By quietly sitting down and making a research on the topic, it comes up as a fact. Although Cuban modern-day visual artists flourish on international art fairs and make ample presence at every event of that kind of nature, they are priced way lower than their equal nationals of other geographies. As a recurrent subject, the earnings are not seen by the artists as a blunt disgrace, but it does unquiet them a bit, as there doesn’t seem to be a definite course of action to clear up the dilemma.
Critic and circulation on the deal side
After doing a more in-depth analysis, it is appreciated that right there at the transaction moment, some mechanisms are being activated that are widely set up on the backstage. We are used to some balancing coming off the critic reception and the art’s circulation apparatus, but what’s complementing those two traditional factors in the validation of the Cuban contemporary fine arts?
Distribution and “artistic value” altogether make perhaps some part of the trick in dictating what’s being placed on the plate, but the Market itself ultimately runs the show.
Therefore the devices funneling Cubans into the money pipe are…, well, no so easy!
In the Cuban case, the imprinting on the mainstream art scene has never come as a general or unattractive presentation. When we look at that, it’s clear why it contrasts so much what experts praise in regards to the quality of the Caribbean artists and the rates at which traditionally they have been selling.
Showcasing the Cubans, we can list big names of the art-dealing world, mega collectors, top philanthropists, and MoMA’s rank institutions. The reach is vast, but the financial reflection not in correspondence and there neither seems to be a connection among what critics state and what the market is paying.
The lack of consistency in the two allegedly devoted fields (critic greetings and market validation) is not an element affecting uniquely to the Cubans, but yes, it’s a stamp here. As this mismatch is a more common phenomenon touching single individual artists, the reflection of the inconsistency in the Cuban case can be undoubtedly relevant now and perhaps gain further perception. It’s a hot topic that won’t be entirely covered in a mere blog post, but reaching out and unveiling at least some other flashy facts is not a daunting task.
The role of the State run institutions
The constant trial and error model that Cuba has experienced for over sixty years was also meant to define visual art trading practices. Finally, at some point in time, it was instructed to flip back over and start implementing mechanisms that would empower structures for commercializing arts again; it happened around thirty years after 1959. However, where are we today and what are the check and balances?
After removing the moderate to hardcore ban hovering the monetary aspect in the artistic sphere, the State-run institutions were challenged to bring back the art commercializing within a weak frame of legality and unfit patrimonial practices that back then were not aligning with the flavors that the new market element would bring to the scene.
Mr. Market has been back now for over three decades, and yet, even with the presence of some relatively private galleries, the relevance and significance of the Cuban state initiatives in terms of art trading are widely questionable. The never closing cycle of one strategy after another, one struggle after another, and so on, unquestionably attest that Mr. Market has not yet been entirely welcome.
The vast majority of the artists living abroad come back to their motherland always with the hope of finding a closure to the constant struggle in which still appear to stay the cultural rulers of this never-ending story. In the end, it’s in Cuba where it all started and here is where everyone desires for their work to be defended the most. However, many Cuban artists have made their way into the capricious art world bazaar and in the time being, they have gained experience in art trading while being represented by foreign instances, which is also the best alternative to working mainly with the Cuban State- run enterprises. Unfortunately!
The status quo or comfort zone in the artist’s mindset
In some degree the situation has been echoed on the artists’ side. They are ultimately the prized or the ached. Nonetheless, the finance verge is slackly emphasized by the creators, and it’s not surprisingly in a context in which the monetary aspect of the art was ideologically judged and politically oppressed at some point in time. But all that now changed right? Well yes, even though there seem to be some reminiscences of that time in which art was ruled to not be seen by any of the market maximizing lenses.
Those lucky Cuban visual artists that have reached to the top of the market podium, privately acknowledge the notion about their lesser sales rates in contrast to the records of their equals of different countries.
It seems to be a perception among the artists that the matter of the price is just a minor thing. Very few have even considered to sit down with the agents and entities that internationally represent their brands along with the art market.
Essentially there is no record of any line of attack that diligently would intend to frame up all the aspects defining the situation. Beyond the here presented naïve perception of the artists and the poor management of the in-house Cuban State-run art trade apparatus, there have not been reported transparent revisions of the discussed matters of this post.
There is no doubt that the long reach of an imposed fenced mentality, could be affecting now how the low pricing of the contemporary Cuban artists is being perceived: just a minor thing. That’s what it would most describe the overall state of affairs, at least on the artists' side, since it is on the artists’ end where the claimant’s action, perhaps, should start to take place.