LSM Newswire

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Miami Dade College opens its Gallery Season at the Freedom Tower with an Exhibition of the Works of Late Cuban Modern Master Cundo Bermˆ†dez

Location: Freedom Tower. 600 Biscayne Blvd. Miami, FL 33132

Dates: From Sept 4th through Nov 7th, 2009

Hours: Tuesdays to Fridays, noon to 5:00 p.m. Saturdays: 11:00 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Admission: Free

The Miami Dade College (MDC) Art Gallery System (AGS) officially opens its art gallery season by paying tribute to one of Cuba’Äôs greatest artists, the late master Cundo Bermˆ†dez, with the exhibition Under a Brilliant Sun: Cundo Bermˆ†dez into the 21st Century at its National Historic Landmark Freedom Tower starting on September 4th, 2009. The exhibition runs through November 7th and is made possible by Bank of America. The exhibition will honor the artist's fertile career and his contribution to modern art by highlighting an outstanding selection of more than 100 paintings, drawings and sculpture, including an important part of his latest artworks never shown in an exhibition of this magnitude.

Cundo Bermˆ†dez, one of the last members of the important Cuban Vanguard movement, died on October 30th, 2008 at the age of 94. He had called Miami home for the last twenty years of his life and was painting and drawing up until the end. Cundo was one of the first Cuban Modernists to be collected by the Museum of Modern Art as two of his nine paintings exhibited in the landmark Cuban Paintings exhibition in 1944 were accessioned.

He was a very prolific artist who lived for his art. Only music rivaled this passion of his and he was known to paint and draw while listening to favorite works by famous Cuban composers. It is, therefore, not surprising that one of the works for which Cundo is best known - at least in Miami - is the wonderful mural he designed for Miami’Äôs Center for the Performing Arts (now the Arsht Center for the Performing Arts). Designed during the years 1997-1999, it heralded a new phase for Cundo as he entered the 21st century determined to create a body of work for a new era. Approximately half of this exhibition is devoted to these works - a testament to the artist’Äôs remarkably strong will to create.

Over the more than 70 years of a long and illustrious career, Bermudez had accomplished so much. From participation in the groundbreaking MoMa exhibit of 1944 to the completion of major public commissions to representation in major public and private collections, Bermudez was one of the leading figures in 20th Century Cuban art.

’ÄúWe are honored to be the site of the first major exhibition of Cundo’Äôs work following his passing. It’Äôs especially moving to pay tribute to this great artist at the Freedom Tower,’Äù said MDC President Dr. Eduardo J. Padrˆ„n. ’ÄúI want to thank Bank of America and the college’Äôs art gallery system team for making this exhibition possible.’Äù

Under a Brilliant Sun: Cundo Bermˆ†dez into the 21st Century honors the prolific career of Bermˆ†dez and his contributions to modern art by showcasing a selection of works that includes some of his latest and featuring pieces never shown in exhibitions.

This exhibition highlights a considerable body of work created by Bermˆ†dez in the last decade of his life when he called Miami home. ’ÄúMeeting Cundo and watching him work was one of the highlights of this author’Äôs curatorial career and I am honored to have had the opportunity to spend time with him. It is not often that an art historian is able to meet an artist whose career spanned so many years.’Äù said art historian, researcher and curator of the exhibition Ruth Grim.

Cundo Bermˆ†dez is part of a generation of artists that reshaped and gave new directions to art in Latin America like the depictions of daily life of their own rounded existences and the use of new concepts in the linear treatment of the figure. These approaches are common in artists like Diego Rivera, Rufino Tamayo, Josˆ© Clemente Orozco in Mˆ©xico; Fernando de Szyszlo and Ricardo Grau in Perˆ†; Joaquˆ‚n Torres-Garcˆ‚a and Gonzalo Fonseca in Uruguay; Tarsila do Amaral in Brazil; Emilio Pettoruti, Juan del Prete and Gyula Kusice in Argentina and Armando Reverˆ„n in Venezuela.

’ÄúThis unique exhibition is a point of departure to explore the many other elements of painting that were not only important to Cundo but also to the evolution of Cuban and Latin American art through modernism’Äù. Said Jorge Luis Gutierrez, Director of MDC Art Gallery System. ’ÄúThis exhibition provides a complete narrative to the many facets of his remarkable accomplishments.’Äù

As MDC now serves as the proud steward of the Freedom Tower, thanks to its donation to the college by Pedro Martin and family, it is using the building as a significant educational and cultural center. In the recent years since MDC acquired it, the iconic building has been used for other major art exhibitions, including showcasing the works of great artists such as Salvador Dalˆ‚, Goya, Leonardo Da Vinci, Janet Cardiff, Carlos Alfonso and Wendy Wischer among others.

About the Artist

Born in Havana in 1914, Bermˆ†dez was a founding member of Cuba’Äôs Association of Painters and Sculptors. He led the tide of modern Cuban art in the 1940s and 1950s drawing from the people, landscape, music and political climate around him. He led the continued modernization of Cuban art during the 1940s and 1950s and on canvas, synthesized the character and national identity of his homeland through the color and luminosity of its iconic people, sites and musical scenes. His works have been exhibited across the globe. He passed away at 94 on Oct. 30, 2008, at his home in the Westchester neighborhood of Miami-Dade County.

Exhibition Catalogue

Accompanying the exhibition will be a publication featuring color reproductions, with text by art historian and curator of the exhibition Ruth Grim, and introductions by art historian Vivian Donnell Rodriguez, Executive Director of Cultural Affairs at MDC and Jorge Luis Gutierrez, Director and Chief Curator of MDC Art Gallery System.


The Miami Dade College Art Gallery System proudly presents the lifetime work of this great modernist master as part of is arts program oriented to welcome and engage all visitors by offering personal, extraordinary experiences that connect art and ideas to stimulate the thriving, creative community that is Miami. The Mission of the Miami Dade College Art Gallery System is to encourage the appreciation and understanding of art and its role in society through direct engagement with original works of art and art-related creative processes. The AGS organizes exhibitions and educational programs to offer enjoyment and encourage inquiry, while building and preserving its collections in trust for future generations.

With a system of seven art galleries throughout Miami Dade and the art spaces at the iconic Freedom Tower in Downtown Miami, it is the largest art network in Florida.

For special hours, guided tours and education events and programs please contact: MDC Art Gallery System at 305.237.7186, 305.237.7700, or visit

For more information about local openings and events, please visit

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