El Nuevo Herald
Published on Saturday, March 15, 2014
Journey through the history of Cuban art 
Janet Batet
With over a hundred museum quality pieces, Wifredo Lam and the Great Cubans, on view at Gary Nader Art Center in the Wynwood District, is a must see exhibition.
Using as a bridge and leitmotiv the top figure of Wifredo Lam (1902-1982), the exhibition is a journey through the history of Cuban art. It is no accident that it is the very particular world of Lam who takes us by the hand through this fascinating journey. "Lam is the most iconic figure of Cuban art," explained Gary Nader. "His scope is worldwide. Ourselves, we have made three retrospectives at the gallery. Now on display, we have very important works. Two of them are intended to the museum we are planning to open in Miami. "
Victor Manuel (1897-1969) acts as the inaugural essential milestone that marks the beginning of the Cuban avant-garde tradition. Two of his portraits are included in the show with his typical window perspective where foreground poses the "criollo" type revealing in the background the Havana's suburb. From this period of Cuban historical avant-garde associated with the exhibition Arte Nuevo from 1927 there are works by Art Amelia Pel�ez, Carlos Enr�quez and Fidelio Ponce.
Special attention deserves La Fuite, 1945, from Carlos Enr�quez (1900-1957). Influenced by the expressionism and surrealism, the work is imbued with a deep autobiographical sense. Eco one of the most poignant moments of the painter's life, La Fuite tells the rupture of Carlos Enriquez with his second wife, Eva Fr�javille. The harrowing scene of great symbolic force comprises two fundamental focuses of tension. In the foreground, the bare mattress on the floor where Eva lies, fruit of the desire and passion summarized in the kiss that becomes blood. Avid sperms and the prancing horse as spirit rising from the bed symbolize the wounded lover. In the background, the Huron Azul - the artist's studio and niche of love - tells Eva's escape who in 1945 abandoned the artist with the English Cynthia Carleton.
Without attempting a chronological logic that would scratch in the monotony, the exhibition happily weaves pieces of different generations and styles in a nice polyphony of Cuban art voices. Along with the works of Mario Carre�o, Pel�ez, Angel Acosta Le�n, Ren� Portocarrero, Mariano Rodriguez and Rafael Soriano, are the works of Carlos Alfonzo, Jos� Bedia, Pedro Alvarez, Luis Cruz Azaceta, Julio Larraz, Los Carpinteros, Armando Mari�o, Rub�n Torres Llorca and Carlos Quintana stimulating in the receptor interesting counterpoints and unexpected analogies.
In this sense, the associations generated between the artworks and the poetics of Acosta Le�n (1930-1964) and Alfonzo (1950-1991) are revealing. Metamorphosis by Acosta Le�n and Moment and Incident by Alfonzo, are highly revealing in this regard.
 Wifredo Lam and the Great Cubans is a selection made mostly from the Cuban art funds from the collection of Gary Nader Art Center, says its director, Nader, the idea is to offer an avant-go�t of the great dream that has him obsessed over 25 years: "We have organized this exhibition in Miami because it is where the Cuban community is largest. Many of these pieces will be donated to the Museum of Latin American Art we want to open. For 25 years I have been dreaming of a Museum of Latin American Art in Miami. "       
With regards to the museum, Nader explains that the planned facility will have about 180,000 sq. ft., four or five permanent exhibition halls and between seven and eight spaces for traveling exhibitions. Very soon, in the gallery people may be able to see on display a maquette of the museum, the gallery's owner envisions its headquarters in the downtown area of the city.
"Miami is a great city. We already have a fabulous museum of contemporary art, "says Nader referring to PAMM," we must now open one of Latin American art because Miami is a cosmopolitan city and the crossroad to Latin America. There is so much excitement and we hope that we can open it within the next four or five years."
With regard to contemporary art, Nader exposes that the institution will draw on the most prestigious art galleries in Latin America and the board of directors and art critics to buy works and the acquisition is expected to start from now.
"We are planning an auction, a catalog and a concert to raise funds. We are already having conversations with Juan Luis Guerra, Shakira, Gloria Estefan, Juanes, who are also great friends and art lovers. The Marlins owner has already given us their stadium free for this event. As I say, the enthusiasm is general. It is a very viable and attractive project. This is a dream of many years and a debt that I have with the city of Miami.
Wifredo Lam and the Great Cubans encloses works by Abela, Acosta Le�n, Alfonzo, Pedro Alvarez, Hernan Bas, Jos� Bedia, Cundo Berm�dez, Agust�n C�rdenas, Carre�o, Luis Cruz Azaceta, Carlos Enr�quez, Agust�n Fern�ndez, Gay Garcia, Alexis Leyva Machado (Kcho), Lam, Larraz, Victor Manuel, Armando Mari�o, Manuel Mendive, Pel�ez Ponce, Portocarrero, Carlos Quintana, Mariano Rodriguez, Tomas Sanchez, and Ruben Torres Llorca Soriano. The exhibition will be open until late March
Batet Janet is a writer, curator and art critic. She writes for various publications, galleries and museums.
'Wifredo Lam and the Great Cubans' at Gary Nader Art Center, 62 NE 27th St., www.garynader.com
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