Intelligencer — Cuban Irony In Riverside

Cuban painter Pedro Álvarez.



"The Signs Pile Up: Paintings by Pedro Álvarez" Jan. 26-March 29, 2008 Opening Reception: Jan. 26, 7-9 p.m. Sweeney Art Gallery 3800 block Main St., Riverside 951-827-1467

Courtesy UC Riverside Sweeney Art Gallery

Tragedy follows many great artists, and Pedro Álvarez was no exception. The Cuban painter who emerged during his nation’s prolonged economic crisis following the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, Álvarez took on subjects important to Cubans and to many others interested in Cuba and its art.

In 2004, Álvarez, then 37, died after falling from his hotel-room window in Tempe, Ariz., where he had opened an exhibition — Landscape in the Fireplace — a few days earlier at Arizona State University Art Museum. The medical examiner’s office ruled his death a suicide.

Álvarez, who split his time between Havana and Malaga, Spain, was at the forefront of a movement that made political statements through irony and cultural references, says Tyler Stallings, curator of The Signs Pile Up: Paintings by Pedro Álvarez, opening Jan. 26, 2008, at UC Riverside Sweeney Art Gallery.

The global appeal of Álvarez’s work manifests in how he dealt symbolically with global issues, juxtaposing pop culture references, such as images from The Simpsons, against traditional Cuban images, such as 19th century peasants and troubadours, punctuating cross-cultural influences between the United States and Cuba.

“In the lush Cuban landscape, black slaves gaze on, puzzled by the juxtapositions,” the Arizona museum asserted. “Over all is a monochrome green of American money, the currency of exchange on an island that officially despises capitalism.”

Located in the heart of downtown Riverside’s historic Mission Inn district, Sweeney exhibits provocative contemporary art and presents programs that are accessible to the community.


Art + Culture

Related Articles

Photography Exhibit on the Salton Sea at E. Stewart Williams’ Last Residential Project

Architect E. Stewart Williams’ last masterpiece, the Graff-Radford residence in Rancho Mirage, will be the backdrop for a photography exhibition by Vincent Ri-cardel titled: Oasis Lost? The Salton Sea, on Oct. 12.

Nadia G. Explores Palm Springs Cuisine With New Cooking Channel Show

Nadia G.'s favorite ingredient in cooking is comedy and her new Cooking Channel show recently came to Palm Springs to explore unique cuisine and have a few laughs.

The Man Behind Coachella

15 years ago, Goldenvoice’s Paul Tollett launched a music festival that reinvented the valley’s youth tourism market.

Visionary - Joshua Otten

Arts, Media & Entertainment Visionary - Otten notes that the area is an ideal place for companies looking to relocate. “There’s a great appreciation for hard work here.

Visionary - Jeff L. Grubbe

Philanthropy Visionary - As chairman of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, Jeff L. Grubbe is one of five council members who oversee all tribal business.

Promotions + Contests

Cartoon Caption Contest

Cartoon Caption Contest

Each month, we provide a vintage 1950’s cartoon illustrated by Alice Rovinsky. You are invited to submit a caption or vote for your favorite caption.
Enter to Win A Celebrate Dance Experience!

Enter to Win A Celebrate Dance Experience!

Enter just once for a chance to win tickets to one of the second annual Palm Desert International Dance Festival performances.