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Cuban Art Outshines Politics 1 December, 2017

Cuba is like a giant Ping-Pong, caught in the cross hairs of United States foreign policy. One minute President Obama is relaxing restrictions, making it easier for tourists in the United States to visit the tiny island. Blink, and President Trump is rolling back some of the administration’s changes. Another blink, and the state department is advising Americans not to travel to Cuba after mysterious medical attacks on diplomats at the American Embassy in Havana.

With its politics in flux, Cuba may be more fascinating than ever for Americans already intrigued by its music, culture and art. The interest is evident from the number of Cuba-themed museum shows and exhibits around the United States, many of which have been held in tandem with Havana-based institutions.

Earlier this year, an exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History in New York was developed with members of the Cuban National Museum of Natural History, while another at the Bronx Museum was organized with curators from El Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, in Havana.

El Museo del Barrio in New York has a retrospective through Nov. 5 of Belkis Ayón, the late Cuban visual artist who was first on view at the Fowler Museum in Los Angeles.

Olga Viso, executive director of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, attributed some of the heightened interest to the Obama administration policies, which made travel to the island easier. Fidel Castro’s death last November was also a factor for people who had boycotted the island during his regime.

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