Sandra Barrera reviews “Cuba Is”


In “Cuba’s subculture comes into focus in the Annenberg Space for Photography’s exhibit,” Sandra Barrera (Los Angeles Daily News) reviews “Cuba Is,” on view at Annenberg Space for Photography, 2000 Avenue of the Stars, Los Angeles, California. Read full article at Los Angeles Daily News to see Barrera’s analysis of 5 outstanding photographs in the exhibition. [Many thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention.]

Rethink everything you think you know about Cuban culture.

“It’s not accurate,” says Iliana Cepero, a Cuban art historian and scholar who has assembled “Cuba Is” at the Annenberg Space for Photography in Century City.

The exhibition, which opened Sept. 9, is a multimedia look into contemporary Cuban life, featuring 120 photos, a virtual reality club experience and a documentary produced for the exhibit that highlights the featured photographers on assignment. It runs through March 4 as part of Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, a far-reaching and ambitious exploration of Latin-American and Latino art in dialogue with L.A. at more than 70 cultural institutions across Southern California.

In the Annenberg’s exhibition, photographers — Cuban, Cuban-American, American, one Italian, and one Spanish-Chilean — challenge long held perceptions. Cuba is not a country frozen in time like “Buena Vista Social Club” or the animated music film “Chico and Rita” have reinforced.

“That romantic aura comes from not being able to access the country for so many years,” Cepero says, adding that before 1959, Cuba was a popular destination for Americans in search of a nightlife comparable to New York and Paris. “People have created this mental image of what Cuba is and what Cuba was, and it’s kind of superficial.”

The reality, she adds, is “it’s very rich, it’s very complex, and this show is trying to convince us of that complexity.” [. . .]

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