JULY 17 - AUGUST 28, 1999
While Cuba Waits centers on work created by artists in the nineties, and calls attention to the distinctions between them and the artists of the eighties. The differences are rarely closely delineated since generations merge and work continues and overlaps. Nevertheless, the most obvious distinction is that the nineties are framed by the "Periodo especial"-a euphemistic term used to describe the period of economic and political upheaval defined by the end of glasnost and the withdrawal of Soviet financial support (from 1991 to the present).

Whatever the ideological interpretation given to the phenomena, it has radically changed life in Cuba and has been a definitive formative experience-providing a backdrop to the lives of the artists in the show-many of whom have never before exhibited in this country. In the eighties, artists were still able to find areas of potential dialogue within the ethical constrcuts that were inherent in the dreams of the Revolution. They sought to participate within a critical climate of change. Many of them moved back and forth between Cuba and Mexico or Miami before finally deciding-for a multiplicity of reasons-to leave Cuba. It both was and is a generational diaspora of immense significance, with the major figures living abroad.

The nineties generation has matured within the "Periodo especial"-the intellectual, emotional, and psychological consequences of which have still not been fully felt. What remains clear is that this generation has been deeply scarred by the discrediting of Soviet-style Socialism and the fall out it has precipitated in Cuba. The overriding cynicism of this generation is an inevitable defense mechanism-directed both against ideological beliefs and against the loaded interests of the art-world. Cuban artists are in fashion. International curators have been drawn by the mixture of young talent and the enthusiasm generated by the early editions of the Havana Bienale. They go shopping; the artists are for sale. These are the rules of the game, the lessons of survival.

Yet, the cynicism of the nineties generation in the face of disconcerting political and economic conditions, is not devoid of ethical undercurrents. It is a vehicle for reading, deconstructing, dazzling and questioning, and permits them to open up new critical spaces. They are insubordinate sons and daughters who laugh, comment, and ironize, but do not believe. As can be clearly seen in this exhibitioin, their deftly-rooted non-belief, their evident ease amidst contradiction, and the essence of their interrogative procedures set them apart from their predecessors.

Pedro Alvarez
Saidel Brito
Sandra Ceballos
Carmen Cabrera
Luis Gómez
Henry Eric Hernández
Yalili Mora
René Pena
Douglas Pérez
Ezequiel Suárez
Jose A. Vincench

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