The Miami-based Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation (CIFO) has named the nine recipients of its 16th annual Grants & Commissions Program, and announced that it will close the CIFO Art Center, its permanent exhibition space in the city since 2005.
The culmination of the grants and commissions program is a group exhibition of the proposed works, typically presented each fall at the CIFO Art Center, which will close after an April exhibition of B.F.A. work for the New World School of Arts. Instead, the foundation will pivot to presenting this exhibition and its future exhibitions at partnering institutions throughout Latin America. This year’s “Grants & Commissions” exhibition will take place at the Centro Cultural Metropolitano in Quito, Ecuador, and will open to the public on October 6.
A model for the foundation’s new mode of operating may be seen in the acclaimed recent exhibition “Adiós Utopia: Dreams and Deceptions in Cuban Art Since 1950,” a wide-ranging survey of contemporary art from Cuba, accompanied by a massive catalogue. The foundation co-organized the show, but did not present it at its Miami space, opting for it to go to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and then to the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, where it is currently on view. The organization’s aim, it says in a news release, is to present their scholarly exhibitions to a wider set of audiences.
“While CIFO’s heart will always be in Miami—as will our operational offices—we are thrilled to be making the transition to an international exhibition model,” CIFO’s founder, Ella Fontanals-Cisneros, said in a statement. “CIFO’s partnerships with global institutions will ultimately bring our programs, and the vital work of Latin American artists, to a wider audience of art enthusiasts.”
Among this year’s commissioned artists is, in CIFO’s lifetime achievement category, the Argentine conceptual artist Horacio Zabala, who first rose to prominence in the 1970s with a series of modified maps of Latin America that looked to interrogate the turmoil he saw in his country under a repressive military dictatorship. Zabala lived in exile in Europe for 22 years, and since returning to Argentina, his work has juxtaposed monochromatic paintings with mathematical signs—this series was the subject of an exhibition at the Phoenix Art Museum in 2016. His proposed new piece, titled Hypothesis for 20 Paintings and 19 Signs, is a continuation of those works.
Other commissioned work includes Fredman Barahona’s Machete Dress, which will look at the erasure of LGBTQ+ people from the histories of revolutions in Latin America; Gala Berger’s Resistance Alliances, which will chart various histories of feminism throughout Latin America in the form of a board game; and Lázaro Saavedra’s Mártires (Martyrs), an examination of the ways in which martyrdom relates to the Cuban revolution, to be presented in a specially created golf course.
The full list of awardees, along with the titles of their proposed works, follows.
Fredman Barahona (Nicaragua), Machete Dress
Gala Berger (Argentina), Resistance Alliances
Víctor del Moral (Mexico), paLíndro
Rubén D´Hers (Venezuela), Faint Music
Laura Huertas Millán (Colombia), Mirages
Daniela Serna Gallego (Colombia), Periphrasis
Magdalena Atria (Chile), Cogollo de Toronjil (Lemon Balm Shoot)
Lázaro Saavedra (Cuba), Mártires (Martyrs)
Horacio Zabala (Argentina), Hypothesis for 20 Paintings and 19 Signs