Arte Cubano highlights a universally agreed-upon characteristic of the island’s art: an incredible diversity. Cuban art is so rich in large part because of its diverse cultural blend of African, European, and Latin/Caribbean influences. Add to these traditional roots the revolution of 1959, and Cuban art occupies a unique aesthetic place in the contemporary art world.
Building on the changing relationships between the governments of the United States and Cuba, this timely exhibition reflects more than twenty-five Cuban artists’ ruminations on the quotidian, social, and political realities of the island and the contemporary world. The island geography and political intensity of Cuba inform the work in a way that is immediately identifiable, often concealing coded, even subversive, ideas while simultaneously celebrating the richness of Cuba’s cultural identity. Peeling away the layers of Cuban art often reveals a story of struggle caused by economic and political consequences, and the social upheaval that a true revolution produces.
The exhibition’s artists include Lidzie Alvisa, José Bedia, Los Carpinteros, Yoan Capote, Enrique Celaya, Roberto Fabelo, Diana Fonseca, Pedro Pablo Oliva, Kcho, Sandra Ramos, Esterio Segura, and more. Spanning several generations, these contemporary Cuban artists come from an unusual place: a country often isolated because of its socialist revolution. All of the artists in this collection grew up in socialist Cuba, and many graduated from the prestigious Instituto Superior de Arte—built at the beginning of the revolution, Havana’s equally excellent San Alejandro Art Academy, or the Escuela Nacional de Arte. Others graduated from local art schools. Despite their disparate backgrounds, aesthetic sensibilities, subject matter, materials, and styles, there is something uniquely Cuban about the art in this collection.
The intensity and depth of meaning, with the specific physical and political context, make Cuban art immediately identifiable and powerful, and an important voice in the art world today. Most of all, the art is connected to Cuba itself. Both the island and the art are an unusual mix of the traditional and the modern, of the ordinary and the special, of simplicity and incredible complexity. The same can be said for the politics, the literature, the architecture, and the people. It confounds and entrances, it is rejecting and embracing.
Mid-America Arts Allliance co-organized Arte Cubano with the Center for Cuban Studies (NYC) to synthesize two extraordinary private collections generously made available for the project. This exhibition could not have been made possible without their collecting vision and loan generosity. The Center for Cuban Studies opened in 1972 and was organized by a group of scholars, writers, artists, and other professionals, in response to the effects of US policy toward Cuba.
Arte Cubano is touring August 2018 through September 2022. The dates below reflect ten-week exhibition periods. Dates are subject to change; please contact MoreArt@maaa.org or (800) 473-3872 x208/209 for current availability.
- August 24–November 2, 2018 Southeast Missouri State University
Cape Girardeau, MO booked
- November 30, 2018–February 3, 2019 Krasl Art Center
St. Joseph, MI booked
- March 9–May 28, 2019 Western Kentucky University
Bowling Green, KY booked
- October 1, 2019–February 20, 2020 Queens College
Flushing, NY booked
- September 23, 2020–January 15, 2021 Las Cruces Museum System, Museum of Art
Las Cruces, NM booked
- May 18–July 27, 2021 Refurbishment
Kansas City, MO booked
- August 24–November 2, 2021 Iowa State University
Ames, IA booked
- December 1, 2021–May 28, 2022 University of Arkansas Little Rock
Little Rock, AR booked
- June 27–September 3, 2022 Save 25% on rental fees
Approximately fifty-two works of two- and three-dimensional art
Custom-Designed and Built Crates
ExhibitsUSA/Mid-America Arts Alliance and Center for Cuban Studies
Out-of-Region Rental Fee
In-Region Rental Fee
Number of Crates/Total Weight
estimated at 12
The exhibition is fully insured by ExhibitsUSA at no additional expense to you, both while installed and during transit.