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Cuban Art Foundation

The Source of Cuban Art Knowledge

Mariano Rodriguez.

 

MARIANO RODRIGUEZ RETROSPECTIVE 

At McMullen Museum of Art, Boston College


With approximately sixty oil paintings, pastels, and drawings from premier museums and private collections—including many works from the Mariano Rodriguez Estate never before exhibited in the US—the McMullen exhibition will be the first Mariano retrospective in the country (September–December 2020). 

As an artist, Mariano Rodriguez seems to have been marginalized in the US as a result of political tensions with Cuba, and his work usually has been relegated to the narrow confines of the pre-Revolutionary Cuban avant-garde. New research for the McMullen exhibition, and its accompanying scholarly catalogue, will reposition the artist as a universal painter and shed light on his three decades of post-midcentury aesthetic expression. Curator Elizabeth Thompson Goizueta will lead the research project and edit the catalogue that will include essays by an interdisciplinary team of experts, including Boston College professors Ernesto Livon-Grosman, Claude Cernuschi, and Goizueta, Harvard professor Alejandro de la Fuente, and curator of the Cuban avant-garde collection at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Havana, Roberto Cobas Amate. 

Mariano Rodríguez’s career spanned six turbulent decades of the twentieth century. Embarking on what would become a peripatetic life, Mariano left Cuba in 1936 to study with Mexican muralists. Eschewing a more traditional, European interpretation of painting, Mariano belonged to the second generation of Cuban modernists (Generation of 1938 to mid-twentieth century), which sought to align itself first with Mexico and then with lo cubano, or the essence of Cuban expression. Rooted in more hidden aspects of quotidian life, these Cuban artists reinterpreted, through hybridization and multiplicity of forms, the central theme of identity. For Mariano, this new iconography would center on el gallo (the rooster). As Mariano explored subsequent post-midcentury artistic styles, embracing geometric abstraction, abstract expressionism, figuration, and grotesque paintings, the rooster, and its relationship to humankind and the natural world, remained a leitmotif. Despite extensive global travels, including serving as cultural ambassador to India during the first years of the Cuban Revolution, Mariano never lost his allegiance to Cuba. 

Mariano’s works are collected in major European, Asian, and Latin American museums as well as in the most renowned museums in the United States, such as MoMA, LACMA, and the Art Institute of Chicago.

 

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