Forbidden Fruit: Cuba’s Booming Art Industry

posted by – 07/22/15 @ 4:40pm

With the restoration of U.S.- Cuban relations this year, many aficionados of the art world are predicting a rise in sales of Cuban art. U.S. collectors were already able to purchase Cuban artwork due to a loophole in the trade embargo allowing for the purchase of cultural assets. However, the Havana Biennial in May was a major destination for American collectors, and a 2014 Wall Street Journal piece predicts an increased interest in the country’s artwork as it becomes easier for Americans to travel there and discover new artists.

El Caiman by José Betancourt

El Caiman // José Betancourt

The unique situation faced by Cuban artists – isolation, lack of supplies – lends itself to an art scene unlike any other. Many Cuban artists incorporate found objects and weathered materials into their work. Artists such as Los Carpinteros deal with social issues facing Cubans today. Increased accessibility to the nation will provide an unprecedented look into the work of talented, previously undiscovered artists.

Sea Escape // José Betancourt

In his upcoming exhibition at Tinney, Cuban-born artist José Betancourt explores his own relationship with his native country, which he left in 1971 at a young age. Cuba: Reconstructing Memories presents a series of altered photographs inspired by Betancourt’s memories of his childhood and provides a fascinating glimpse into his relationship with his past.

 

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