Sin Autorización: Contemporary Cuban Art contextualizes contemporary Cuban art production within the political and intellectual environment that emerged during US President Barack Obama’s second term and its many changes in the years following.

Beginning in 2016, capital inflow was quickly evident in the Cuban art scene and civil society, which helped create a period filled with increasing hope and possibilities. This was abruptly halted in April 2018 with Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel’s signing of El Decreto #349 (Decree 349), a rigid censorship law requiring artists to obtain advance permission for exhibitions and performances. The repressive law triggered protests against the government’s increasing censorship of artistic expression.

Sin Autorización at the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery gathers together artists who fight against the Cuban government collectively through movements such as 27N or Movimiento San Isidro, but who have had little individual visibility and whose artistic work precedes activism. It covers a wide spectrum of media — video, sound, photography, graphic design, and painting — in order to recreate the dynamic of an art community now displaced and scattered. Exposing nuances of daily life in Cuba not reflected in official discourse, the exhibition relays how a young generation of Cuban artists experiment with culture and create work that engages not only their current experience, but that of previous generations. The show is conceived as an artifact to create solidarity through the feeling of loss by bringing together grief and melancholy, but also joy, enthusiasm, play, hope, and thoughtful objects.

Participating artists are: Lester Álvarez Meno, Kevin Ávila, Tania Bruguera, Marco A. Castillo, Santiago Díaz M., Kiko Faxas, Leandro Feal, Celia González, Román Gutiérrez Aragoneses, Celia-Yunior, Hamlet Lavastida, Reynier Leyva Novo, Julio Llópiz-Casal, Camila Lobón, Leyva, and Movimiento San Isidro (Yasser Castellanos, Maykel Osorbo and El Funky, Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, and Amaury Pacheco). Curated by Gwen A. Unger and Abel González Fernández.

Sin Autorización: Contemporary Cuban Art is on view at the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery at Columbia University in New York City through January 15, 2023.

For more information, visit wallach.columbia.edu.

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