What was it like traveling with the MFA Curators and Council Patrons to Cuba?
Traveling with the curators gave us unparalleled access to the Cuban art world. We were able to meet artists, visit their studios, and attend events that we would not have been able to do on our own. For example, we were able to visit the home of Ella Cisneros, whose foundation joined forces with the MFA for an exhibition last year, and we attended a party at the former US Ambassador’s residence in celebration of the biennial. It was wonderful to spend so much time with the curators and pick their brains about everything from Cuban art to more general questions about their roles at the MFA and their lives outside the Museum. Traveling with our fellow Council Patrons was just as fun, we all got along great and were on the same page about what we wanted to do and see. Most importantly we had a wonderful time getting to know everyone better—complementary mojitos at every meal make for wonderful conversation!
What kind of art did you see, and what were your impressions?
We saw a wide range of art, from very politically charged pieces, to beautiful and detailed photography, to art installations all around the city, and homes that had been converted into both studios and installations themselves. Almost everywhere we went, we also met the artists responsible for the work, which is something we had rarely experienced previously. Being right there with the artist, and having them explain their work as you take it in, really gives the piece meaning even if it might not be something that would normally catch your eye at a museum. One of our favorite artists was Adrian Fernandez. We like his photography—he’s done some very interesting still lifes of objects he has found in people’s homes in Havana, such as vases and fake fruit! We also enjoyed seeing the work of Sandra Ramos at her home; one of her prints is in the MFA collection.
Do you have a favorite moment(s) of your trip?
The whole trip was wonderful, but some favorite moments were visiting the biennial exhibits and installations at the “Zona Franca” at the San Carlos de la Cabaña Fort. We also loved hearing from Ella Cisneros at her home about her collection and her foundation. Going to the former American Ambassador’s residence (now it is called the “American Mission”) was also a lot of fun. Funnily enough, they had some of the best mojitos in the city! Most of all, we had a great time with the group!
For more about the Patron trip to Cuba, watch the YouTube video Charlotte and Marc put together.