th anniversary of La Virgen’s first appearance, La Patrona del Sol features work by established and emerging artists exploring themes that range from religion to immigration and motherhood. Among the artists on view: Agustín Bejerano, Aisar Jalil, Eduardo Lambert, Guillermo Portieles, Imael Gómez Peralta, Iran Plata, Jaqueline Zerquera, Julio Rodríguez, Lisa Neiley, Nestor Arenas, Yoel Santana y Yovani Bauta.. The show opens at the gallery this Saturday, August 18, with a reception from 7 to 10 p.m., and it runs through September 11.

Looking ahead: Maria Martínez-Cañas: Photo Paintings in New York. Cuing off the British artist Francis Bacon, who used film and photography as the jumping-off point for his paintings, Maria Martínez-Cañas reverses the process. Taking his paintings as her starting point, she creates a series of oversized, mixed-media works that utilize image transfer, painting, and collage onto wood veneer. At the same time, she pays homage to photographers and artists who’ve influenced her, including Louise Bourgeois, Eadweard Muybridge, and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy. At Julie Saul Gallery in New York’s Chelsea district, Photo Paintings opens with a reception on Thursday, September 6, from 6 to 8 p.m. The show runs through October 20.

And a cinematic note from the Canary Islands. Earlier this month we heard from Cuban film director Rolando Díaz, now working in Spain, who wrote that principal shooting had wrapped on his current production, the docudrama Los caminos de Aissa (The Roads of Aissa). Shot on Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands, the film is about African immigration to the islands, weaving together the stories of individuals from Cameroon, Senegal, Tunisia, and elsewhere on the continent. The film now heads to the editing room.

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