Spotlighting the ambitious nature of the Bronx Museum's upcoming art exhcange with the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Cuba, Randy Kennedy reports that Wild Noise is "the most sweeping collaboration between the two countries’ museums in more than 50 years."
Update as of June 9, 2016
The Bronx Museum of the Arts is moving forward with the Wild Noise cultural exchange and exhibition, with El Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de la Habana, Cuba, now scheduled to open in January 2017. It’s not uncommon for exhibition dates to change, which is all the more the case at a moment of such tremendous and rapid change in activities between the U.S. and Cuba. While there have been recent articles that contain erroneous information and question the feasibility of the final exhibition, the Bronx Museum will move forward with its planning and execution of the last phase of the Wild Noise project.
Credit: The Bronx Museum of the Arts
The Bronx Museum of the Arts and El Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de La Habana (MNBA) have announced an unprecedented joint arts initiative that is the culmination of years of planning and collaboration. Wild Noise: Artwork from The Bronx Museum of the Arts and El Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes represents the most extensive visual arts exchange between the two countries in more than 50 years, and will include major exhibitions at MNBA and the Bronx Museum; an artist exchange with U.S. artist Mary Mattingly and Cuban artist Humberto Diaz; a teen exchange program; a series of educational and public programs; and the publication of a dual-language publication that will extend the impact of Wild Noise beyond the audiences that participate directly in the initiative.
“We are at the threshold of a new kind of relationship between Cuba and the U.S.—both politically and artistically,” said Executive Director of the Bronx Museum Holly Block. “The Bronx Museum has been working with the arts community from Cuba since the launch of the first Bienal de La Habana in 1984 and we are committed to continuing to build the cultural dialogue between our two countries.”
The launch of Wild Noise will be concurrent with the 12th Bienal de La Habana, with the exhibition of more than 100 works from the Bronx Museum’s permanent collection on view at MNBA from May 21 through August 16, 2015. Wild Noise will feature works created from the 1960s to the present that reveal how contemporary artists are addressing questions of identity, urban life, and community. More than 100 works from the Bronx Museum’s permanent collection will be on view, including work by Bronx-born artists Vito Acconci, Lawrence Weiner, and Glenn Ligon, sculptor and visual artist Willie Cole, photographer Lisa Kahane, sculptors Chakaia Booker and Huma Bhabha, and others.
The initiative will also send—for the first time–over 100 works from MNBA’s permanent collection to the U.S. to be presented at the Bronx Museum in Spring 2016. The exhibition will offer U.S. students, scholars, artists, travelers, members of the New York community, and Bronxites the opportunity to view the breadth of contemporary art from Cuba, providing a rare look at the range of artists who have responded to Cuba’s unique political, economic, social, and cultural conditions since the 1960s.
The title of the initiative—Wild Noise—is taken from a Victor Hugo poem, “Ma vie est déjà dans l’ombre de la mort,” and refers to the sublimity and chaos of urban spaces, “the wild noise where infinity begins.” The theme resonates with this year’s Bienal de La Habana, which will be held at locations across the city, integrating into the urban fabric of Havana and its communities.
At the Bronx Museum, Wild Noise is organized by Executive Director Holly Block and Director of Programs Sergio Bessa. At the MNBA, the project is spearheaded by Director Ana Cristina Perez and curated by Corina Matamoros, Curator of Contemporary Cuban Art, and Aylet Ojeda Jequin, Curator of Contemporary Cuban Art and Naïve Art.
Wild Noise is supported by the Ford Foundation and the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, with additional funding from Bespoke Travel, Blake Grossman & Michelle Richards, Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center, Charina Endowment Fund, The Evelyn Toll Family Foundation, Fundación Amistad, Laura Blanco and Robert F. Shainheit, The Liman Foundation, May and Samuel Rudin Family Foundation, Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation, Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation, RLA Conservation of Art & Architecture, the Terra Foundation for American Art, and Toby Devan Lewis. Special thanks to Lindsey Frank, Esq. of Rabinowitz, Boudin, Standard, Krinsky & Lieberman, P.C.
Weekend Edition host Scott Simon developed a feature segment on Wild Noise including an interview with Sergio Bessa, noting the teen exchange program, and highlighting the goal of the exhibition to “give Americans and Cubans alike a fuller understanding of life in countries that are so close, but have mostly been isolated from each other for half a century.”