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September 9 - November 4, 2017

Opening Reception: September 16, 6 - 9 pm

Museum Free DaY: sEPTEMBER 17, 10 AM - 5 PM
sPONSORED BY bANK OF aMERICA

pACIFIC sTANDARD tIME la/la
sOUTH bAY & lONG bEACH hUB wEEKEND,
sEPTEMBER 23 & 24, 10 AM - 5 PM
vISIT pstsOUTHbAYlONGbEACHHUB.ORG FOR MORE INFO
 

The Cuban Matrix is an ambitious project featuring an in-depth look at contemporary Cuban artwork, with emphasis on digital media exchange culture. The focus of the exhibition is the offline digital “mercado” (marketplace) sharing culture that has arisen around the phenomenon of “El Paquete Semanal”: a weekly terabyte packet of entertainment, downloaded web pages and information that is carried into Cuba, shared and consumed throughout Cuban society.

This object-oriented cultural economy, a mix of entrepreneurship, cultural curation and community building, was precisely the conversation that the project had begun to generate. It is from this process that the exhibition as it is now began its journey.

The works in this exhibition are tempered by limited access to the virtual information systems that most of the developed world takes for granted. The artists and their works are shaped by these limitations and the cultural responses that grew to meet them. Though Cuba has, albeit recently, introduced public wi-fi hotspots in parks, which have transformed into spaces of gathering and exchange, and, even more recently, granted private internet access connections, direct access to the global Internet is still harshly limited: both in economic and geographic terms. Public wi-fi is expensive and slow, with speeds that preclude the sharing of larger files and streaming media.

While the high-speed, constantly available information stream that forms the hallmark of contemporary societies in the global north is not at this time available to the people of Cuba, “El Paquete Semanal” forms a unique and ingenious workaround. It is bought cheaply and distributed from hand to hand, shared and downloaded. Containing everything from entertainment to software to international news, “El Paquete” acts as an object that mediates Cuba and the rest of the world.

The works comprising The Cuban Matrix explore aspects of this mediation. The works of an older generation navigate objects and spaces of community and protest, precursors to the digital gathering spaces of resistance. Other works exemplify the historical Cuban cosmopolitanism that through “El Paquete” is heightened and enriched. Cubans, perhaps even more so than many other American peoples, are deeply aware of the world they inhabit. This awareness and cultural facility persists despite the economic isolation Cuba has endured throughout the last half of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first. Artworks in the show reflect the expansion of the digital “mercado” in Cuban society: access to software, globo-political awareness, the exchange of ideas and the international art community.

We have taken this exhibition as an opportunity to talk about a Cuba that is not often discussed: a digital Cuba. This moment in Cuba, now, is rife with uncertainty – about normalization of international relations, the future of the Cuban identity, their own political future and much more. But beyond that, a Cuba that is navigating two distinct temporal realities: the reality of economic isolation – the blockade or embargo – and that of instant communication and interminable velocity. It is “El Paquete” that forms an intersection between these two. It is both the metaphor and the uniquely Cuban exegesis of their time and place.

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The Cuban Matrix

TORRANCE ART MUSEUM’S SUR:BIENNIAL PARTICIPATION, COINCIDING WITH THE GETTY’S PACIFIC STANDARD TIME: LA/LA

VENUE: Torrance Art Museum
LOCATION: 3320 Civic Center Dr, Torrance, California
DATES: September 9th – November 4th 2017
WEBSITE: TorranceArtMuseum.com

Marking Torrance Art Museum’s (TAM) third time participating in SUR:biennial and first exhibition affiliated with the Getty-led Pacific Standard Time initiatives, TAM is pleased to announce The Cuban Matrix, opening at Torrance Art Museum on September 16, 2017.

The Cuban Matrix is TAM’s contribution to the 2017 SUR: biennial. SUR is a biennial multi-venue, international exhibition program. Participating institutions produce projects with artists from across Latin America, as well as Latin American artists working in and engaging Southern California. 2017’s iteration is SUR’s fourth and Torrance Art Museum’s third participation.

The Cuban Matrix is also a part of Getty’s Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, a far-reaching and ambitious exploration of Latin American and Latino art in dialogue with Los Angeles, taking place from September 2017 through January 2018 at more than 70 cultural institutions across Southern California. Pacific Standard TIme is an initiative of the Getty. The presenting sponsor is Bank of America. 

This exhibition is organized by Maurizzio Hector Pineda, Benjamin W. Tippin, and Melissa Tran, under the direction of Max Presneill, the museum’s director, and along with the assistance and support of the Torrance Art Museum Advocates (TAMA). Participating artists include: Ariamna Contino, Alejandro Figueredo Diaz-Perera, Jorge Otero Escobar, Diana Fonseca, Alexander Hernandez, Tony Labat with Juan Carlos Alom, Francisco Maso, Reynier Leyva Novo and Esterio Segura.

The Cuban Matrix is an ambitious project featuring an in-depth look at contemporary Cuban artwork, with emphasis on digital media exchange culture. The focus of the exhibition is the offline digital “mercado” (marketplace) sharing culture that has arisen around the phenomenon of “El Paquete Semanal”: a weekly terabyte packet of entertainment, downloaded webpages and information that is carried into Cuba, shared and consumed throughout Cuban society.

The works that TAM will be hosting exist and were created in conditions tempered by limited access to the virtual information systems that most of the developed world takes for granted. The artists and their works are shaped by these limitations and the cultural responses that grew to meet them. While the high-speed, constantly available information stream that forms the hallmark of contemporary societies in the global north is not at this time available to the people of Cuba, “El Paquete Semanal” forms a unique and ingenious workaround. It is bought cheaply and distributed from hand to hand, shared and downloaded. Containing everything from entertainment to software to international news, “El Paquete” acts as an object that mediates Cuba and the rest of the world.

During the fall and throughout the exhibition, Torrance Art Museum will present a series of events for visitors and families ranging from tours to artist-led hands-on events, artist talks, performances, screenings,
and live music.
Examples include:
•  Daily exhibition tours
•  Stories in Art, a free, artist-led children’s art workshop
•  Thursday Film program

Media Contacts:
For more information on exhibition and Torrance Art Museum, please contact Benjamin Tippin:
btippin@torranceca.gov / 1 310 618 6342
For SUR: Biennial: Robert Miller, Rio Hondo College
robert.miller@riohondo.edu

Additional Materials:
Exhibition website: www.torranceartmuseum.com/thecubanmatrix
SUR:biennial website: www.facebook.com/surbiennial
Pacific Standard Time LA/LA website: www.pacificstandardtime.org
Social Media: twitter: @torranceart; #TAM, #TheCubanMatrix
instagram: @torranceartmuseum; #TAM, #TheCubanMatrix

About SUR:biennial:
The 4th SUR:biennial focuses around three core venues in Los Angeles: Torrance Art Museum, Rio Hondo College Art Gallery, and Cerritos College Art Gallery. The biennial showcases recent works of local and international artists who have been influenced by the cultures and artistic traditions of Mexico and Central and South America. Unlike many recent exhibitions of Latino/a, Mexican, Mexican-American, or Chicano/a art, the SUR:biennial seeks to explore notions of globalization and exchange that take place in the ambiguous geographical, cultural, and artistic borderlands between Los Angeles and “the South,” regardless of the artist’s nationality.

About Pacific Standard Time LA/LA:
Pacific Standard Time LA/LA is a far-reaching and ambitious exploration of Latin American and Latino art in dialogue with Los Angeles taking place from September 2017 through January 2018. Led by the Getty, Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA is a collaboration of arts institutions across Southern California.

Through a series of thematically linked exhibitions and programs, Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA highlights different aspects of Latin American and Latino art from the ancient world to the present day. With topics such as luxury arts in the pre-Columbian Americas, 20th century Afro-Brazilian, alternative spaces in Mexico City, and boundary-crossing practices of Latino artists, exhibitions range from monographic studies of individual artists to broad surveys that cut across numerous countries.

Supported by more than $16 million in grants from the Getty Foundation, Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA involves more than 70 cultural institutions from Los Angeles to Palm Springs, and from San Diego to Santa Barbara. Pacific Standard Time is an initiative of the Getty. The presenting sponsor is Bank of America.

About Torrance Art Museum:
Founded in 2005, the Torrance Art Museum is the premiere visual art space to view contemporary art in the South Bay. The museum encourages all people to develop and increase their understanding and appreciation for modern programs, artist talks, lectures, and symposia. Through its emphasis on contemporary artistic expression in Southern California and globally, the Torrance Art Museum brings together visual artists and community members; fosters experiences in the arts to strengthen creative and critical thinking skills; and builds bridges between the visual arts and other disciplines in the humanities and sciences.