Which one is correct? Interpreting art in two cities

By Josie Emanuelli ~

Screenshot 2017-06-11 13.02.35Throughout our time in Cuba, we spent a significant amount of time looking at art and analyzing the artist’s relationship with their country and what they were trying to express in their art. So naturally, once we arrived in Miami, an art museum was on the list of places we were going. The group traveled to PAMM, the Pérez Art Museum Miami, a modern art museum that housed art from artists all over the world, but a Cuban artist as well. The museum was quite different from those we visited in Cuba, as the building was heavily air conditioned and built to be a modern art museum, so the walls and ceiling matched the art that was being displayed throughout the galleries.

Screenshot 2017-06-11 12.51.55
“Island (See-escape)” — an ocean of fish hooks and nails — by Cuban artist Yoan Capote (2010) at PAMM

The art that we saw was definitely modern, and (like the art by Luis Cruz Azaceta that we saw at the Museum of the Cuban Diaspora) it lent itself to various interpretations, unlike much of the art that we saw in Cuba. It seemed that most of what we saw in Cuba had subtle pro-revolution undertones or was overtly about Cuba, whether it be about Cubans in exile or life on the island. During our tours of museums in Cuba, the guides were eager to point out the meaning of the painting, steering us towards the “correct” interpretation while our guide allowed a more open interpretation of the works during our tour of PAMM and the Cuban.

 

Screenshot 2017-06-11 12.52.50Following our visit to PAMM, we had to celebrate Memorial Day with the most American thing we know how to do; have a barbecue on the beach. One of our professors has a condo in Miami Beach, so we headed over for food that was not Cuban, something we have all been craving desperately. We also saw what they have to do to protect the concrete buildings along the oceanfront in Miami, and got a better sense of why the buildings in Cuba are collapsing.  Not long after we ate, the idyllic blue water beckoned us. The rest of the day passed quickly in a blur of sunscreen, water wars and of course, bonding as we enjoyed what many consider to be an authentic Miami experience before returning to our hotel for unsurprising, group bonding once again.

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