In collaboration with The Cuban Arts Group, the Harn Museum of Art is presenting Under the Spell of the Palm Tree: The Rice Collection of Cuban Art (Bajo el hechizo de la palma). This exhibition is drawn exclusively from the collection of Susie and Mitchell Rice and offers a glimpse into the complexity of culture and history that has inspired Cuban art throughout the 20th century and into the 21st century. Guest curators Gabriela Azcuy and David Horta utilized the work of a broad range of artists in the Rice Collection to display an inclusive view of Cuban art, reflecting on its current dynamic and the existence of new geographies as an essential part of its reality. Through more than 70 works representing 54 artists, the exhibition presents the narrative of a “crossing”—a virtual crossing of the seas as well as a crossing of generations, of artists living or having lived both in Cuba and in the Diaspora.

Artists in the exhibition include modern masters (Cundo Bermúdez, Mario Carreño, Salvador Corratgé, Carlos Enríquez, Wifredo Lam and René Portocarrero), members of the so-called “generation of true hope ” of the 1970s (Pedro Pablo Oliva and Roberto Fabelo), the “Cuban renaissance” generation of the 1980s (José Bedia, René Francisco Rodríguez, Eduardo Ponjuán and Lázaro Saavedra), the generation of the 1990s (Tania Brugueras, Belkis Ayón, Carlos Garaicoa, Sandra Ramos, Esterio Segura), as well as younger artists who have gained international visibility (Adrián Fernández, Reynier Leyva Novo and Mabel Poblet).

Dedicated to enriching and strengthening cross-cultural connections through the arts of Cuba, The Cuban Arts Group, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization, is a collaborative effort between those passionate about the arts, and history, from the U.S. and Cuba. Founded in 2015 by Susie and Mitchell Rice, The Cuban Arts Group builds on the cultural evolution that has taken place—and continues to grow—both on the island and throughout the U.S. Cuban diaspora. The organization’s mission is to educate Americans about Cuban arts and culture through exhibitions and a diverse educational arts programs involving Cuban artists, art educators, curators, historians and writers.

The presenting sponsor for this exhibition is The Cuban Arts Group with additional support provided by the Jessie Ball duPont Fund; Ken and Laura Berns; Fine, Farkash and Parlapiano, P.A.; Visit Gainesville, Alachua County; Bryson Foundation; Gayle Olson; Rick and Aase Thompson; Wells Fargo Foundation; Barbara N. Anderson; Maggie Labarta and Jon Cherry; Manny and Mercy Quiroga; Cox Communications; and other generous donors.
Casita verde y blanca by Emilio Sánchez
Pedro Pablo Oliva, (detail)

Artist Conversations

Past Programs

Museum Nights: Noche de Museo
September 14, 2023
Visitors were treated to a screening of A Bruddah’s Mind as part of the Gainesville Latino Film Festival as well as an array of other activites.

Artist Talk
Esterio Segura
September 26, 2023

Artist Talk
José Bedia
October 19, 2023

Collector’s Talk
Mitchell & Susie Rice, Guest Curators Gabriela Azcuy and David Horta, and Dulce Román, Chief Curator and Curator of Modern Art
October 21, 2023

Museum Days: Our Cuba
October 28, 2023
Visitors experienced various arts-inspired, cultural activities with UF’s Cuban American Student Association and the Gator Salsa Club to celebrate Cuba’s creative spirit.

HESCAH Talk: Los Carpinteros and the Meaning of Beauty
Rachel Weiss, Professor (emerita), School of the Art Institute of Chicago
November 2, 2023

Museum Nights: Holidays in the Tropics
December 14, 2023
Visitors were treated to special tours and art activities relating to the exhibition as well as a special performance from the Tone Definition a cappella group.