Over the past six years, the former Kendall Art Center - now the Museum of Contemporary Art of the Americas - has been deeply engaged in advancing dialogue around painting, fostering experimentation, and promoting a diversity of perspectives. 'Old Friends' stands as a stellar example of a fruitful dialogue between two maestros of abstract art, a dialogue that began with Rigoberto Mena's visit to Boston 23 years ago, in 2000.
Mena, who traveled to the United States as part of the 'Cuba, Cuba, Three Contemporary Artists' exhibition alongside fellow artists Alejandro Lazo and Pango, met Jo Ann Rothschild during his visit. They found common resonances in their work, which led to Rothschild exhibiting her work in Cuba at Mena's invitation.
Over the years, Rothschild continued her artistic journey to Cuba, showcasing her work at venues such as Havana's Gran Teatro's Imago Gallery, Havana's Experimental Graphic Workshop, and Santiago de Cuba's Oriente Gallery. In Miami, where Mena now lives and works, he proposed the showcasing of Rothschild's work as part of the Woman in the Arts program at the former Kendall Art Center. The proposal evolved into a dialogue between the two artists and their abstract works, promising a more illuminating and captivating experience for the community's abstract art aficionados.
After months of thoughtful study, artwork selection, and standard curatorial processes, 'Old Friends' was inaugurated at MoCAA, featuring a range of works from both artists. Despite the Museum's focus on offering exhibition opportunities to emerging, mid-career, and lesser-known artists, it also considers the showcasing of established artists with reflective, high-quality curatorial projects, thus earning its reputation as a serious and relevant space for contemporary art.
Jo Ann Rothschild and Rigoberto Mena are artists luxuriating in the full vitality of their careers. Rothschild, an American creative spirit rooted in Boston, holds the distinct honor of being the inaugural recipient of the Maud Morgan Purchase Prize from the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, further graced by a Painting Grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Her works, steeped in narrative and technique, find their home in distinguished public collections including The Fogg, DeCordova, and Rose Museums, and the illustrious Taller Graphico in Havana. Her artistic footprint spans the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, The Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, The Rose Museum, The Drawing Center and the Painting Center in New York, and the Taller Graphico, with additional showcases in Chicago, several Cuban cities, and Germany. Rothschild's first retrospective unfurled in the prestigious Gallery Imago, nestled within Havana's National Theatre Building.
Rigoberto Mena, a revered luminary in Cuba's art sphere, manifests an intellectual process in his style, wherein he delves into the dimensions of space and depth, his vision firmly anchored in architectural elements. Mena wields the discernment of an architect and the expressive prowess of an abstract expressionist, sculpting the stark edges of urban landscapes into a fluid visual poetry.
Mena's solo exhibitions have graced global stages from China, Germany, the Netherlands, Mexico, Cuba, Spain, France, Holland, and the U.S., leaving indelible impressions in Miami, Massachusetts, Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles. The inauguration of his "Hablando en Lenguas" exhibition in 2011 marked a milestone with Mena's work being chosen to join the permanent collection of the National Museum of Fine Art in Havana, Cuba. His oeuvre is showcased in the collections of the Museum of Latin American Art, Los Angeles (MOLAA), USA, Consejo Nacional de las Artes Plasticas, La Habana, and Centro de Arte Contemporaneo Wifredo Lam, La Habana.
The past three years have seen us taking bold creative strides in our programming, injecting our community with renewed vigor and dynamism. We stand on the precipice of the future, our eyes keenly trained on the exploration of innovative artistic projects. As we traverse this cultural landscape, we're passionate about expanding our outreach activities within the artistic community and fostering the growth of artists through sponsorship and support.
The Kendall Art Cultural Center (KACC), dedicated the past six years to the preservation and promotion of contemporary art and artists, and to the exchange of art and ideas throughout Miami and South Florida, as well as abroad. Through an energetic calendar of exhibitions, programs, and its collections, KACC provides an international platform for the work of established and emerging artists, advancing public appreciation and understanding of contemporary art.
The Rodríguez collection is a blueprint of Cuban art and its diaspora. Within the context of the new MoCA-Americas the collection becomes an invaluable visual source for Diaspora identity. It represents a different approach to art history to try to better understand where we come from to better know where we are heading.Read More