This is the latest edition of BA’s biweekly digest of Southern contemporary art news-in-brief. Submissions for items to be included in future editions may be sent to the editor.
HAVANA—Activists across Cuba are urging visitors, artists, and participants arriving in Havana for the thirteenth Havana Biennial to protest against Decree 349, which was passed by president Miguel Díaz – Canel last spring. The decree officially forbids any cultural activity that has not been met with approval by the Ministry of Culture, a move that Amnesty International calls “a dystopian prospect.” Under the decree, artists have been fined, arrested, or otherwise sanctioned, and are urging solidarity with those prosecuted under the new law. An open letter, signed by Tania Bruguera, Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, Yanelys Nuñez Leyva and twenty others states, “As members of a global art community we are all interconnected,” and “Cuban artists have shown their support of other artists in the world when ethically dubious things happen to them. Now we ask for artists to be in solidarity with us, to make Cuba a place in which all cultural expression can thrive.”
ATLANTA—The High Museum of Art has announced the 2019 winner of the Driskell Prize, Dr. Huey Copeland. Established in 2005, the David C. Driskell Prize is the first national award to recognize scholarly and artistic contributions to African diaspora art or art history. Dr. Copeland is a tenured professor and Arthur Andersen researcher at Northwestern University, author of several books about blackness, gender studies and artistic practice, and is a contributor to many scholarly and art focused publications. The award was presented last year to artist Amy Sherald.
NEW ORLEANS—After announcing a six acre expansion of one of the world’s largest public sculpture garden in 2017, NOMA has completed the expansion and will open to the public on May 15. Along with acquisition of extant works by twenty-seven artists including Frank Stella, Pedro Reyes, and Frank Gehry, two new works have been commissioned for the garden — a glass bridge by Elyn Zimmerman, and a large mosaic by Teresita Fernandez.
LEXINGTON—The National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures has awarded a grant to Casa de la Cultura Kentucky, the organization’s first grantee in the Southeast. Casa de la Cultura is a traditional music and dance after school program for young Latinx people in Lexington, that aims to “strengthen student’s teamwork skills, as well as expose them to the language, history, culture, music and fashion of various cultures.”