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Art on the Hyphen: Cuban-American Art in Western New York State at the Burchfield-Penney Art Center

Exhibition on view from January 15 – April 3, 2005

Posted: January 4, 2005
The Burchfield-Penney Art Center and Hispanics United of Buffalo, in cooperation with the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Antecesores and Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, present Art on the Hyphen: Cuban-American Art in Western New York State, an exhibition designed to introduce the spectator to the Cuban-American presence in New York State as it is manifested in works of art—including painting, sculpture, video and photography. The exhibition begins with an opening reception on Friday, January 14, 2005 from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. and is on view from January 15 through April 9, 2005.

Each of the artists featured in this exhibition places an emphasis on either side of the hyphen that defines their Cuban and their American identities. Among these artists, their experience of Cuba differs significantly. Some lack memories of Cuba. Some have memories crystallized in their childhoods, while others came as adults with their Cuban identities complete. For two artists, the Cuban side of the hyphen is a matter of choice, as they are American-born.

This exhibition presents a story of Cuban immigration and assimilation that is intrinsically American. As a country of immigrants, the U.S. combines diversity with an individualism that is characteristic of the American psyche. New arrivals increase American diversity every day, bringing us new hyphenated identities. In his book, Life on the Hyphen, Gustavo Perez Firmat defined the hyphen as the metaphysical space of being and becoming as a dual cultural identity is defined by individual choice. Negotiating the hyphen is a sometimes difficult, yet liberating experience reflected in the work of the artists included in this exhibition. This exhibition is an invitation extended by Christian Campos, George Campos, Errol Daniels, Jorge Guitart, Agustin Rolando Rojas, Alberto Rey and Nestor Zarragoitia to share their Cuban-American lives in Western New York.

Cuban and American art are represented in Western New York in works which specifically address the experience and memory of these artists as Cubans, as Americans and as observers in the cultural flow that links Cuba and the United States.

Complementing the exhibition is a comprehensive programming schedule which includes lectures, readings, music performances and a film series presented by the Burchfield-Penney and Hallwalls. In addition, WNED-TV is presenting a series of Cuban programming (check local listings for information.)

Art on the Hyphen was organized by Don Metz, associate director/head of public programs at the Burchfield-Penney and curated by Lynette Bosch, associate professor of Art History at SUNY Geneseo and Bunting Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University as well as author of several publications including her newest release Cuban-American Art In Miami.

This exhibition was made possible through the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts-Challenge America Grant, Rite Aid Pharmacy, New York State Council on the Arts, New York Council on the Humanities, Buffalo State College Office of Equity and Diversity, Buffalo State College Auxiliary Services Grant Allocation Committee, Niagara Mohawk, A National Grid Company, Rotary Club-Buffalo Sunrise, Goya Foods, TOPS Markets, Mark Goldman, Hyatt’s-All Things Creative and Julio and Amy Alvarez.

About the Burchfield-Penney Art Center

The Burchfield-Penney Art Center is a museum dedicated to the art and vision of Charles E. Burchfield and distinguished artists of Buffalo Niagara and Western New York State. Through its affiliation with Buffalo State College, the museum encourages learning and celebrates our richly creative and diverse community. For more information, call (716) 878-6011 or visit

The Burchfield-Penney Art Center is accredited by the American Association of Museums and is supported in part with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts and Erie County. Additional operating support is provided by the Elizabeth Elser Doolittle Trust, the James Carey Evans Endowment, the Mary A. H. Rumsey Foundation and charitable contributions by museum members and visitors.
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