The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH); the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and the Cisneros Fontanals Fundación Para Las Artes (CIFO Europa) today announced the landmark exhibition Adiós Utopia: Dreams and Deceptions in Cuban Art Since 1950, which will bring together more than 100 of the most important works of painting, graphic design, photography, video, installation, and performance created by more than 50 Cuban artists and designers over the past six decades. Conceived by CIFO Europa, the exhibition is curated by Cuban independent curators Gerardo Mosquera, René Francisco Rodríguez, and Elsa Vega. Museum advisors on the project include Olga Viso, executive director at the Walker Art Center; and Mari Carmen Ramírez, the Wortham Curator of Latin American Art at the MFAH, who have organized a U.S. tour. A related, comprehensive book is being published in English and in Spanish by CIFO Europa.
Anchored by key moments of 20th- and 21st-century Cuban history, Adiós Utopia is the most comprehensive and significant presentation of modern and contemporary Cuban art shown in the United States since 1944, when the Museum of Modern Art in New York presented Modern Cuban Painters. Adiós Utopia debuts at the MFAH in March 2017 and travels to the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis in November 2017.
Adiós Utopia looks at how Cuba’s revolutionary aspirations for social utopia—and subsequent disillusionment—shaped 65 years of Cuban art. The exhibition establishes a new narrative focused on the experiences of artists who lived and trained in Cuba. The exhibition charts the development of artistic production on the island from just before the overthrow of the Cuban republican government by the revolution in 1959; through the period of post-revolutionary euphoria and Cuba’s alliance with the Soviet Bloc; to the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s and Cuba’s ongoing isolation and economic distress under the Castro regime.
Drawing from more than two dozen collections in North America, the Caribbean, and Europe, Adiós Utopia will showcase key works from each decade that were pivotal to the evolution of Cuban art. The project’s initiator, and a key lender to the exhibition, is philanthropist and collector Ella Fontanals-Cisneros. The collection is distinguished by a strong concentration in Cuba’s lesser-known modern painters of the 1950s and 60s; these works form the narrative of the exhibition’s first section.