Arts » Arts Stories & Interviews

Last boat to Cuba: ICONS at Bihl Haus closing

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Fashion and politics go hand-in-hand. Without popular media images there is no propaganda, and likewise, no sales. When Fidel Castro ousted Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista from power in 1959 the world was split between those who embraced the radical new forces of socialism, and those who embraced the free world of capitalism. Neither side quite delivered paradise, and today the world is ruled by marketing. In a (dark humor) sense, it was the tactics shared by both sides that triumphed in the Cold War.

Visiting Cuban artist Adrian Rumbaut mixes images of Che Guevara and Marilyn Monroe—two icons associated with the era of the Cuban revolution—in mixed media works that open a door on Cuba’s time capsule world. Rumbaut’s extended family is split between those who left for the U.S. when Castro came to power, and those who remained. Some hate Che (‘the butcher’), others don’t, but everyone loves Marilyn. “Magazines, like LIFE, from the ’50s, are still for sale in Havanna mercados,” says Rumbaut.

Also on view are works from Rumbaut’s Diagrama Pictorico series, mixing classic images like the Mona Lisa, Marx, and Mickey Mouse, in pie-piece portions. Most interesting of all on view are perhaps dresses made from Cuban military uniforms that Rumbaut has crafted to the forms of dresses worn by Monroe.

Free, 1-4pm Fri-Sat, Bihl Haus Arts, 2803 Fredericksburg, (210) 383-9723, bihlhausarts.org. Closing reception 2-4pm Tue, May 25 with artist in attendance

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