ArtNet Spotlight

The Cuban Avant-Garde Lands in Flatiron In a Dynamic New Group Show, Mar 14, 2024

Evey Fine Art will showcase the work of Rigoberto Mena, Rubén Rodriguez Martinez, and Carlos Llanes.

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What You Need to Know: This month, Evey Fine Art is presenting a vibrant group show titled “Cuban Avant-Garde,” highlighting the work of some of Cuba’s most thought-provoking contemporary artists. Debuting with a cocktail reception March 16, 2024 (6 p.m.­ to 8 p.m.) followed by an open house on March 17 (11 a.m.–6 p.m.), and on view through March 31, the events and exhibition are staged within the renowned Flatiron House in the heart of the Flatiron District. With works installed throughout the first and 24th floors, the juxtaposition of stunning New York City skyline views adds another dimension to the presentation.

The artists featured in the show are Rigoberto Mena (b. 1961), Ruben Rodriguez Martinez (b. 1959)—both of whom have work within the permanent collection of the National Museum of Fine Arts in Havana—and Carlos Llanes (b. 1956), and are each situated at the cutting edge of both contemporary Cuban as well as international art at large. Mena, a leading abstractionist, is recognized for developing a style that explores themes and ideas around architecture and space. Rodriguez Martinez, meanwhile, mines the possibilities of Neo-Expressionism and the power of line to express the human form and elements of eroticism. Rounding out the presentation, Llanes, whose practice also encompasses architecture and design, is one of the country’s most influential artists, acclaimed for his material and compositional experimentation that pushes the boundaries of abstraction.

Why We Like It: An established gallery in Palm Beach, Evey Fine Art’s presentation of “Cuban Avant-Garde” in New York allows for a new audience to become familiar with Evey’s program and immerse themselves in the work of three dynamic Cuban artists. Blurring the boundaries between representation and abstraction, Llanes’ paintings contrast with the lithe, figurative line work of Rodriguez Martinez. And Mena’s diverse approach to each work, experimenting with color and real and psychological space, invite prolonged look and reflection. In recent years, Latin American Art on the whole has received increasing international attention and acclaim, and with “Cuban Avant-Garde,” visitors have the opportunity to take a closer look and experience the specific creative force of three of Cuba’s canonical contemporary artists.

According to the Gallery: “The show reflects upon the hardships of immigration and loss of cultural identity, and explores the deeper forces at work in our psyche that shape our individuation process, especially when thrown into a completely alien context. The artists’ exploration of these underlying dynamics offers a unique perspective on societal systems and our shared human condition.

We first shifted the gallery’s focus towards Latin American art in general and Cuban contemporary art in particular five years ago. Back then, they were still the art market’s best-kept secret, which only seasoned collectors and dealers knew about. Their unique aesthetic combines a raw urgency reflective of their intense hardships with an intellectual profoundness that I haven’t seen in contemporary art for ages.”

—Evey Fine Art Co-Founder Carla Berenice Groh


Cuban Avant-Garde” is on view at Evey Fine Art at the Flatiron Building, 39-41 W 23rd St, New York, March 16–March 31, 2024.