CENTER FOR CUBAN STUDIES
Center for Cuban Studies
231 West 29 Street, 4th floor
New York, NY 10011
Tel. (212) 242-0559
Fax. (212) 242-1937
Sandra Levinson, Executive Director
Hours open to the public
The Center for Cuban Studies: Monday–Friday, 9:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.
History of the Institution
The Center for Cuban Studies is a non-profit cultural institution located in New York City with a national membership base. Through programs of news, information, and exchanges, it works to normalize the relations between the United States and Cuba.
The 1961 U.S. ban on trade and travel to Cuba has resulted in a cultural embargo on information about Cuba. The Center opened in 1972, organized by a group of scholars, writers, artists, and other professionals, in response to the effects of U.S. policy toward Cuba. The Center has served as a communication link between the U.S. and Cuba through its publications, organized tours, library services, exchange programs, and art projects.
In 1999 the Center for Cuban Studies created the Cuban Art Space to collect, exhibit, and sell the art of artists born and living in Cuba. The Center for Cuban Studies and the Cuban Art Space share the same building.
Scope and Content
The Center for Cuban Studies documents the intellectual, social, historical, cultural, and political changes in Cuba over the last fifty years. The Cuban Art Space collects art by Cuban artists living in Cuba, and occasionally by artists in other Latin American countries and the United States. The archival records of the Cuban Art Center primarily document the art of Cuban artists who live and work in Cuba.
The bulk of the archival material is located at the Cuban Art Space together with the main office of the Center for Cuban Studies. In addition, the Lourdes Casal Library (on the third floor of the same building) contains some research materials on the visual arts, including books, periodicals, and clippings.
The collection of art at the Cuban Art Space is a very important element of their research material, as objects are viewable upon request.
Overall holdings of archives and research material:
Twenty-three linear feet
Overall holdings of archives and research material related to Latino art: Two linear feet
Inclusive dates of files: 1930–present
Bulk dates: 1950–present
Languages in which records are written:
Most primary source materials are in Spanish. Secondary source materials (particularly art books) are mostly in English.
Holdings: Primary Sources
Archives of institution's history and operation related to Latino art:
One linear foot
These materials include files related to operations and exhibitions organized at the Cuban Art Space. The Center for Cuban Studies has also some institutional records in an off-site location.
Newsletters and magazines published in-house:
CUBA Update is a quarterly, web-based magazine published by the Center of Cuban Studies that covers many topics including politics, economics, and the arts, with an emphasis on U.S-Cuba relations. With its own correspondents in Havana and the input of experts on both Cuba and the U.S., CUBA Update provides news coverage and discussion of important issues almost impossible to find elsewhere.
The Cuban Art Space has its own electronic newsletter, which it distributes to members only.
Recorded interviews and performances:
The Cuban Art Space holds recorded interviews with artists such as Alberto Korda, Marucha, Raúl Corrales, Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, William Pérez, and Rita Ibarra. These are recorded on VHS.
Slides and photographs:
The Cuban Art Space has approximately 1,500 images of artworks from their collection. Some artists represented in those photographs include Osvaldo Salas, Marta Jiménez, Alexis Martínez. In addition, the Cuban Art Space has 1,000 slides of posters, many of them produced by the Instituto Cubano de Arte e Industria Cinematográfica (ICAIC).
An additional 2,500 digital images document exhibition installations and works by individual artists. Approximately 490 of these images are available on the website. The rest are archived in the Cuban Art Center's database. Some artists represented within the online images include Yamilis and Jacqueline Brito, Wayacón, Carlos Estévez, Joel Jover, Manuel Mendive, and Elsa Mora.
Art objects and artifacts available for research:
These include 1,500 photographs (art and photojournalism); 5,000 Posters (silkscreen); 2,200 Prints, Drawings; and 500 Paintings.
Exhibition catalogues published in-house that include work by Latino artists:
Some titles include Cuban Photography 1959–1982 (1983), 10 Artists from Cuba (1981), Naïve Art from Cuba (1997), and Alfredo González Rostgaard: A Retrospective (2001).
Exhibition catalogues, books, and periodicals related to Latino art:
Sixteen linear feet
These volumes are organized between the Lourdes Casal Library and the Cuban Art Space. Included are books on the art of Amelia Peláez and Roberto Fabelo, Jorge Rigol's Apuntes Sobre Pintura y Grabado en Cuba, the catalogues of the Havana Biennial, the catalogues of the Salón Nacional de Fotografía, and a collection of hand-made books published by Ediciones Vigía. The Lourdes Casal Library subscribes to the art journal Arte Cubano and to the Revista Revolución y Cultura, which always includes articles about Cuban visual arts.
Vertical file materials related to Latino art: artist files, brochures, pamphlets, clippings:
Twelve linear feet
Materials in the artist files include digital images, résumés, slides, and clippings. Among the artists represented are José Bedia, Soso Bravo, Sandra Dooley, Carlos Estévez, Roberto Fabelo, José Fuster, Alicia Leal, Raúl Martínez, Elsa Mora, Manuel Mendive, William Pérez, Sandra Ramos, and Adrián Rumbao.
A database of the art collection is available. The artist files are not cataloged but are assembled in one filing cabinet and organized alphabetically. The materials at the Lourdes Casal Library are listed in a database. However, art books and periodicals are in the process of being added.
Archival records and research materials are viewable only upon request. Appointments should be made at least one day in advance. There are no access restrictions to the research materials.
The archival records pertaining to the visual arts at the Cuban Art Space and the Center for Cuban Studies constitute a unique source of information for researchers interested in Cuban art produced on the island after the Revolution in 1959. The art collection of the Cuban Art Space, their artist files, and the cultural and art journals available at the Lourdes Casal Library are great resources that fill a void in the sources of information available on Cuba in the United States.
Relations to other Latino and Latin American organizations:
The Center for Cuban Studies collaborates with the Institute for Research in African-American Studies, the Institute for African Studies, and the Institute for Latin American Studies (Columbia University) to organize lectures related to Cuban culture.