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Spelman College Museum will send “Cinema Remixed” to Havana Biennial

Andrea Barnwell Brownlee, director of the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, and Valerie Cassell Oliver, senior curator of the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, will present a selection of works from their lauded two-part exhibition “Cinema Remixed & Reloaded: Black Women and the Moving Image Since 1970” at the 2012 Havana Biennial. They will make history in the bargain.
A still from Tracey Rose’s video “The Wailers”

“This exhibition will mark the first presentation of a curatorial team for the United States included as a participant in the main program of the biennial,” said biennial Director Jorge Fernández.

The curators have abridged the “Cinema Remixed” exhibition, which included 48 works by 44 artists, to meet space constraints. They eliminated large installations and narrative works that non-English speakers might have trouble following. Brownlee and Oliver have tried, however, to suggest the geographic and age range of the original show. “Cinema Remixed & Reloaded 2.0″ will feature works by Maren Hassinger, Bradley McCallum and Jacqueline Tarry, Tracey Rose, Berni Searle, Lorna Simpson, Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum, Kara Walker and Carrie Mae Weems.

A still from Carrie Mae Weems’ video “Italian Dreams”
(Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York)

The project grew out of a trip to Cuba that Brownlee made with Spelman Museum patrons in March. While there, she met with Fernández, who is also director of the Wilfredo Lam Foundation. He surprised her with the invitation after her return.

The invitation is highly unusual, said Adolfo V. Nodal, partner in the California-based company Cuba Tours and Travel. “Cuba doesn’t import culture.”

The curators are well aware of the magnitude of this opportunity. As they said in a joint statement, “We value this unprecedented opportunity to participate in the rich cultural dialogue which the 11th Havana Biennial affords.

A still from Berni Searle’s video “A Matter of Time” (Courtesy of the artist
and Michael Stevenson Fine Art, Cape Town, South Africa)

“From its very inception, an exhibition about black women artists working in this medium was groundbreaking. These women are often omitted from exhibitions about video art. Likewise, they are rarely the focus of solo exhibitions on the subject. And now, presented within the legacy of the Havana Biennial, ‘Cinema Remixed & Reloaded 2.0′ promises to exemplify the varied and provocative works that they continue to create.”

The biennial will run from May 11 through June 11.