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Cuban artists of two generations on view at MoLAA show

June 13th, 2008 · No Comments · Art, Entertainment

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The Museum of Latin American Art (MoLAA) is the only venue on the West Coast to present “Wifredo Lam in North America.” This comprehensive national traveling exhibition of Lam’s work is the first in more than 30 years to be seen in the United States.
Also on view will be “Carlos Luna: El Gran Mambo.” Both Lam, the first Cuban to be recognized as a master among the mid-20th century modern artists, and Luna, a contemporary rising star, share a Cuban nationalism in their art, which is filled with the rhythms of religious ritual, political satire and cultural heritage.
Both exhibitions will be on display from June 15 – August 31.
The Afro-Chinese Cuban artist Wifredo Lam, who was born in Cuba in 1902 and died in Paris in 1982, is the most celebrated artist of the Caribbean region. Associated with Pablo Picasso during the time of cubism and Andre Breton in the time of surrealism, Lam contributed a non-European Afro-Cuban voice to the evolution of Western art. His visual language is a synthesis of cubism, surrealism, “primitivism,” Negritude, Afro-Cuban history and ethnicity, and the religious practice of Santería. Lam was born of a polyglot heritage; his mother was African, indigenous Cuban and Spanish and his father was a Cantonese Chinese businessman. This cross-hybridization is the basis of Lam’s artistic style, more celebrated today than during his lifetime.
The exhibition “Wifredo Lam in North America” presents 65 of the most important paintings, gouaches and drawings by Lam represented in U.S. collections. The exhibition is accompanied by an illustrated color catalog available in the museum store.
Carlos Luna’s art, influenced by Wifredo Lam, references the artistic traditions of the Cuban Havana School, the European Cubist paintings of French artist Ferdinand Leger, the storytelling of Mexican muralism and even the horror vacui of the Latin American baroque.
Born in Cuba in 1969, Luna was a part of the 1980s artistic rebellion, and he relocated to Puebla, Mexico in 1991. During the decade in Mexico, Luna enriched his unique style incorporating Cuban icons such as his Guajiro-Man and Rooster-Man with a Mexican bravado of cultural practice and language.
This exhibition presents a selection of 17 paintings recently created by the artist. The central work is Luna’s most recent, titled “Gran Mambo,” filled with power-packed imagery of history, culture, symbolism and drama. Luna is a storyteller merging themes of fable and mysticism, eroticism and prejudice and religiosity and anthropology in the iconographic discourse he depicts.
“Carlos Luna: El Gran Mambo” was co-curated by Cynthia MacMullin and Idurre Alonso, from MoLAA. The exhibition has been sponsored by the Cisneros Capital Group and is a traveling exhibition first presented at the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center, Washington D.C. A hardbound color catalog accompanies the exhibition and is available in the museum store.
“Wifredo Lam in North America” and “Carlos Luna: El Gran Mambo” will be at the Museum of Latin American Art, 628 Alamitos Avenue, from June 15 through August 31.

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