Cuban Art at the Harn Museum of Art

Discover the work of Cuban artists by visiting the Harn Museum of Art and exploring two new exhibitions: The Art of Cundo Bermúdez and Spotlight: Latin America.

Cundo Bermúdez, Cuban (1914 – 2008), Cuarteto Habanero (Quartet from Havana), 1991. Silkscreen. Collection of Martha and Frank Burr.

Cundo Bermúdez, Cuban (1914 – 2008), Cuarteto Habanero (Quartet from Havana), 1991. Silkscreen. Collection of Martha and Frank Burr.

The Art of Cundo Bermúdez, on view through May 2017, features prints by Cuban artist Cundo Bermúdez (1914-2008) who was a painter, muralist and printmaker. He is best known for his vividly colored paintings celebrating the themes of his native Cuba. Common themes in his work include landscapes, still lifes, portraits, musicians and interiors. In his later years, he became increasingly interested in abstraction, often including surreal imagery such as clocks, ladders, turbaned figures, and obscure script and symbols in his works.
Bermúdez studied painting in the 1930s at the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes San Alejandro, Cuba’s oldest and most prestigious fine arts school. He also studied briefly at the Academia de San Carlos in Mexico City (1938) where he became familiar with the murals of Mexican modernist artist Diego Rivera and befriended artist Rufino Tamayo. Upon his return to Cuba, he began a successful career as an artist and was featured in a number of exhibitions in Havana.
By the 1940s-1950s, Bermúdez had reached international recognition through exhibitions in New York (at the Museum of Modern Art), Mexico City, Buenos Aires, São Paulo, Paris and Munich. In the 1960s, he became disillusioned with the Cuban government of Fidel Castro and emigrated to Puerto Rico where he lived for nearly thirty years. In 1996, he moved to Miami, Florida, where he lived the remainder of his life. He died in 2008 at age ninety-four.

Agustin Cárdenas, Cuban (1927–2001), Family, 1991. Bronze with brown patina. Gift of friends of the Harn Museum of Art.

Agustin Cárdenas, Cuban (1927–2001), Family, 1991. Bronze with brown patina. Gift of friends of the Harn Museum of Art.

The exhibition Spotlight: Latin America celebrates the contributions of thirty-seven artists representing Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico and Uruguay. The selected paintings, drawings, prints, photographs and sculptures – roughly fifty in all – are drawn from the Harn’s collection, with loans from private Gainesville collections. Many of the Harn works are on view for the first time. The exhibition includes work by famous names in Latin American art such as Ángel Botello, Lorenzo Homar, Wifredo Lam, Roberto Matta, René Portocarrero, Alfredo Ramos Martínez, Diego Rivera, Sebastião Salgado, Rufino Tamayo, Joaquín Torres-García, Rafael Tufiño and Francisco Zúñiga. Cuban artists whose work is on view include Agustin Cárdenas, Wifredo Lam, Amelia Peláez, René Portocarrero and Emilio Sanchez.
Spanning most of the 20th century – from 1900 to 1980 – the works in Spotlight reflect important art movements in Latin America, from early modernism and the Mexican mural school to avant-garde styles of the mid-20th century and the

Amelia Peláez, Cuban (1896–1968), Untitled, 1964. Gouache on paper. Loan courtesy of Efraín Barradas.

Amelia Peláez, Cuban (1896–1968), Untitled, 1964. Gouache on paper. Loan courtesy of Efraín Barradas.

post WWII era. The rich diversity of styles on view reflects the range of cultures and generations featured in the exhibition. Despite this diversity, the works are unified through a number of recurring themes that serve as an organizing structure. These include portraiture, figural studies, abstraction, architecture, religious expression, the nostalgia of childhood, and the celebration of indigenous culture, music and dance. Each of the artists included has approached these themes through the lens of his or her personal experience. The exhibition will continue through October.
Both of these exhibitions are organized in conjunction with Bulla Cubana, a celebration of Cuban arts and culture taking place in the Gainesville community from January through March 2017. On March 12 from 3 to 4 p.m., Cuban community members will gather at the Harn to discuss their experiences and backgrounds.
The Harn Museum of Art is located on the University of Florida campus in Gainesville. Admission is free. For more information visit www.harn.ufl.edu.

Read MoreArticle written by Dulce Román

Author: Arbus

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