Window Into Another Worldview

A historic and essential exhibit comes to the Walker Art Center

Illustrator: Katie Heywood

I was recently invited to a special preview event for a complex new exhibit at the Walker titled, “Adiós Utopia: Dreams and Deceptions in Cuban Art Since 1950.” The event included an enlightening walk through the exhibit with two of its curators: Gerardo Mosquera and Elsa Vega. The experience left me with a better understanding of how artists can be influenced by their reality and a new appreciation for what art can convey about the human experience.

The exhibit takes a critical look at how Cuba’s revolutionary period shaped art within the country during the last 65 years. This exhibit is the most extensive collection of Cuban art to be shown in America since 1944, giving it historic significance. The exhibit will only be shown twice—Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts held the exhibit earlier this year, and the Walker houses the exhibit from Nov. 11th until March 18th, 2018.

This exhibit is the most extensive collection of Cuban art to be shown in America since 1944, giving it historic significance.

I was impressed by the sheer size of the collection, which features many different mediums of artistic impression—paintings, photos, sculptures, videos, and even performance pieces, from over 50 different artists. Curator Gerardo Mosquera spoke about the difficult decisions the curators made when selecting which pieces of art to feature, and he stressed how many more weren’t able to be included. He also expressed that the layout of the exhibit was meticulously crafted—every piece was placed around the space with the goal of having each work of art incite a conversation with one another. Both curators highlighted the theme of “utopia” as we walked through each room of the collection. Every work of art in the exhibit tells a story of the fantasies and lies the people of Cuba experienced following Castro’s 1959 revolution.

With “Adios Utopia” the Walker once again brings a culturally significant art collection to the Twin Cities that will encourage creativity and inspire fascination.