The lines outside Galería La Acacia were more reminiscent of the mad scramble to get concert tickets for the latest reggaeton act, the hottest film at the Havana film festival or a post Christmas sales frenzy (if there was such a thing in Havana). Actually though they were queuing to get into Havana’s most buzzed about art exhibition in years: A smorgasbord of homo-erotic art brought together under the guidance of curator Píter Ortega.
The crowd also included a fair number of the artists and other Cuban celebrities as well as Mariella Castro and a fair splattering of the diplomatic community, especially the Norwegians who had been actively involved in supporting the event.
The lineup features such internationally recognized artists as Roberto Fabelo, Rocío García, Duvier del Dago, Humberto Díaz, René Peña, Jorge López Pardo, and Adonis Flores, as well as younger artists whose work is emerging in art-world circuits: Lancelot Alonso, Stainless, Yenisley Yanes, Tai Ma Campos, Álvaro José Brunet, William Acosta, and Julio Ferrer, among others. The idea behind this generational intermingling is to stimulate a dialogue around the homosexual discourse in art, in all its facets: gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender.
Píter has put together both artists who have traditionally addressed that particular erotic universe and others who have brought their homo-erotic work out of the closet so to speak. I guess we all have at least one homo-erotic piece in us! All of the pieces of work do share a strong visual and emotional impact even if this is accomplished through lewdness and irreverence. For casual observers who wonder where the erotic crosses over into plain pornography you are being stimulated to consider what is a deliberately blurry boundary. We are all seven shades of grey now after-all.
As to what it all means – at the least, for all Cuba’s machismo and past government discouragement of the gay community, the LGBT community in Cuba is now not just tolerated but actively involved in some of the most dynamic and provocative arts and cultural projects and strangely for a country whose citizens are famously politically incorrect there seems actually far more acceptance and interest and far less outrage then you could imagine in many countries.
The show opened on January 18 and will run to the end of February (at the gallery’s regular opening hours: Tuesday thru Friday from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, and Saturdays from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.), so you have plenty of time to be shocked. Leave the kids at home.