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‘Wild Noise’ at El Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes

Havana, Cuba

Jamel Shabazz, Young Boys, East Flatbush, Brooklyn, 1980, C-print, 20" x 16". BRONX MUSEUM OF THE ARTS, GIFT OF THE ARTIST

Jamel Shabazz, Young Boys, East Flatbush, Brooklyn, 1980, C-print, 20" x 16".

BRONX MUSEUM OF THE ARTS, GIFT OF THE ARTIST

In 1986, seeking to better connect with the borough’s diverse population, the Bronx Museum began collecting works by artists of African, Asian, and Latin American ancestry. The same year, the second Havana Biennial broadened its focus beyond the art of the Caribbean and Latin America to include artists from Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.

The Bronx and the Biennial’s shared commitment to promoting contemporary art at the intersection of the local and the global has produced “Wild Noise.” Timed to coincide with the 12th Havana Biennial, the first phase of this exhibition sent a selection of works from the Bronx Museum’s collection to El Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes; a sampling of the Museo’s collection will head to New York next spring.

Highlighting the range of the Bronx collection, the installation paired Jamel Shabazz’s photographs documenting New York’s hip-hop culture of the 1980s with the late Jamaican artist Peter Dean Rickards’s Proverbs 24:10 (2008), a slowed-down video of a Kingston neighborhood dance-off. Elsewhere, Bronx-born conceptualist Vito Acconci’s Trademarks (1970–2004), a photographic record of the artist biting himself, was joined by a tiny self-portrait by painter Henry Taylor.

At a time of thawing Cuban-U.S. relations, the exhibition’s message of cooperation seemed particularly apt.

A version of this story originally appeared in the November 2015 issue of ARTnews on page 111.

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