MoMA Acquires Tania Bruguera’s Landmark Performance and Video Installation Untitled (Havana, 2000)

Posted on July 7, 2015

The Museum of Modern Art has acquired Tania Bruguera’s Untitled (Havana 2000), a major performance and video installation that was conceived for and shown at the VII Bienal de La Habana in 2000. The first in a series made by the artist and presented in cities around the world between 2000 and 2009—with each piece in the series featuring a different performance addressing the sociopolitical memory of the city in question—it is a landmark of the artist’s early career, and the first work by Bruguera to enter MoMA’s collection. Untitled (Havana, 2000) was acquired through The Modern Women’s Fund Committee and the Committee on Media and Performance Art Fund.

Bruguera (Cuban, b. 1968), one of the foremost figures in contemporary art, works with performative, installation-based, and experiential art forms. Though the seeds of Bruguera’s practice grew out of socially conscious Cuban art of the 1970s and 1980s and the work of artists such as Ana Mendieta, Carlos Cárdenas, and the Arte Calle Group, her work is equally indebted to Joseph Beuys’s notion of “social sculpture,” Allan Kaprow’s happenings, and Carolee Schneemann’s performances.

At the Havana Biennial in 2000, Untitled (Havana, 2000) was installed in the Cabaña Fortress, a military facility used as a jail for prisoners of conscience during the Cuban Revolution. This large-scale installation consists of a long, cave-like corridor whose floor is covered with decomposed sugarcane. Immersed in darkness and the odor of fermentation, visitors are drawn to a faint light produced by an ordinary television monitor showing previously televised and private scenes of Fidel Castro.

MoMA Acquires Tania Bruguera’s Landmark Performance and Video Installation Untitled (Havana, 2000)


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