Join us for a tour of the paired exhibitions A Modernist Regime: Cuban Mid-Century Design and A Modernist Regime: The Contemporary Cuban Lens led by co-curators Laura Mott, Chief Curator, Cranbrook Art Museum and Abel González Fernández. The tour will be approximately one hour and include a discussion of the Cuban Modern Collection and contemporary responses to the historic collections. Participants should be prepared to stand/walk for the duration of the event.  

Focused on the decades immediately following the Cuban Revolution (1959), A Modernist Regime: Cuban Mid-Century Modern Design presents a small but prolific cohort of artists, designers, and architects who responded to the demands of a newly centralized economy, including the material constraints imposed by ensuing embargoes, popular demands for more equitable access to goods, and initial excitement about the role modern design could play in shaping a new society.    

Modernist Regime: Cuban Mid-Century Design is complemented by A Modernist Regime: The Contemporary Cuban Lens, which features two presentations: Marco Castillo: The Hands of the Collector and Cuba Dispersa, in which contemporary artists respond to both this earlier design history and the loss of creative freedoms in Cuba today. These exhibitions tell a cautionary tale of how Cuban modernism in design parallels the country’s existential authoritarian conflicts that resulted in a dictatorship that persists today. This trajectory of government control over the production of art, architecture, and design reaches its apex in Cuba today, where artists and other creatives are routinely censored, imprisoned, and exiled.   

Abel González Fernández (Havana, 1991) is a writer and curator focusing on Mid-century art and design and global contemporary art practices. González Fernández is the Associate Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD), where he is currently working on the first museum individual exhibition of the artist duo ASMA, formed by Matias Armendaris (b. 1990, Ecuador) and Hanya Beliá (b. 1994, Mexico). He graduated from the Center for Curatorial Studies (CCS), Bard College, in 2023, where he focused his thesis research on contemporary Latinx art. Previously to MOCAD, González Fernández curated exhibitions in Havana, Berlin, Tokyo, and New York. In 2019, he was awarded the Prince Claus Fonds Next Generation Program. In 2022-23, he curated Sin Autorización, Contemporary Cuban Art, at the Wallach Gallery, Columbia University. González Fernández is the co-curator of The Modernist Regime: Cuban Midcentury Design, the first exhibition on Cuban Mid-Century Modernism in the US at Cranbrook Art Museum, Detroit. Among various publications, he is one of the authors of  The Modernist Regime: Cuban Midcentury Design, Rizzoli-Electa, 2024; He is a contributing writer and advisor for “Latin American Artist: From 1785 to Now,” published by Phaidon Press in 2023, and writer and editor for Art from the End of the World: Six Decades of Sound and Fury, 2023, a monographic on Argentinian artist Roberto Jacoby, published by Institute for Studies on Latin American Art (ISLAA) and CCS Bard. 


Tagged: Artist Talk, Cranbrook, lecture, Lecture Series
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