November 28, 2003

Havana: about making films, about art

Excellent story in the Guardian by Chris Payne about a film school outside Havana whose students' production--an actually independent feature film-- doesn't officially exist, but nonetheless is getting plugs for Sundance. There's more story here to be told.

Also from Havana, the Biennial. Maria Finn's Times article has an interesting angle: the economic impact of international art world attention on Cuban contemporary artists. Even emerging artist-level prices (ie, in the thousands or low five figures) enable artists to live like kings in the dollar-starved Cuban economy. But collector friends who just came back from Havana noticed how outsize success--or at least the trappings of it on the ground, which also often signal collaboration or acquiescence with the regime--polarizes artists.

From what I've heard, and from what Blake Gopnik's ecstatic survey in the Post says, the quality of the art was incredible. But alongside the disparities it creates, an internationalized Cuban contemporary art market runs the risk of exploitation. In the Outsider Art market, this meme is already too well established: art world slickster "discovers" a naive, native genius, buys up all his work, establishes some "gatekeeper" stranglehold on his production, and manipulates the prices to her own--not the artist's-- advantage.

Since 2001 here at greg.org, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting greg.org that time.

comments? questions? tips? pitches? email
greg [at] greg [dot ] org

find me on twitter: @gregorg

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first published: November 28, 2003.

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