Sean Kelly Gallery
Through June 22
There is a renewed interest in the west of Soviet modern architecture from the Cold War and its strong and determined sculptural form. Much of the work was barely known in the west—at least in this country—and has come as a revelation to scholars and critics. A recent exhibition Soviet Modernism 1955-1991 at the Architekturzentrum in Vienna and a fascinating exhibit Cold War Cool Digital at Pratt Institute featured Soviet designed pre-fabricated and globally distributed Cold War Era housing systems. Both of these exhibits featured the ambitious and determined socialist realism that one would expect from work of this period, but now an exhibition, Irreversible, at the Sean Kelly Gallery by the Havana- and Madrid-based group Los Carpinteros features work that expresses what it felt like to be the receiver of these Soviet-inspired architectural and sculptural forms and their realist messages.
The artists are showing large, brightly colored objects inspired by Russian and Yugoslavian sculptures that simultaneously revel in their dramatic form but also the feeling of unease they evoked for Cubans. In order to obfuscate the potentially fraught political connotations of the work. Los Carpenters made them of their own versions of LEGO children’s blocks. The results are convincing and powerful in their own right and monuments of a new generation of Cuban artists. The show is on at Sean Kelly through June 22 and features other work by the young Carpinteros.