Havana Biennial Takes Cuba by Storm
Cuba holds an air of mystique for many Americans, mostly due to the fact that is a forbidden fruit. Now, however, with travel restrictions more relaxed, more people can take advantage of a trip to a country that, for a while, had been off limits.
This détente couldn't come at a more perfect time. This year marks the 11th Biennial in Havana, Cuba, and it's an exciting moment for the art world. According to Cuban officials, more than 1,300 Americans have registered to attend this year's event. In fact, according to gallery runner Sandra Contreras, "Even though we've developed markets in Europe and Latin America, American collectors are still our principal buyers."
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The exhibition runs from May 11 to June 11 and has the contemporary work of artists from around the world on display. In total, 180 artists from 45 countries are represented in this smorgasbord of social commentary.
Of course, much of the art is of the local variety. As The New York Times points out, "Artists occupy an unusual and privileged place in Cuba, where they can not only push the boundaries of political critique further than many, but can also keep much of the money from sales."
This year further emphasis is placed on live performances and interactive pieces that involve the viewer. According to the biennial's organizing committee, "We set out for ourselves ... to transform the Cuban context and the public scenarios into a temporary laboratory of art experimentation."
For both viewers and artists alike, it is an experiment surely worth conducting.