Here are some things I’ve been looking at lately:
“On a dusty side street not far from the Romeo y Julieta tobacco factory, in a gallery marked only by its open front door, a photo exhibit proposes a different approach, and its impossible gesture of erasure and revelation was one of the defining moments of the 2019 Bienal. No artist’s name was visible, but one of the walls bore a title: Un día feliz (“A Happy Day”). A large dog sits next to a caned rocking chair. Krushchev stands with a dead duck in his hands, another dead duck suspended in mid-air next to him. A baseball flies towards a batter from an empty pitcher’s mound. And in what seems a tacit salute to Antonia Eiriz’s Naturaleza muerta, one of the gallery walls is hung with photos of podiums, decades of podiums, some with gigantic crowds beneath, one bearing the VE RI TAS seal of Harvard University, many with photographers who aim their lenses at a point behind the microphones where no one stands.
Reynier Leyva Novo, the fertile-minded young artist who created the series—other photos in it are displayed at El Apartamento, with his name attached—has digitally altered iconic images by Lee Lockwood, Alberto Korda, and others, to eliminate Fidel Castro, or, you might say, to de-platform him. What’s left is a blank wall cross-hatched with dappled sunlight, an empty field with low mountains in the distance, the open ocean. And also, maybe, air to breathe, space for the imagination, silence to hear yourself think: a future...”