Artists in Purgatory, contains the work of more than seventy Cuban artists who, beginning about 1989, abandoned the island of Cuba, but not Cuba. / The collector, Jorge Reynardus, in the book’s title, associates their condition with Purgatory, for he decided that these artists have been living there for two decades. / They emigrated to Spain, France, and Mexico and almost all now live in New Jersey or Miami, a few in other countries. / Cuba is still the muse, but it has been colored by the life experience of these emigrant artists who abroad have found no place to which they artistically belong. / With this book [the authors] are trying to forge new recognition of these artists within the contemporary art world -- among galleries, museums, collectors, aficionados -- a new definition of their artistic status that will end the collective isolation. / We all know that the torment in Purgatory doesn’t last forever.
Artists in Purgatory fills an editorial gap regarding the analysis and story of an important chapter in Cuban art since the publication of Outside Cuba in 1987.
Artists in Purgatory narrates a period that starts after 1990 with the individual and collective exodus of hundreds of Cuban artists who left the island of Cuba to live abroad. While this is not the exclusive province of the generation of the 1980s, the story touches upon the protagonists from 1975 on and even past the 1990s.
The format consists of individual chapters by leading historians, critics, gallery principals, and academics. It starts with an introduction by William Kennedy, a Pulitzer prize winner, followed by my own personal statement and Aldo Menendez’ account of this unique story.
Artists in Purgatory also includes chapters by Ricardo Pau Llosa, Gerardo Mozquera, Nina Menocal, Janet Batet, Dennys Matos, and Silvia Pedraza. Dr. Pedraza, a sociologist from the University of Michigan, conducted in-depth interviews of a dozen artists.
In addition to more than seventy images of art in the Reynardus art collection, Artists in Purgatory includes hundreds of photographs never published of the artists and the events from the 1980s in Cuba and later.
Mr. Kennedy, a Pulitzer prize winner in 1984 and frequent participant on issues relating to
Cuba, will add his words and views on the book jacket. Kennedy is the author of several well-known novels such as Seix Barral, Roscoe and Cotton Club (later made into a Richard Gere movie). He also wrote the screen play for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest for which Jack Nicholson won an Oscar.
This globally recognized and honored writer, known for his love of Cuban art, has written a thoughtful and critical foreword of the book.
Chapter One is titled: Different Destinies: Cuban Artists Émigrés after the fall of the Soviet Union.
It will cover when, why and how he left Cuba, his immigrant experience, education, professional life and his connection to the artists.
Reynardus is a board member of the Hispanic Federation and a Commissioner for New York
City’s Media and Entertainment Commission. He holds a MBA degree from the Harvard Business School and a law degree from the University of Puerto Rico.
(the book editor)
Chapter Two is titled: Boxing, Suicidal, and Malleable.
Aldo was a well-known Cuban artist who played a prominent role in the artistic movement of the 1980s in Cuba, he established a printing space titled “Taller Portocarrero” that became a home for most of the artists as well as a place for innovation in the Cuban art scene. Aldo’s essay will cover the story of the various important groups of the era. He will also frame the historical and socio political context of the period.
Chapter Two starts with an introduction written by Norberto Fuentes. Fuentes is the author of Hemingway in Cuba and The Autobiography of Fidel Castro.
Chapter Three is titled: Diaspora, Metonymy, and The Cuban Imagination
Poet, writer, critic, art lecturer and curator, Ricardo wrote Outside of Cuba which covers the earlier immigrant artists from Cuba. His essay will discuss the most recent work of the artists in the book and his projection for the future
Chapter Four is titled: The New Cuban Art
Gerardo Mosquera, a curator and art critic based in Havana, Cuba. Mosquera was curator at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York. His publications include several books on art and art theory. He is the current artistic director (2011–2013) of PhotoEspaña, Madrid. His essay is an edited version of a chapter in the book Postmodernism and the Postsocialist Condition University of California Press
Chapter Five is titled: Recollections…Ninart: The Early Years
Nina is featured in Claudia Herstatt’s, Women Gallerists of the 20th and 21st Centuries as one of the 30 most important gallerists in the world. Nina is a great granddaughter of a former Cuban president and resides in Mexico City. Nina’s essay will cover the Cuban artists living in Mexico and how Mexican culture has influenced their work.
Chapter Six is titled: Between Cuba and Spain: Art beyond the Marginsdeals with those Cuban artists who migrated to Europe, and particularly Spain.
Dennys Matos, a highly respected Cuban author and critic residing in Spain, will write about this group. Dennys’s most recent book, Paisajes-Metaforas de Nuestro Tiempo, studies contemporary art and culture post communism.
Chapter Seven is titled: Salpeter. Some notes on Cuban art outside of Cuba
Janet Batet, a prominent art critic living in Miami. Batet writes for the Miami Herald and contributes work for Art Nexus, Art Pulse, Arte al Día, Art Experience NYC and Art District. She will contribute an essay narrating many of the incredible efforts carried out by some of these artists to leave Cuba
Chapter Eight is titled: Art, Politics, Exile: The Generation of the ‘80s in Cuba
Silvia Pedraza, PhD, a sociologist from the University of Michigan. Her most recent book is Political Disaffection in Cuba’s Revolution and Exodus. Dr. Pedraza is an expert on the subject of Cuban immigrants; she will contribute an essay based on interviews of selected artists
(also the official photographer of the collection)
Juan Pablo Ballester
María Magdalena Campos Pons
Carlos R. Cardenas
Luis Cruz Azaceta
Ana Albertina Delgado
Mario Garcia Joya (Mayito)
Ismael Gomez Peralta
José Ángel Herrera
Katia Garcia Fayat
Rogelio Lopez (Gory)
Rafael Lopez Ramos
Aldo Damián (Maldito) Menéndez
(also the book editor)
Eduardo Muñoz Ordoquis
Yoel Perez Rojas
Carlos Perez Vidal
Marta María Pérez
Angel Ramirez (Vapor)
Antonio Eligio Fernández (Tonel)
Ruben Torres Llorca
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