Small connections (yellow), 2013. Pencils, sharpener, and trees, installation view.

Not Just About the Revolution: A Conversation with Humberto Dìaz and Holly Block

In early April of this year, I had the good fortune to travel with Holly Block, executive director of the Bronx Museum, on a visit to Cuba, where I visited Humberto Díaz in his Havana studio. Absolutely blown away by the dazzling diversity and strength of his work, I wanted to know more, not only about the young multimedia artist himself, but also about just how this politically isolated island nation had nurtured his formidable talent and astute insights into human nature. U.S. citizens have much to learn about Cuba and its startlingly generous people. Cuban artists are particularly outgoing and welcoming, their work rich in pathos, humor, candor, and-despite difficult political and economic times- informed by a hopeful and exuberant spirit. Block’s sharp sensibilities and critical eye caught all this back in 1994, the first time that she and a group of U.S. museum directors visited Cuba for La Bienal de La Habana. Thanks to her tireless efforts during the past two decades, Díaz is among the Cuban artists who are now able to exhibit in American institutions. It should be noted, however, that while Cuban artists are enjoying a relative amount of expressive freedom, they often walk a fine line. Although the Cuban constitution allows for free expression in the arts and with form, it does not condone free speech antagonistic to the Castro regime. Artists confronting government in this way continue to be persecuted. …see the entire article in the print version of December’s Sculpture magazine.