from October 11 through January 28, 2008
Source: The Haggerty Museum of Art at Marquette University
Image: Wifredo Lam, Femme aux cheveux longs I, 1938. Gouache on paper, 39 3/8 x 26 in. (100 x 66 cm). Collection of Ramón and Nercys Cernuda.
Milwaukee, WI. The Haggerty Museum of Art at Marquette University is hosting the first American retrospective exhibition of Cuba’s best-known and most influential Surrealist, Wifredo Lam, since October 11, 2007-January 21, 2008. “Wifredo Lam in North America” features over 60 drawings and paintings from North American collections that best represent the different phases of Lam’s career.
“Wifredo Lam in North America” was organized by the Haggerty Museum of Art and includes works from North American museums, galleries and private collections across the United States and the Caribbean. Lenders to the exhibition include the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution; The Menil Collection, Houston; Miami Art Museum; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art as well as galleries and collectors throughout North America. The focus of this exhibition is on the impact of Lam’s Cuban, and in particular Afro-Cuban, identity in the development of his style leading to the creation of a hybrid vocabulary reflecting his immersion in Paris School, Surrealist and Afro-Cuban aesthetics. The role of American museums, galleries and private collectors in bringing about a renaissance of interest in Lam’s works is also explored.
In conjunction with the exhibition, the Haggerty Museum of Art is publishing a full-color illustrated catalogue that will make a significant contribution to the scholarship on Lam. It includes the following essays:
“Lam’s Femme Cheval: Avatar of Beauty” by Lowery Stokes Sims, Adjunct Curator, Studio Museum in Harlem
“Wifredo Lam and Surrealism” by Dawn Ades, Professor of Art History and Theory, University of Essex;
“Wifredo Lam: Art of Pride and Anger” by Valerie Fletcher, Senior Curator at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution
“Wifredo Lam” by Lou Laurin-Lam, widow of the artist
“Wifredo Lam and the Caribbean” by Edward Lucie-Smith, independent curator
“Wifredo Lam: Cultural Globalizer” by Curtis L. Carter, curator of the exhibition and founding director of the Haggerty Museum of Art.
Wifredo Lam (1902-1982) was born to a Chinese immigrant and a Cuban woman of African and Spanish ancestry and is known for celebrating his heritage through his art by merging Afro-Cubanism with the Paris School and Surrealist influences. His early life in Cuba had been grounded in Santeria, a religion that combines African Yoruba deity worship with the Catholic tradition of prayer to the saints.
Lam left Cuba in 1923 when he received a scholarship to study at the Museo del Prado in Madrid. Remaining in Spain until 1937, he participated in the Spanish Civil War on the Republican side before moving to Paris where he became a close friend of Picasso. Through him he met other leading artists in Paris who influenced his style of painting. In 1940, he left Paris for Marseilles where he took refuge from World War II with a group of Surrealists.
Lam returned to Cuba in 1941 and rediscovered the lush Cuban landscape as well as his Afro-Cuban heritage. He took the techniques of synthetic Cubism based on forms of traditional African sculpture and reinterpreted them through Afro-Cuban culture.
Lam’s work began to draw international recognition in the 1940s. He was featured in full-length magazine articles and held one-person shows in London, Paris and New York. In 1964 he received the Guggenheim International Prize. Between 1947 and 1952, Lam lived and worked in Havana, New York and Paris where he settled permanently continuing his long, productive career until his death in 1982. His work can be found in major museums throughout the world including New York’s Museum of Modern Art and the Tate Modern in London.
Support for this exhibition and supporting educational programs is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Eleanor Boheim Endowment Fund, the Emmett J. Doerr Endowment Fund, the Wisconsin Arts Board, the Milwaukee Arts Board and the Marquette University Andrew W. Mellon Committee Fund.
After the exhibition at the Haggerty Museum concludes on Monday, January 21, 2008 it will travel to the Miami Art Museum (2/8/08-5/18/08), the Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach, California (6/12/08-8/31/08), and the Dali Museum, St. Petersburg, Florida (10/2/08-1/10/09).
The Haggerty Museum is located at 13th and Clybourn Streets on the Marquette University campus in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It is accessible to persons with disabilities.
Free parking for Museum visitors is available in the Mary B. Finnigan Parking Lot adjacent to Marquette Lot-J, entered from 11 St. one block south of Wisconsin Ave.
For information, call (414) 288-1669
Free admission daily