Monday, 22 June 2015 20:21

PRESS RELEASE: Eugenio Valdés Figueroa named Director and Curator of the Cisneros Fontanals Arts Foundation (CIFO)









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Eugenio Valdés Figueroa named Director and Curator of the Cisneros Fontanals Arts Foundation (CIFO)


Miami, Florida, June 23, 2015— Ella Fontanals-Cisneros, founder and president of Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation (CIFO), announced today the appointment of Eugenio Valdés Figueroa as the new director and chief curator of the foundation. A noted curator, critic, and expert on Latin American and contemporary art, Valdés Figueroa most recently held the position of art and education director of Casa Daros, Daros-Latinamerica in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Figueroa succeeds Jesús Fuenmayor, who has held the position since 2012.


Valdés Figueroa has been a leading scholarly and curatorial voice in the field of Latin American contemporary art for over 25 years.  Prior to joining Daros-Latinamerica in 2001, he served as the co-curator of the Havana Biennial from 1990 to 1997, and concurrently held positions as a contemporary African art researcher and curator of international contemporary art at the Wifredo Lam Center of Contemporary Art in Havana, Cuba from 1990 to 1997. During the same period, he also collaborated as co-curator and lecturer for several international biennials including Dakar, Tirana, Istanbul, Johannesburg, and FotoFest Houston. Valdés Figueroa began his career as a lecturer at the University of Havana in Cuba.


“Eugenio Valdés Figueroa’s depth of knowledge in the field of Latin American contemporary art and his pioneering vision make him an ideal person to lead CIFO as we look towards the future. His long-standing relationships with artists across the region, history of mounting groundbreaking exhibitions, and his global perspective will allow us to create exhibitions that continue to raise the profile of Latin American artists worldwide,” said Ms. Fontanals-Cisneros. “We are thrilled that Eugenio will join and lead our team as CIFO expands its exhibition program both regionally at the CIFO Art Center in Miami, across the US, and internationally.”


Over the past 14 years, Cuban-born Valdés Figueroa has been instrumental to the success of the Swiss foundation Daros Latinamerica, one of the world’s leading collections of Latin American art. As the co-founder of Casa Daros—the foundation’s facility in Brazil—he has shaped the conceptual, curatorial, and educational program of the institution locally and internationally, working with a wide range of artists including Ernesto Neto, Carlos Cruz-Diez, Julio Le Parc, Oscar Muñoz, Juan Manuel Echavarría, Vik Muniz, Betsabee Romero, Pablo Helguera, and René Francisco Rodríguez, among many others. During his tenure at Daros, he curated a number of ambitious exhibitions and programs, among them solo exhibitions of work by artists Carlos Cruz-Diez (2014); Rubens Gerchman (2014); Lazaro Saavedra (2013); Iole de Freitas (2013); and Antonio Caro (2013); as well as group exhibitions such as First International Meeting of Art-based Education: Art and Functional Illiteracy (2008), which he co-curated with Luis Camnitzer; and programs including Meridianos: Colombia (2013) and Meridianos (2011), a series of public talks and events pairing Latin American artists from different generations and countries to explore a common idea, which included artists such as Waltercio Caldas with Cruz-Diez, Teresa Serrano with Lenora de Barros, and Cildo Meireles with Antonio Caro, among many others.


“CIFO is a remarkable, activist resource that fosters appreciation of contemporary Latin American art around the world, both through its exhibitions and its support of ambitious, groundbreaking works from some of the region’s most exiting artists,” said Valdés Figueroa. “I feel a great affinity with CIFO’s mission and am thrilled to have the opportunity to contribute to the research initiatives of such an important collection.  I’m looking forward to working with CIFO to elevate the profile of Latin American art internationally and to continue to provide a dynamic platform for artists and their work.”


As an independent curator, he co-organized a number of exhibitions including Utopian Territories (various institutions, Vancouver, Canada, 1997), La Dirección de la Mirada (Stadthaus, Zürich, Switzerland; Musée de Beaux Arts, La Chaux-des-Fonds, Switzerland, 1998), and Cuba: Maps of Desires (Kunsthalle Wien, Austria; Kunstraum Innsbruck, Austria; NIKOLAJ Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center, Denmark, 1999), among many others. As a member of the international artistic collective RAIN, he co-curated the exhibitions 4D: Four Dimensions, Four Decades (Bienal de La Habana, Cuba 2003); Hallway (MAK, Vienna, 2001); Super-Mover (FotoFest, Houston, 2002); This Is My House (Schindler House-MAK Center, Los Angeles, 2001).


Valdés Figueroa is also a frequent contributor to magazines, books, and catalogues on contemporary art. He has collaborated  in editing several surveys published on Latin American art, including Cantos Contos Colombia Nos and Cantos Contos Colombia Nos – Encontros (Cobogó-Daros Latinamerica, 2013), Para Saber Escutar (Casa Daros, 2013), Pabellón Cuba: 4D: Four Dimensions, Four Decades (Ed. b-book, 2008), Guerra y Pá (Daros Latinamerica, 2004-2005).His essays have been included in Art Cuba: The New Generation (Harry N. Abrams, INC publishers, New York, 2001), Antología de textos críticos: el Nuevo Arte Cubano (Perceval Press, 2006), and Nosotros, los más infieles. Narraciones críticas sobre el arte cubano: 1993-2005 (CENDEAC, 2008), among other compilations.


* Image credit: Photo by Maria Victoria Allende




About CIFO

The Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation (CIFO) is dedicated to the exhibition, promotion, and support of Latin American artists who explore new directions in contemporary practice. Established in 2002 by Cuban-born art collector, philanthropist, and entrepreneur Ella Fontanals-Cisneros and her family, CIFO fosters cultural understanding and educational exchange through three primary initiatives: an exhibitions program showcasing international contemporary art from the Ella Fontanals-Cisneros Collection at the CIFO Art Space in Miami, Florida; a Grants and Commissions Program for emerging and mid-career visual artists from Latin America; and foundation-initiated support for other arts and culture projects. Over the past three years, CIFO has also begun to organize travelling exhibitions of works from the contemporary art holdings of CIFO and Ella Fontanals-Cisneros for museums and art institutions internationally, including the Museo Nacional de Bella Artes in Havana, Cuba; the Museum of Fine Arts of Boston; and Paço das Artes, Sao Paulo, Brazil, among others. CIFO’s current exhibition, the first solo presentation of work by Cuban artist Gustavo Pérez Monzón in over three decades, is currently on view at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Havana, Cuba.


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