Havana Biennial Postponed to 2019 Because of “Serious Damages” from Hurricane Irma

An art installation on the Malecon during the 12th Havana Biennial (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 25 September 2019 – The Promotion Division of Cuba’s National Council of the Arts and the Wifredo Lam Center for Contemporary Art announced that the 13th Havana Biennial, scheduled to be held next year, will be postponed until 2019.

A press release on the Council’s website it explains that due “the extremely serious damages caused by Hurricane Irma on the country’s system of cultural institutions,” they have “rescheduled several events” planned for the country.

The announcement does not give an exact date for the more important visual arts event in the country, although it says that “detailed information” is forthcoming.

The last edition of the Biennial was held between May and June of 2015, under the theme “Between The Idea And The Experience,” focused on a search for an artistic perspective beyond the museums and galleries.

Participating in the last Biennial were more than 120 guest artists, individuals and collectives who took advantage of their own spaces to install their works. The exhibition also included group projects conceived as an “artistic quarry” because they offered space for recently graduated young artists.

Over its 30 years, the Biennial has passed through different moments, some marked by artistic effervescence and others by apathy, affected by the economic crisis and the censorship of uncomfortable artists.

In its most recent edition the artist Tania Bruguera, who did not have an official invitation, presented a session of more than 100 hours of consecutive reading, analysis and discussion of Hannah Arendt’s “The Origins of Totalitarianism,” at the independent International Institute of Artivism, which took the name of the famous German philosopher.

Two officials from State Security visited Bruguera to dissuade her from continuing her artistic action and blocking several activists from being able to access the site where she performed the reading.