Kcho Estudio "The Conversation" (2011)
Just days after Obama announced the United States would establish diplomatic relations with and ease economic sanctions on Cuba, Bloomgberg reports that a bevy of collectors are already thinking about what the infusion of Western capital into the communist country would do for the art market. Some Cuban-born artists working abroad were hopeful about returning to work in their country, which had a dearth of resources for artists. Says Glenda Leon:
"I would love to see a Cuba where I can produce my work," Leon said in an e-mail. "If this happens I think many artists living abroad will come back. Here there's no professional framing house, no professional photo laboratory, no machines for working with wood, for printing high-quality photographs, for working with plexiglass."
While this would be great news for Cuban artists, it may not be fantastic news that a bunch of billionaire collectors are planning on moving in and subsuming this market for their own financial gain. And weirdly, even just within the last few days, I've heard several warnings that Cuba will soon lose its communist "charm" soon after it opens trade with the US.
Liz Klein, an art adviser at Reiss Klein Partners in New York who toured Havana and met artists for five days in 2012 with collectors and trustees of Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, said anyone interested in Cuba should visit soon. "Once it really opens up and the landscape changes and Western dollars fix things up, you worry a little about how quickly the charm will be lost," she said.
Oh boy. Your thoughts?