Francisco Vicente Aguilera: The Diary and Death of a Cuban General In New York
Thursday, October 24, 2013
1:15 p.m., South Court Auditorium
Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
Fifth Avenue at 42 Street
The first war for Cuba’s independence broke out in October 1868, creating a flow of refugees that came primarily to New York. By 1870, Cuban New York had become the largest community of Latin Americans east of the Mississippi. As the war raged on and resources dwindled, the financial backing from the expatriate community for the Cuban rebels became even more critical. Yet, New York’s Cubans were sharply divided and incapable of uniting to effectively support the insurgents. In August of 1871, in a last-ditch effort to organize the émigrés, General Francisco Vicente Aguilera, the highly respected patrician and Vice President of the Cuban Republic in Arms, arrived in New York, where he struggled valiantly and unsuccessfully for nearly six years to bring the fractious exile community together before dying of throat cancer in his Manhattan home. The recent publication in Cuba of his New York diary throws a new light on the dynamics of Cuban New York and the forces that led to the failure of the 1868 conflict.
All programs are free, open to the public and subject to change or cancellation. Elevator access is at 42nd Street
STEALING BASE: CUBA AT BAT
Stealing Base: Cuba at Bat
Curated by Rachel Weingeist and Orlando Hernández
June 6th – September 6th 2013
The 8th Floor
Tuesday and Thursday 11 – 6 pm; Wednesday 12 – 7 pm and by appointment.
May 1st, 2013, NEW YORK, NY —The 8th Floor is pleased to present Stealing Base: Cuba at Bat, a visual exploration of baseball through the varied perspectives of Cuban-born artists. The exhibition includes installation, video, and painting by established and emerging artists Jeosviel Abstengo-Chaviano, Alejandro Aguilera, Carlos Cárdenas, Arístedes Hernández (ARES), Yunier Hernández Figueroa, Rafael Lopez-Ramos, Duniesky Martín, Alfredo Manzo, Frank Martínez, Bernardo Navarro, Reynier Leyva Novo, Juan Padrón, Douglas Pérez, Arles del Río, Antuan Rodriguez, Perfecto Romero, Reynerio Tamayo, José Toirac, Harold Vázquez Ley, and Villalvilla. The exhibition features work by artists never before seen in the New York.
“Baseball is today, without distinction of classes, age and sex, the preferred diversion of all [Cubans].”
– El Sport (Havana), Sept. 2, 1886
The arrival of baseball in Cuba coincided with the emergence of the independence movement in 1868. The sport quickly became a collective emblem of national identity. A love for baseball connects Cubans across race, religion, politics and geography. Pop-flys, stolen bases, and home runs provide meaningful and accessible imagery for Cuban artists. Responding not only to the sport as national pastime, their work has further sought to convey larger complexities within Cuban society. Stealing Base presents the work of a diverse range of contemporary artists, living in Cuba and in the US, who have found potency in the imagery of the sport.
In El Cuarto Bate (The Cleanup Hitter), Reynerio Tamayo depicts, in his playful cartoon-like style, the figure of an addled baseball player with a ship of characters—La Caridad del Cobre, a santero, fans—upon his shoulders, carrying the weight of the Cuban people’s expectations. The player wearing a national uniform emblemizes the importance of baseball as a welcomed distraction from every day struggle. Conversely, Arles del Río’s sculpture Hoping that Things Fall from the Sky suggests a more stark perspective. A skeletal bronze arm reaches up from a tattered concrete base. A well-worn baseball mitt stretched into the air waits for something that it seems will never come. Frank Martinez’s precise charcoal drawing, Another Way to Overcome the Boundaries, juxtaposes a player reaching for a fly ball against the construction of the Berlin Wall. Just out of his grasp, the ball passes over the heads of the military officers laying bricks. Viewers are prompted to consider the success of baseball as a Cuban cultural ambassador. Considering both salt as a remnant and a resource in his photographic series The Limits of Salt, Harold Vázquez Ley uses the ubiquitous mineral to create forms that resemble sports highlights from black and white periodicals. The potent image captures the thrill of a hitter’s first contact, while the use of grains of salt, an essential commodity, prompts viewers to question their role as spectators distracted by the thrill of sport as resources are quickly depleting.
Stealing Base: Cuba at Bat is a result of a continued collaboration between Orlando Hernández, Havana-based curator, and Rachel Weingeist, Director and Curator, The 8th Floor, with an exhibition essay by Mr. Hernández. A series of events celebrating baseball and Cuban culture will take place throughout the summer, including film screenings and artists’ talks. To inaugurate the exhibition, an artists’ reception will be held on Thursday, June 6th from 6-8 pm. For the duration of the exhibition, The 8th Floor will be open to the public Tuesdays and Thursdays 11-6 and Wednesday 12-7 pm and by appointment. For more information please contact Anna Gonick, email@example.com or (646) 738-3988.
The 8th Floor is a private exhibition and event space established to promote cultural and philanthropic initiatives. Opened in 2010, the space features exhibitions inspired by the Shelley and Donald Rubin Private Collection. Under the direction of curator Rachel Weingiest, and working with partners in Cuba, recent shows have primarily focused on the presentation of contemporary Cuban art. In addition to public exhibitions, The 8th Floor hosts a range of events in support of the interests of The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation.
Gabriela Alejandra Martinez Mendez
530 West 25th Street, New York 212.226.4151
The young Cuban artist Gabriela Alejandra Martinez Mendez works in an Expressionist style, translating feelings and emotions into vigorous, thick brushstrokes, which she layers into dense and thickly impastoed compositions bursting with energy, tones, and textures. Her mixed media works may evoke landscapes or human figures, and occasionally incorporate fragments of text, yet they remain thoroughly abstract, their mottled, dripped, and splattered paints creating exquisite gradients of color and fascinating surface tensions. By superimposing such elements, she creates moments of surprise, revealing unexpected, concealed hues and shifting styles of application.
The incredibly rich variety in this work, in terms of both its formal and emotional elements, makes for an exceptionally powerful viewing experience, particularly in the artist’s very large-scale canvases. The paintings have a captivating, sublime quality about them, evoking at once decay and the romantic beauty of the classical ruin. This duality adds enormously to each abstract work, rendering the emotional and aesthetic impact so palpable that the pieces practically become figurative.
Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club
8:00 p.m., Rose Theater
Jazz at Lincoln Center
Since the Cuban all-stars known as the Buena Vista Social Club last visited the United States in 2003, iconic founding members guitarist- vocalist Compay Segundo, vocalist Ibrahim Ferrer, and pianist Rubén González have passed away. The current 13-piece iteration, Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club, features founding-generation luminaries like vocalist Omara Portuondo, trumpeter Guajiro Mirabal, laúd player Barbarito Torres, guitarist-vocalist Eliades Ochoa, and trombonist- vocalist Jesus “Aguaje” Ramos, and has been invigorated by recent recruits like vocalists Carlos Calunga and pianist Rolando Luna. This vital Cuban cultural institution will animate Rose Theater, presenting the stylistic tributaries that feed Cuba’s extraordinary 20th century musical legacy with passion, taste, and a fresh modern sensibility.
Tickets start at $30: http://jalc.org/events/event/t-1534#.UgzURHbD8lY