Why Cuban Concrete Art? Concrete Cuban art is a little-known branch of modernism. It adds to the history of postwar abstraction by providing a first glimpse of what a small group of Cuban artists were up to in the 1950s and early ’60s, the tumultuous years leading up to, and just after, the revolution that brought Fidel Castro to power. This is a museum-quality effort, and was seen in a somewhat different form (same artists, some different works) at Zwirner’s London branch last fall.
These artists briefly called themselves Los Diez Pintores Concretos — the 10 Concrete Painters — or, simply, Los Diez, the 10. Formally, their collective had a short life, 1959-61, and showed together as a group only three times. It was the culmination of nearly a decade of work, friendships, writing, lectures, sojourns and shows in Paris and New York, as well as local exhibitions.
The group coalesced around Galeria Color-Luz (Color-Light), which was started in Havana in 1957 by Loló Soldevilla (1901-1971), just after she returned from several years in Paris as Cuba’s cultural attaché. She was an artist with energy to burn, judging by the works representing her here. Her partner in the effort, another member of the 10, was Pedro de Oraá, an artist, poet and art critic, born in 1931, who would write a short history of the group.