Cuban new media art explored in new ESMoA exhibit

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A report by Michael Hixon for The Beach Reporter.

President Barack Obama’s act of restoring diplomatic relations with Cuba at the end of 2014 could drastically change the cultural and artistic course of the island. But Cuban artists have used video and new media to explore its past and contemplate its future for decades.

The new exhibit “Hope,” which opens to the public Sunday, Sept. 17, at the art laboratory ESMoA (El Segundo Museum of Art), looks at Cuban society through new media art, from the 1970s to present day with apps, projections and other installations. “Hope” is also presented as part of the Getty-led “Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA,” an exploration of Latin American and Latino art, taking place through January 2018, at more than 60 location across Southern California.

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Frency Fernandez, who co-curated “Hope” with Ley Ma, said that art has always been “strongly connected to political issues in Cuba.”

“It’s about topics that are very connected, which are political, ideological or social issues, that are important for us,” Fernandez said. “But at the same time can be shared in a global way because we are living now in terms of western culture more often. Society (Cuban) now is more open, more connected, but at the same time full of tradition internally.”

The “Hope” community opening takes place Sept. 17, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with curatorial remarks from Fernandez and Ma.

ESMoA, along with six other museums, will take part in South Bay/Long Beach Shuttle Art Tour, which takes place Sept. 23 and 24, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The free shuttle was created by the South Bay/Long Beach Hub, a collective of local art institutions produced with Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA.

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