The 21c Museum Hotel has added two distinctive new sculptures outside the hotel/restaurant/art museum complex, both related to the current “Cuba Now” exhibition.
Armando Marino’s 2010 sculpture “The Raft” is positioned in front of 21c, on the corner of Seventh and Main streets downtown.
From the 21c news release:
“The Raft” is a shiny deep blue and yellow, wheel-less body of a 1950 Plymouth Special Deluxe, supported from below by a profusion of Cuban legs, appearing to be on-the-march. At first glance Marino’s sculpture appears ridiculous and funny but is also a poignant reminder of the chronic shortages and economic hardships that have plagued Cuba for the last half century. Created in response to the diaspora of the Cuban people in the 1990′s, when thousands of Cubans left the island by any means possible, often traveling in absurd and unsafe homemade rafts. Marino’s sculpture can be seen to represent the resourcefulness of the Cuban people, a respect for their past, and a symbol of hope for his people marching forward.
This is the second version of the car, according to the release. The first was installed for the Havana Biennial in 2003 and has become an iconic image from the Biennial. Marino was unable to take the sculpture out of Cuba after the exhibition and it was subsequently destroyed, according to the release. This second version was commissioned in 2010 by the Mattress Factory Museum, Pittsburgh, Pa., then was acquired by 21c Museum in January 2011.
“In Tran-sit,” Yoan Capote‘s outdoor sculpture installation, is just south on Seventh Street from “The Raft,” outside the main entrance to 21c.
Cast concrete and bronze suitcases are designed to be a bench, according to the release. “In Tran-sit” is meant to explore the experiences of traveling and emigration, according to the release: “When visitors sit on the piece, they look like travelers and emigrants; and when they leave the bench, the action symbolizes someone metaphorically leaving luggage or memories behind. The weight of the piece also alludes to the significance of these experiences in life.”
The 80-plus works in “Cuba Now” are in all of 21c’s interior gallery spaces. The show is scheduled to run through July.
“Cuba Now” features the work of emerging artists working in Cuba such as Douglas Perez and Glenda Léon alongside that of internationally acclaimed artists including Los Carpinteros, Tania Bruguera, and Carlos Garaicoa. “Cuba Now” also includes works of 23-year-old Carlos Gamez de Francisco, a Cuban immigrant who relocated to Louisville two years ago to join his father.
Gamez was trained in painting in Cuba and recently completed a residency at Louisville’s Muhammad Ali Center.