Exhibition Image

Carlos Luna: El Gran Mambo

June 15 – August 31, 2008

Currently on view at the museum’s entrance is the monumental sculpture, War-Giro, by the Cuban artist Carlos Luna. The double sided figure standing over 7 feet tall depicts the duality of Cuban and Mexican heritage as an example of the dynamic images to be viewed in the exhibition, Carlos Luna: El Gran Mambo.

Duality is a common theme in Cuban art, and Luna’s art embodies the internal struggles of an artist who has been uprooted. Born in Cuba in 1969, Luna was apart of the 1980s artistic rebellion, and he relocated to Puebla, Mexico in 1991. During the decade in Mexico, Luna enriched his unique style incorporating Cuban icons such as his Guajiro-Man and Rooster-Man with a Mexican bravado of cultural practice and language. His art references the artistic traditions of the Cuban Havana School influenced by Wifredo Lam, the European Cubist paintings of French artist, Ferdinand Leger, the storytelling of Mexican muralism and even the horror vacui of the Latin American baroque.

The exhibition in the Focus Gallery presents a selection of seventeen paintings recently created by the artist. The central masterpiece is Luna’s most recent work titled, EL Gran Mambo, filled with power-packed imagery of history, culture, symbolism and drama. Essayist Enrique Garcia Gutierrez states, “his “gran mambo,” his grand theater, could not exist without the tragedy and pain of the political exile which is the blood that gives life to this masterpiece”. Carlos Luna is a storyteller merging themes of fable and mysticism, eroticism and prejudice, and religiosity and anthropology in the iconographic discourse he depicts.

Co-curated by Cynthia MacMullin and Idurre Alonso, the exhibition has been sponsored by the Cisneros Capital Group and is a traveling exhibition first presented at the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center, Washington D.C. Carlos Luna and his wife will be in attendance at the Member’s Opening Reception. A hardbound color catalog accompanies the exhibition and is available in the museum store.