Outsider Artists from Havana at the Frost Art Museum

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“Outsider Artists from Havana” at the Frost Art Museum through June 3, 2018.

While “Dangerous Women” on the second floor is the headliner exhibit at the Frost, any visitor would be well served to take in the remaining two shows on the first and third floors.

“Outsider Artists from Havana”on the first floor is a delightful show featuring two Cuban artists recognized for their excellence in outsider art: Misleidys Castillo and Jorge Alberto Hernández Cadi.

Art critic Roger Cardinal coined the term “outsider art” in 1972 to reflect those works created outside the mainstream art world, typically by untrained individuals. The artists in this instance is akin to an aeolian harp that seemingly channels creativity from a universal source.

“With these two artists, they’re actually fairly well-known both in Havana and elsewhere,” Pomeroy says.

In fact, Castillo has shown at NADA during Art Basel. “When you look at it, if you didn’t read the text, it looks like a lot of contemporary art. It doesn’t scream ‘outsider’ or self-taught,” Pomeroy says.

Castillo is reportedly deaf, mute and autistic. Hernández, who is known as El Buzo – which, depending on the translation, can mean diver, frogman, scavenger or boiler suit – was reportedly diagnosed as bipolar and schizophrenic. Their show, which runs through June 3, was produced in conjunction with the National Art Exhibitions of the Mentally Ill Foundation, the Frost Art Museum and FIU the psychiatry department.

Castillo creates cartoonish figural renderings in bright, cheerful colors. They are instantly recognizable in that often depict body-builders in briefs and the artist uses numerous strips of tan tape to hold the images in place.

Hernández, on the other hand, meticulously cuts out heads and eyes from black-and-white photographs. He creates curio boxes that include these pasted images on the covers or tucked away inside. Sometimes he stitches thread around these images or draws a companion image, such as a shadow, devil horns or forked tongues.

 

 

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