The USC Fisher Museum of Art has maintained a special commitment to Latin American and Latino art for the last thirty-five years. The museum has mounted exhibitions and, crucially for a university museum, has organized significant conversations – encuentros – with artists, curators, critics and scholars hailing from a number of Latin American countries. Still, there has been no real contact with Cuba. In May of this year that changed when director Selma Holo accompanied a group of contemporary art collectors to Havana.
Considering this an orientation trip, Dr. Holo had no intention of buying anything. She says, “From the very first studio visit, I was hooked. Out of eleven formal studio and gallery visits, and two extended trips to the astonishing and iconoclastic Fábrica de Arte – where there were dozens more artists on exhibit – I surprised myself by purchasing six pieces for the Fisher Museum.” ¡Cuba! is enhanced by loans from other collectors on that trip: Barbara and Roger Hill, Loraine Despres Eastlake and Carelton Eastlake, Marsha and Ike Coron, Francoise Gerard, Christine and Robert Holo, along with Devra Breslow, Cristina Vives, and Darrel Couturier.
¡Cuba! was mounted just four months after the art was purchased. Our idea is to let our visitors in on what is interesting to the Fisher Museum right now, before the contemporary art of Cuba becomes an academic subject in university classrooms. At the same time, it is self-evident that these paintings, photographs, drawings and sculptural works are richly and deeply layered – some with specifically Cuban references and others with a wide range of personal, intellectual, political and collective allusions. Past and future inform each other; memory imbues imagination; art history becomes a mysterious engine.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website