José A. Figueroa show at Couturier Gallery
Couturier Gallery is delighted to present Mis 60 / My 60s, an exhibition of prominent photographer José A. Figueroa’s images of the barely-remembered “other” life in Cuba of the 1960s, the social everyday existence not portrayed by Revolutionaries, military outfits or arms. The forty photographs document quotidian life that paralleled the customs and styles prevalent elsewhere in the world, from mod and hip fashion to signs of flower power and “free” love. The exhibition begins September 11th (through October 16), with the Artist’s Reception, lecture and book signing that will take place Sunday, Sept. 19th.
José A. Figueroa (Havana, 1946), has covered uninterruptedly, as photographer, more than four decades of the life of his nation Cuba. Due to his age, social background and training, he is part of a “transitional generation” that was, at the triumph of the Cuban Revolution in 1959, too young to have actively participated, but sufficiently adult to be a conscious and analytical witness. His life and work deal with “the inside” and “the outside” of such period of time. This has allowed him to document, to analyze and to symbolize many features, of both the public and the private life of the nation – like the two sides of the same coin -, throughout many years; and most importantly, his work was made in Cuba or from a Cuban perspective. These characteristics and circumstances are, in fact, not very frequent among his contemporaries or predecessors, when seen individually. Mis 60 / My 60s series is an approach to such a piece of history, Cuban sixties, through photography.
Figueroa’s photographs in those years are the vindication of a generation (his generation) and an aesthetics that was determined to survive “massification” or mass socialization and the censorship imposed by the socialist project. Thus he has handed down to us a vision of the 1960´s that is little known in the history of Cuban photography and is absent, even today, from the official iconography of the Revolution. His photographic essay Exilio (1967-1994) is perhaps one of the most eloquent works begun in those years, starting from the exhaustive photographic documentation of Cuban migration to United States of almost all his family and friends. This exhibition of Mis 60 / My 60s is the first presentation of this body of work in the United States.
Figueroa’s work is included in numerous public collections including the Arki Busson Foundation, London/Zürich; Biblioteca Nacional José Martí, Havana, Cuba; Casa de Las Américas, Havana, Cuba; Center for Cuban Studies, NY; Centro Studi e Archivio della Comunicazione, Universidad de Parma, Parma, Italy; Consejo Mexicano de Fotografía, México, D.F.; El Museo del Barrio, NY; Fototeca de Cuba, Havana, Cuba; Galleria IF, Milán, IT; Galleria Il Diafragma, Milán, IT; Maison de la Culture, La Seine Saint-Dennis, París, FR; Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Havana, Cuba; Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale, FL.
LECTURE & BOOK SIGNING :
José Figueroa and Cristina Vives will present a lecture at the gallery on Sunday, September 19th at 3pm focusing on the photographs in the exhibition. Cristina Vives is the co-author of the recently published book of Figueroa’s work José A. Figueroa: A Cuban Self-Portrait (published by Turner, Madrid, 2009). A book signing will follow the lecture. The public is welcome, however, space is limited.
Couturier Gallery is located at 166 N. La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036
By Jim McKinniss