Jersey City, NJ
During the thirties, forties and fifties of the last century, Havana was known for its casinos. Artists, mafiosi, politicians and smugglers would mingle with each other in an undercover prosperity of nightlife, salsa and fireworks. They would laugh and drink together. Attracted by this spiral of joy, affluent Americans would travel to Cuba. After the Revolution of 1959 and the rise of the Communist party to power, gambling establishments were shut down and their dazzling shine faded away. It was replaced by Las Vegas. Overnight, Americans managed to build a city in the middle of nowhere, which became the new center of entertainment. A city created in the heart of a desert used to satisfy their vices and the excess that Capitalism allowed.
This exhibition tries to confront two opposing ways to understand the world. On the one hand, the concept that Las Vegas represents, a paradigm of an idle society. On the other hand, Havana, a faded paradise that has become a wasteland of expectations, a place out of its time that has been isolated due to the failure of Egalitarianism.
A comparison between both cities is unacceptable. Each city is located in an extreme. The only thing that connects both cities is an anecdote, a small detail that ends up being crucial for the success of Las Vegas: Gambling. The shining star of Havana fades away in order for it to start dazzling in Las Vegas. These two opposing worlds that have stopped the urge of the world in the 20th century and paradoxically have ended up giving a meaning to emptiness, defeating motivations, leisure winning against work. Constructing dead routes leading nowhere.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website