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Art Frenzy Takes Over Havana as Biennial Kicks Off
By Reuters
April 14, 2019

HAVANA — Cones of white paper sprout from the seasalt-eroded pillars of one colonial building along Havana’s seafront, elaborately painted curtains cascade from another while out front children play with an installation of multicolored hoses.

Havana’s 13th Biennial kicked off this weekend with works by more than 300 contemporary artists from 52 countries taking over the city’s museums, galleries and open-air spaces, and many more collateral exhibits.

“They turned my home into an artwork,” said Silvia Perez, smiling at the paper sprouting from the colonnade of her home, a piece by Cuban artist Elio Jesús Fonseca. “The artist said it meant peace.”

The transformation of the Malecon seafront boulevard into an open-air, interactive gallery, has become one of the most popular venues of Cuba’s most important arts event.

Along the sidewalk this year are smooth boulders encased in volcanic slabs by Mexican artist Jose Davila, while a swirling light installation by Peruvian artist Grimanesa Amoros protudes from a building.

Cuba’s Communist government, which has heavily promoted the arts since the country’s 1959 leftist revolution, created the Havana Biennial in 1984 to promote artists from the developing world, especially Cuban ones.

This year, 80 Cubans will exhibit their work, including a performance on Monday by Manuel Mendive, considered the Caribbean island’s top living artist.

Still, it also includes a large contingent of European and U.S. artists including Cuban-Americans like Enrique Martínez Celaya and Emilio Perez.

Biennial Director Jorge Alfonso said it had been a challenge to stage the biennial given Cuba’s difficult economic situation – authorities postponed it half a year – but that it had succeeded underscored the importance Cuba placed on culture.

“Not even in the most difficult moments have we ever given up on staging one of these kind of events,” he told Reuters.

“The slogan of this year’s edition, ‘the construction of the possible’, is related to our ideal that a better world is possible.”

Some artists who are critical of the government however have subverted that slogan.

In one piece on the Malecon called “Potemkin Village”, Cuban-born artist Juan Andres Milanes Benito who lives in Norway has propped what appears to be the perfect facade of a building on another that is falling into disrepair.

“It fits a lot with the Cuban government these days and how the system is working – there is a lot of facade,” he said. “Inside it is not so perfect.”

Originally he had wanted to replicate the facade of a renovated government building but authorities would not allow him, he said.

Some Cuban artists feel the Havana Biennial itself is a facade papering over simmering tensions between them and authorities.

Artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara, who led a campaign against a controversial new decree on the cultural sector last year, was arrested last Friday after staging a small yet politically charged performance in his neighborhood.

His whereabouts remain unknown, his friends say. Asked by Reuters about the arrest in a news conference, the head of Cuba’s National Council of Visual Arts, Norma Rodriguez, said “as far as I know he is an activist not an artist”.

Cuba considers dissidents to be mercenaries in the pay of the United States trying to subvert the government.

The Havana Biennial runs until May 12.

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Arches of Harlem SIMUL: A Signature Piece for the Viaduct’s 125th Street Arch
  “SIMUL, a signature art installation to be beneath under the Riverside Drive Viaduct at 125th Street, will play as a double metaphor. It’s connecting Harlem to the wider New York, as well as bringing local residents together under the bridge. SIMUL intertwines with the bridge, and at the center is the meeting point of the tubing system, which can be called the nucleus of the piece. The center could be described as an intermingling of tubes, which is meant to represent how, although the people are all different, the city is one interconnected community. Everyone who lives in the city, even short-time visitors, is a New Yorker. The New York City grid is structured and organized with each neighborhood having its own charm and identity. The segments are all connected to create the city we know and love. This piece was inspired by that interconnectivity. The piece will be titled ‘SIMUL’, which is Latin for togetherness. I aim to create a sense of togetherness in the wider NYC area, while simultaneously bringing together the locals in the neighborhood.”
As a Peruvian-American light artist, Grimanesa Amorós finds her inspiration in the synthesis of two different cultures. She never gets isolated from the history of her home country and continues to make use of this heritage when creating her artworks. Backed by the Peruvian legacy, Grimanesa’s style of conveying emotions and researching locations makes her installations world-famous. Prospect Park in Brooklyn, Paolo Soleri Bridge in Arizona, CAFA museum in China, Times Square, multiple places in Hong Kong, Madrid and Tel Aviv are only a few of the many locations which feature fascinating light installations of Grimanesa Amorós. You can find her works in almost all parts of the world, including Latin America and Asia. In 2016, Ludwig Museum presented a traveling exhibition and monograph of the artist’s work. Grimanesa often gets invited to talk about critical theory, social history, and other cultural aspects at numerous universities and institutions, such as Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Parsons, Tongji University, Rutgers University, and American University of Dubai. In 2014, she was one of the speakers at TEDGlobal where she dwelled on landscapes and the latest technology in art. Throughout the Grimanesa’s artistic career, her artworks have been discussed by Forbes Magazine, Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal, and New York Times. She has also been featured in several publications such as Surface Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, and New York Magazine. For more information, please visit the webpage: Read More
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Self Reflection
Celebrating the designers whose sense of style goes beyond the clothes they wear.

By Tiffany Jow
Photos by Christopher Garcia Valle


Why we love her: The Peruvian-born light artist makes weird, winding installations that explore her interest in nature, technology, and people. Over the summer she presented “Hedera,” a monumental sculpture made of glowing red-and-white tentacles that covered a ceiling of illuminated orbs, erected in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park.

How she organizes her clothing: “I have uniforms for traveling, for lectures, and for the studio. I don’t know if people who visit me here realize I’m actually wearing the same outfit all the time. I have it hanging in my bathroom, so it’s easy to put on. The uniforms began when I started traveling a lot. They are useful because you have more time to focus on work. I love that I can get dressed in two minutes—maybe five, to be generous.”

About all those rings: “I sleep with my jewelry on. I always wear it on all of my fingers and never my neck—I have necklaces, but they are itchy and get stuck in my hair. I used to have beads, which were given to me by spiritual leaders from temples I visited in Asia. But they became very common, and lost their spirituality for me, so I stopped wearing them.”

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The Bronx Museum of the Arts Announces New Space Downtown New Exhibition and Artist Workspace To Host Expansion of AIM, the Museum’s Signature Emerging Artist Program

Photo: ARGENTUM, a new site-specific commission by AIM alumna Grimanesa Amorós. The 9-foot wide sculpture, located at the future home of the extended AIM program in Lower Manhattan at 80 White Street, connects the island of Manhattan and the Bronx.

(New York, NY — September 28, 2018) — The Bronx Museum of the Arts is proud to announce it will soon open an artist workspace and exhibition venue located at 80 White Street in Lower Manhattan, furthering the museum’s mission to support underrepresented artists in New York. Designed to support AIM, the museum’s career development program for emerging New York City artists, the space will serve as a community resource hub featuring private workspaces, exhibition facilities, meeting rooms, and career management resources for the creative and professional development of AIM alumni.

“Room for artists to work, think, and experiment is vital, and this new program at 80 White Street will afford exactly this opportunity,” said Deborah Cullen, Executive Director of The Bronx Museum of the Arts. “We are committed in our advocacy for artists and to the importance of programs like AIM.”


Starting in 2019, the second-floor space at 80 White Street will host an ongoing series of programs including exhibitions, performances, artist talks, and workshops inviting the public to engage with resident artists and the AIM community. AIM’s expansion reinforces the museum’s mission to champion under-recognized voices and support innovative cultural production to ensure that New York’s diverse creative community continues to thrive.

With the addition of a workspace program at 80 White Street, the Bronx Museum will now serve 46 New York- based artists every year at venues in the South Bronx and Lower Manhattan, including 36 emerging artist fellows through the ongoing AIM program and an additional 10 alumni residents at the new space. AIM artists will have the unique opportunity to access a range of professional development resources throughout their careers including training in exhibition design, art handling, documentation exercises, and critical reading, in addition to taking part in clinics on art and law, entrepreneurship, and writing. Resident artists will have full use of the incubator’s 4,500 sq-ft facilities, including a gallery to exhibit new work and works-in- process, a multipurpose space to host programs, and a conference space for meetings.

The space at 80 White Street is a gift from General Hardware Mfg. Co., Inc., helmed by Gerald Weinstein, Martin Weinstein, and Teresa Liszka, longtime supporters of The Bronx Museum of the Arts and the AIM program. They are also the founders of the nonprofit organization Art In General, which they established in 1981 in the Weinstein family’s tool manufacturing business, General Tools.

“We are tremendously grateful to Martin Weinstein and Teresa Liszka, who so generously made the space available to us, and to the enduring legacy of Holly Block, the late Bronx Museum Executive Director. The expansion of the AIM program is a testament to their spirit and generosity,” said Joseph Mizzi, Chairman of The Bronx Museum of the Arts Board of Trustees.

Photo: 80 White Street. Photo by Stefan Hagen. Courtesy of the Bronx Museum of the Arts.


On October 25, 2018, the Bronx Museum will offer a preview of the newly renovated 80 White Street space with a launch party, providing guests with an opportunity to be among the first to see the future home of the AIM alumni residency program and new exhibition space. Tickets are available here.

The celebration will feature the unveiling of ARGENTUM, a luminous site-specific sculpture by AIM artist alumni Grimanesa Amorós, commissioned by Martin Weinstein and Teresa Liszka. The artwork is comprised of two main sections which connect the location of the Bronx Museum with its new hub at 80 White Street—the left side is based on the island Manhattan, while the right is the Bronx. The sculpture is made of LEDs, diffusion and reflective material, custom lighting sequence, electrical hardware, and steel.

“The relationship between 80 White Street’s steel reinforced foundation and AIM’s second home in Lower Manhattan inspired me to combine two vital parts of the building; it’s foundation and residents. As the piece occupies most of the entrance, the viewer is constantly interacting with it. When entering and exiting the building, the observer sees themselves, but much like light’s speed, it can never be fully captured and only appreciated in movement,” said Grimanesa Amorós, AIM alumni artist.


For nearly 40 years, The Bronx Museum of the Arts has supported New York’s artist community through AIM, the museum’s signature artist training program offering career enhancement resources to emerging artists living in New York City. Mentored by a distinguished faculty of industry experts, AIM artists engage in an intensive series of seminars and activities that aid artists in building sustainable studio practices while expanding peer and professional networks. Since its founding, AIM has provided pivotal support to a diverse roster of over 1,200 artists including Diana Al-Hadid, Firelei Báez, Abigail DeVille LaToya Ruby Frazier, Debbie Grossman, Sarah Oppenheimer, Jason Peters, and Jacolby Satterwhite. Full list of AIM artist alumni here.


The Bronx Museum of the Arts is an internationally recognized cultural destination that presents innovative contemporary art exhibitions and education programs and is committed to promoting cross-cultural dialogues for diverse audiences. Since its founding in 1971, the Museum has played a vital role in the Bronx by helping to make art accessible to the entire community and connecting with local schools, artists, teens, and families through its robust education initiatives. In celebration of its 40th anniversary, the Museum implemented a universal free admission policy, supporting its mission to make arts experiences available to all audiences. The Museum’s collection comprises over 1,000 modern and contemporary artworks in all media and highlights works by artists of African, Asian, and Latin American ancestry, as well as artists for whom the Bronx has been critical to their development. Located on the Grand Concourse, the Museum’s home is a distinctive contemporary landmark designed by the internationally recognized firm Arquitectonica.


Instagram: @bronxmuseum Twitter: @BronxMuseum Facebook: @bronxmuseum #BronxMuseum


Marcella Zimmermann
Vice President, Cultural Counsel

1040 Grand Concourse, Bronx, NY, 10456 T: 718 681 6000 F: 718 681 6181 W:
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ARGENTUM, 2018, light sculpture installation, 9 ft x 5 ft 4 in x 5 ft 4 in



Permanent site-specific light sculpture

Launch Party AIM: The Next Level

Bronx Museum Board Chair Joseph Mizzi and Executive Director Deborah Cullen Invite You to Celebrate AIM: The Next Level!
Courtesy of Grimanesa Amorós Studio
Celebrate AIM and help us unveil a luminous site-specific sculpture by AIM alum Grimanesa Amorós, commissioned especially for 80 White Street, by purchasing a ticket to our inaugural celebration on October 25, 2018, or support the program year-round by becoming a Friend of AIM with our exclusive new membership tier.
Celebrate AIM and help us unveil a luminous site-specific sculpture by AIM alum Grimanesa Amorós, commissioned especially for 80 White Street, by purchasing a ticket to our inaugural celebration on October 25, 2018, or support the program year-round by becoming a Friend of AIM with our exclusive new membership tier.

Launch Party Ticket — $350 ($300 is tax-deductible)
● Private Collections Tour in Tribeca
● One Launch Party Ticket
● Two Artist Party Tickets
Artist Party Only Ticket — $50
● One Artist Party Ticket (8:00PM Entry)

Celebrate with us on October 25, 2018, and pledge your support of emerging artists year-round by becoming a Founding Friend of AIM.
AIM Artist Alumni Membership — $250 ($200 is tax-deductible)
● One Launch Party Ticket
● Two Artist Party Tickets

Founding Friends of AIM Membership — $2,500 ($2,400 is tax-deductible)
● Prominent name inclusion on Founding Friends of AIM wall in exhibition space
● Annual complimentary AIM Alumni Artist limited edition print
● Private Collections Tour in Tribeca
● One Launch Party Ticket
● Two Artist Party Tickets

For more information or to purchase by phone, contact Allison Grandy, Manager of Special Events and Membership at or 718-861-6000 x 174.

About the artist
Grimanesa Amorós, born in Lima, Peru, is an interdisciplinary artist with diverse interests in the fields of social history, scientific research, and critical theory. Through her art, she conveys a sense of ephemeral wonder, entrancing viewers from all different backgrounds and communities. She inspires others to become agents of empowerment. Grimanesa makes use of sculpture, video, and lighting to create works that illuminate our notions of personal identity and community. She was a guest speaker at TEDGlobal 2014, a recipient of the ‘NEA Visual Artist Fellowship’, the ‘NEA Artist Travel Grant’, and has the distinction of being part of the ‘Art In Embassies Program of the U.S.’. Grimanesa Amorós has often drawn upon important Peruvian cultural legacies as inspiration for her large-scale light-based installations, which she has presented around the globe, from Mexico, Tel Aviv, and Beijing, to New York’s Times Square. She continues to be inspired by Peru’s history for her art, but does not hold an essentialist or nostalgic view of her subject. Grimanesa often gives talks at museums and universities where her lectures attract not only developing artists, but students and faculty engaged with science and technology. When it comes to the art of Grimanesa Amorós, one feels that the past is meeting the future. Amorós has exhibited in the United States, Europe, Asia and Latin America.
What is AIM?
Since 1980, The Bronx Museum of the Arts has served New York’s most promising creative talent through AIM, the museum’s signature training program offering no-cost professional development resources to early career artists living in New York City. Mentored by a distinguished faculty of industry experts, AIM artists engage in an intensive four-month course of work that aids artists in building sustainable studio practices while expanding peer and professional networks. Additional program information and a full list of past AIM participants can be found here.

AIM Supporters
The Jerome Foundation
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
The New York Community Trust
Gerald Weinstein, General Hardware Mfg. Inc.
Martin Weinstein and Tereza Liszka
Friends of AIM Co-Chairs
Linda Blumberg
Deborah Buck
Susan Hinko
Tereza Liszka
Martin Weinstein
For more information on ARGENTUM please contact Rebecca Olenick at +1 212-941-9787 or
Press Contact
Marcella Zimmermann
Vice President, Cultural Counsel
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BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! · Prospect Park Bandshell

Special Artist Reception
DATE CHANGED TO: Thursday, June 28th 8PM – 10:30PM

HEDERA On view until August 11th, 2018

Prospect Park Bandshell Prospect Park West and 9th St. Brooklyn, NY 11215

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The Magic Issue

On the cover: Grimanesa Amorós photo by Kate Edwards for A Womenʼs Thing,
Hair & Makeup by Lyndsey Ariel Caudilla.

Dear Readers,

What does it mean to be an adult and still believe in magic? For us, magic stands for something that has the ability to remove us from our everyday lives. This could be waking up to a silent snow, the world unexpectedly caked in white. Or it could be more utilitarian, like lucking out on your morning commute, each train, each transfer, arriving just seconds after you step onto the platform. Most importantly, it’s about rising above the forces that tell us to stay in our place, not to stand out, lest we be hunted down and burned on the stake of our differences. In this issue we celebrate those differences: black girl magic, older woman magic, and just plain witchy magic.

  For cover artist Grimanesa Amorós, magic comes from working with the miracle of technology: Her large-scale installations using LED lighting inspire wonder in anyone who sees them, in the gallery or on the street. Read our discussion with her on page 03. Yayoi Kusama’s ever-Instagrammable work delves into the magic, light and dark, that can occur within our own minds. Get a peek inside hers on page 70.

  In the face of adversity, we’re always stunned by the magic that can happen when women come together to make something new: a business, a movement, a magazine. We invite you to get together with the inspiring women in your life and join our conversation. Visit our shop to get an AWT Magic Issue Share Pack, and use it as a way to voice your frustrations and fears, wishes and goals. From the fascinating desktops of the women who study and predict trends (page 86), to the perilous work of female deminers in Nagorno-Karabakh (page 29), to the strange account of the hysteric girls of LeRoy, New York (page 08), we think you’ll find many stories to inspire discussion. Rants, tangents, and incantations welcomed and encouraged.

  Friends, it’s time to come up with our own magical thinking: one that lets us recreate ourselves at any moment, at any age, according to any vision, big or small. Let’s own our powers.

  Your AWT Team

For more info, please visit:
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