Wednesday, 18 January 2017 15:29

January 18, 2017 | Adiós Utopia: Dreams and Deceptions in Cuban Art Since 1950










The Cisneros Fontanals Fundación Para Las Artes (CIFO Europa)’s Adiós Utopia: Dreams and Deceptions in Cuban Art Since 1950



Opens at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston in March 2017 and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis in November 2017


The Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation (CIFO) will also publish a comprehensive book, Adiós Utopia: Art in Cuba Since 1950, to accompany the exhibition



The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston | March 5 – May 29, 2017

Walker Art Center, Minneapolis | November 11, 2017 – March 18, 2018


Curated by Elsa Vega, René Francisco and Gerardo Mosquera, this exhibit will travel to the US’s most iconic art museums.



 raul martinez press release


Raúl Martínez, Rosas y Estrellas (Roses and Stars), 1972, oil on canvas, Patricia & Howard Farber Collection, New York. © Archivo Raúl Martínez and The Farber Collection




(Miami, FL, January 18, 2017) The Cisneros Fontanals Fundación Para Las Artes (CIFO Europa) is pleased to announce that its exhibition Adiós Utopia: Dreams and Deceptions in Cuban Art Since 1950 will be showcased for the first time at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (March 5 – May 29, 2017). The exhibition will then travel to The Walker Center, Minneapolis (November 11, 2017 – March 18th, 2018), with future venues yet to be announced. Adiós Utopia: Dreams and Deceptions in Cuban Art Since 1950 is a project conceived by the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation (CIFO) and organized in partnership with the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and the Walker Art Center,  Minneapolois. This exhibition is curated by Cuban curators Gerardo Mosquera, René Francisco, 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.


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, founder of CIFO. One of the areas of interest in her international collection is distinguished by a strong concentration in Cuba’s lesser-known modern and contemporary artists since the 1950s; these works enrich the narrative of the exhibition’s first section.


“CIFO is a platform for Latin American art to the world, and CIFO Europa strives to expand the mission and reach of the foundation in the U.S. and around the world,” said Fontanals-Cisneros. “We are proud to collaborate with these prestigious institutions and bring this notable exhibition to cities across the U.S.”


Adiós Utopia: Dreams and Deceptions in Cuban Art Since 1950  is the largest and most important exhibition of contemporary art from Cuba to date. The exhibition is composed of over 100 pieces by more than 50 artists that provide a dynamic view of their associations with a new vision of Cuban art based on the utopic spirit that defines the Cuban revolution and its impact on art.Instead of providing audiences with a historic narration, the exhibition establishes a visual and conceptual dialogue that proposes a different and unedited interpretation of the changes in modern and contemporary art in Cuba within a local and global context.


“Cuba’s artists have been variously supported, controlled, challenged, and promoted by the Cuban government. They also had to confront unusual obstacles stemming from Cuba’s isolation under the U.S. embargo. All of these factors translate into unusually complex careers and experiences,” said Mari Carmen Ramírez, the Wortham Curator of Latin American Art at the MFAH. “Adiós Utopia will bring Cuban and American colleagues together in an unprecedented collaboration to focus on the artistic experience on the island, as Cuba’s artists wrestled with the hopes, realities, and contradictions of an embargoed social utopia.”


Adiós Utopia showcases important paintings, graphics, photos, videos, installations and performances that took place in Cuba during the last six decades. They each represent key moments in history: from the mid-20th century, to the romanticism of the triumphant revolution in 1959, to the post-revolutionary euphoria, the alienation with the Soviet Union through the Cold War, followed by the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and its consequences on the Island to date. It focuses on works produced on the Island, even if the artists are no longer living there.


A related, comprehensive book by CIFO entitled Adiós Utopia: Art in Cuba Since 1950, published in both English and Spanish, will accompany the exhibition at all its venues.  The book includes a selection of images of emblematic works that go beyond the ones featured in the show. With essays by Antonio Eligio (Tonel), Rachel Weiss, Iván de la Nuez, Elsa Vega, Gerardo Mosquera, and René Francisco as well as a comprehensive chronology by Beatriz Gago Rodríguez, the book focuses on the evolution of the utopian concept and ideologies within revolutionary and post-revolutionary artistic production on the Island. Whether artists were supported, controlled, suppressed or embraced by the political environment in Cuba, the ideas expressed throughout the essays present alternative perspectives from today’s standpoint. The chronology creates a frame of reference by bringing light to the events that have influenced and transformed the art of the last 65 years by creating an illustrated narrative that includes historical photographs, archival documents, and images of artwork and publications that have symbolic value and have become part of an iconography of Cuban art and culture.


“To produce the Adiós Utopia exhibit was a Herculean task that would have not been possible without the invaluable experience, knowledge and hard work of the curators,” said Eugenio Valdes Figueroa, Director and Chief Curator at CIFO.  “We are so honored to have these same curators, as well as other distinguished authors contribute to the accompanying publication that will become a reference book for the study of Cuban art history.”


For more information about Adiós Utopia: Dreams and Deceptions in Cuban Art Since 1950, its venues and dates as well as and CIFO’s complete program and schedule, please visit Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.




About the Curators

René Francisco, a longtime curator and internationally recognized contemporary artist, has been a professor at Havana’s Instituto Superior de Arte (ISA) since the 1990s. In 1989 he founded the educational project DUPP, Desde Una Pedagogía Pragmática (From a Pedagogical Pragmatic), which was awarded a UNESCO prize in 2000 during the 7th Bienal de La Habana. He holds an honorary doctorate in fine arts from the San Francisco Art Institute (2001), and was recognized with the prestigious Cuban National Prize in Fine Arts (2010). His artwork has been exhibited internationally, including in Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, the United States and China.


Gerardo Mosquera is an independent art critic, curator, historian and writer, based in Havana and Madrid. He is advisor to the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam, Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City, and other international art centers. He was a co-founder of the Havana Biennial in 1984; Curator at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; Artistic Director of PhotoSpain 2011, 2012 and 2013 in Madrid; co-curator of the 3rd Documents exhibition in Beijing; and was recently Chief Curator of the 4th San Juan Poly/Graphic Triennial 2015. Author of numerous texts and books on contemporary art and art theory, he is a member of the advisory board of several international art journals. He has lectured extensively in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, Latin America and North America. He received the Guggenheim Fellowship in 1990.


Elsa Vega specializes in Cuban art of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, and has been curator of Cuban art at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (MNBA) since 1993. Her curated exhibit Otras perspectivas del arte Cubano, (Other Perspectives on Cuban Art) 1951-1963 has been on permanent display at the MNBA in Havana since July 2001. A member of the Cuban National Heritage Commission, Vega has organized numerous national collection exhibitions and co-curated a number of international exhibitions in Brazil, Canada, Holland, and Spain, and has twice been awarded the Annual Prize for Cultural Research.


About CIFO:

Ella Fontanals-Cisneros established the non-profit Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation (CIFO), in 2002. The foundation’s mission is to support and foster cultural understanding and educational dialogue among Latin American artists and global audiences. CIFO is a platform for emerging, mid-career and established Latin American artists through the Grants & Commissions Program, the CIFO Collection, the CIFO Art Space and other related art and cultural projects in the United States of America and internationally.


About CIFO Europa:

As an additional branch to CIFO Miami, CIFO Europe is a non-profit organization established by Ella Fontanals-Cisneros and her family to support artists who are exploring new directions in contemporary art. CIFO fosters cultural understanding and educational exchange through three primary initiatives: a Grants and Commissions Program for emerging and mid-career visual artists from Latin America; an exhibitions program showcasing international contemporary art from the Ella Fontanals-Cisneros Collection at the CIFO Art Space; and foundation-initiated support for other arts and culture projects.




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