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Artist Pulls Her Work From Bronx Museum of the Arts Cuba Exhibition

Artist Pulls Her Work From Bronx Museum of the Arts Cuba Exhibition
JAN. 26, 2017

A long-planned exchange of works between the Bronx Museum of the Arts
and the Cuban national collection, recently scrambled by the
complexities of international relations, has hit another snag.

Tania Bruguera, a prominent Cuban-born performance artist and activist
who has clashed in recent years with the Cuban authorities, is demanding
that her work not be included in the second half of the two-country
show, “Wild Noise/Ruido Salvaje,” and the museum has agreed to her request.

The Bronx Museum’s director, Holly Block, announced this week that the
exhibition’s second half, which was to have been a selection of works
lent to the Bronx from the National Museum of Fine Arts in Cuba, would
not take place as expected, after Cuban officials declined to allow
works to travel to the United States. In the summer of 2015, the Bronx
museum had lent more than 80 works from its permanent collection to the
National Museum to initiate the exchange. But Cuban museum officials
have demurred on continuing to cooperate, possibly because of questions
about whether state-owned art works from Cuba could be in danger of
being seized while in the United States to satisfy legal claims by
Americans whose property was confiscated in Cuba after Fidel Castro took
power in 1959.

The Bronx Museum decided to replace this half of the show with another
exhibition, scheduled to open Feb. 17, made up of some 60 pieces drawn
from public and private collections outside Cuba, representing many of
the artists whose works would have come from the national collection.

But Ms. Bruguera, one of the marquee artists in the new lineup, said in
an interview Thursday that she did not want her work to be included in
the show because she felt that Ms. Block’s exchange initiative relied
too closely on the Cuban government, which she opposes. (She has been
detained and questioned several times in Cuba during art performances
and other activities, most recently this month.) She added that she was
prevented by Cuban authorities, in 2015, from entering the national
museum in Havana to attend the exhibition for the first half of the
exchange and that Ms. Block did not intercede to help her.

“We asked her but she never signed anything protesting what was
happening to me or any of the artists in Cuba at the time who were being
oppressed,” Ms. Bruguera said. Her 1996 video performance, “Cabeza
Abajo/Head Down,” which is in the Bronx museum’s permanent collection,
was scheduled to be featured in the Bronx show.

Ms. Block, in an interview, said that she had interceded,
unsuccessfully, with National Museum officials in 2015 to try to help
Ms. Bruguera gain entry, though Ms. Block said that Ms. Bruguera had
been seeking to attend a different exhibition at the time, not “Wild
Noise/Ruido Salvaje.”

In a statement, Ms. Block said that the museum continued to support Ms.
Bruguera, but would honor her request. “The Museum has long recognized
and admired Tania Bruguera’s work,” the statement said. “We have
exhibited her artwork, presented programs with her and have been
instrumental in recommending her for awards.”

Source: Artist Pulls Her Work From Bronx Museum of the Arts Cuba
Exhibition – The New York Times –
www.nytimes.com/2017/01/26/arts/design/tania-bruguera-bronx-museum-cuba-exhibition.html?_r=0

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