The Mojito Path to Political Correctness


“Killing Time”, is an exhibit curated by a visionary, a modern-day Piranesi, and two unknowns. This recipe for mediocrity is the product of “socio-lism.” From the Cuban slang, “socio” means buddy. Glexis Novoa, the main curator, is a serious artist with important museum monographs to his credit. How did two other curators appear in the picture? Would it be “kunstwelt” (art world) politics or “socio-lism”? How about the list of artists? Is it the result of rigorous canons of scholarship or “socio-lism”?
Would it be “socio-lism” or politics that explains Exit Art’s silence on one of the curators Mr. Elvis Fuentes’ possibility of conflict of interest with his full-time job at El Museo del Barrio and his art consultancy for Puerto Rico’s CIRCA art fair? That is, at least, an appearance of impropriety frowned upon in professional circles.

Cuba’s isolation has made most Americans idealize its educational achievements. It is, alas, an inflated myth. Do Mr. Elvis Fuentes and Ms. Yukisladys Villalonga have BA’s or Masters’ degrees? Have they studied in the United States or European universities There should be at Exit somebody trained with the rigor of art history in real universities, not to have a First World Eurocentric perspective, but to have the assurance of strict historical methodology and philosophical training.

Exit Art’s announcement mentions the curators’ experience in European museums, especially time spent in Aachen, Germany. Caught by surprise, these Aachen curators, if asked to talk about Alcuin of York might be at a loss for words. Having spent time in Aachen, I took the opportunity to study Carolingian art and the illuminated manuscripts of the Ottonian period. It has been an interest of mine to look at the correspondence between the production from German monasteries and the great Spanish Beato de Liébana (as in Morgan Beatus). Could this make me a curator of Cuban art?

The evening at EXIT was a spectacular success. It was an occasion to feel “politically correct,” truly outside the mainstream. The New York intellectual bourgeoisie enjoyed the product of a member of UNEAC (Castro’s fossilized intellectual and artistic police, those who made life impossible for gay artists like Reinaldo Arenas). It was a rare and poignant opportunity to welcome people from exotic “enemy soil:” Cuba. Artists and so-called curators like Yukisladys Villalonga proved to be the exotic fauna during a West Side spring evening. Exit Art hosted an arty and “subversive” West-Side cocktail party put together by a Havana-based curator and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. It was meant to open New Yorkers’ eyes to what the embargo and the Republicans have tried to hide. The event is nothing more than bourgeois political praxis against George W. Those too lazy for political activism against corruption, an unexplained and inexplicable war, and incompetence go to cocktails. Nothing there is more therapeutic than to feel politically correct, mojito in hand. Interestingly, in the roster of artists, there is a number of loud anti-Communist voices this side of the Strait of Florida. Somehow, they do not seem to mind Ms. Villalonga’s official UNEAC affiliation. Could this newfound flexibility be explained as the product of a New York exhibit at Exit?

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