Support Hyperallergic’s independent arts journalism.
Cuban artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, who has been on a hunger and thirst strike for seven days, was forcibly hospitalized by state police in the capital city of Havana on Sunday morning, activists told Hyperallergic. Alcántara, a leader of the dissident San Isidro Movement (SIM), is an outspoken advocate for creative freedom on the island. He began his strike after security forces raided his house and studio in late April, allegedly confiscating several artworks and detaining the artist.
“He didn’t ask to be taken from his house, he didn’t ask to receive medical attention from the Cuban public health system. This is a kidnapping,” Camila Remón, one of five members of SIM based in Miami, told Hyperallergic in an interview. “His demands were clear: for his art to be returned, for the police siege of his home to end, and for the government to respect freedom of creation.”
Most of the works taken from Alcántara belong to his Caramelos sin saliva (“Candy Without Saliva”) series, which are symbolic paintings of candy wrappers decrying poverty and scarcity through Cuban children’s want of sweets. “Garrote Vil,” a sculpture imitating a strangulation device that the artist has used in several performance pieces, was also seized.
“Most alarming right now is the lack of any news about him,” said Remón. “The movement’s campaign is now focused on demanding proof of life.” The hospital, Calixto García in the Vedado neighborhood, has issued conflicting reports of the artist’s health, and friends and family have not been allowed to visit or contact him, she adds. Cuban police has besieged the homes of several other activists on the island, including San Isidro members Amaury Pacheco and Iris Ruiz, and photographer Javier Caso recently announced a hunger strike in solidarity with Alcántara.
“I believing the dictatorship is employing a policy of isolation. They saw the power social media can have, and they won’t allow another 27N,” Remón added, referring to a sit-in held outside the Ministry of Culture in Havana on November 27, 2020. Convened to protest the arbitrary arrest of Denis Solís, a young Cuban rapper jailed for insulting a police officer, the demonstration made international headlines.
The Cuban Embassy in Washington, D.C. has not yet responded to Hyperallergic’s request for comment.
Archeologists can now prove the Vikings made landfall in the Americas hundreds of years before Columbus reached the Bahamas.
This week, the National Gallery of Art finally acquired a major work by Faith Ringgold, the director of The Velvet Underground talks film, North America’s Hindu Nationalist problem, canceling legacy admissions, and more.
No Vacancy, curated by Jody Graf, will be on view from October 26 through November 8 at the school’s Kellen Gallery in New York City.
Sculptures of Oaxacan alebrijes, envisioned as guardians of the nation’s immigrant community, and catrinas, Day of the Dead skeletons, are now at Rockefeller Center.
“I am trying to keep the immediacy of my emotional experience while I’m painting.”
Art by Athena LaTocha, Wendy Red Star, Marianne Nicolson, Anita Fields, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith & Neal Ambrose-Smith, and more is on view through January 2022.
The intention behind the seemingly bizarre combination was, according to Attie, “to give visual form to the shared American and Brazilian reality of nationalistic divisions that defines our political present.”
Nowhere in the museums’ advertising blitzkrieg for the performance were we told to bring our wildfire-season masks as well as our covid masks, and covid masks don’t prevent smoke inhalation.