Unconscious Thoughts Animate the World: Selections from the Shelley and Donald Rubin Private Collection

Magda Magda
Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons
The Flag. Color Code Venice 13, 2013
Polaroid photograph, nine panels of 29 3/4 x 22 3/4 in. each
Courtesy of the Shelley and Donald Private Collection
© Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons
November 3, 2016 – May 7, 2017

In 1962, when Cuba’s National Schools of Art was founded with a stated aim of educational equality, the resulting collapse of societal strata profoundly affected women, who began to practice their métiers alongside their male peers. This situation persists today, when female Cuban artists are routinely recognized—both nationally and internationally—for their work. The Shelley and Donald Rubin Private Collection of Cuban Art includes works by many of the island-nation’s foremost women artists. Spanning from the 1960s to the present, these works represent a wide range of media and genres. Collectively, they communicate—through a great diversity of artistic voices and expressive means—Cuba’s cultural heritage as well as notions of identity, both individual and collective. Thus while Antonia Eiriz represents the flaws and contradictions inherent to Cuba’s political model, Cirenaica Moreira and Aimée García engage with female stereotyping. Similarly, Belkis Ayón and Magdalena Campos-Pons address differences in race and gender by exploring Afro-Cuban religions. Rocío García, on the other hand, explores society’s sexual norms, while Sandra Ramos bears witness to key moments in Cuban history. In doing so, these artists invite us to think critically about the female condition, both locally and globally. They equally remind us of the powerful role art plays in interrogating societal norms and accepted power structures by targeting ideas that address cultural, psychological, sociological, and anthropological aspects of the female condition.

Additional support for Unconscious Thoughts Animate the World, was generously provided by Presenting Sponsor, Fiduciary Trust International, and Pewter Sponsor, Cernuda Arte.