Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Unfinished Spaces: Cuba's (counter?) Revolutionary Art Schools

(Go here for full trailer.)

If you have never read the John Loomis' book, A Revolution of Forms, I highly recommend it.  (Loomis is pictured to the left at last night's opening).  It chronicles the birth and premature death of the cultural and architectural marvel of Cuba's National Schools of Art.

Readers are also alerted to Alma Guillermoprieto's fantastic memoir, Dancing with Cuba, which is set during the 6-months she spent teaching at one of the schools back in 1969.

Tonight here in NYC, I'm headed down to Tribeca Cinemas to see the new documentary, Unfinished Spaces, which is also about the Schools. Here's a blurb from the film's website:

Cuba's ambitious National Art Schools project, designed by three young artists in the wake of Castro's Revolution, is neglected, nearly forgotten, then ultimately rediscovered as a visionary architectural masterpiece.

In 1961, three young, visionary architects were commissioned by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara to create Cuba's National Art Schools on the grounds of a former golf course in Havana, Cuba. Construction of their radical designs began immediately and the school's first classes soon followed. Dancers, musicians and artists from all over the country reveled in the beauty of the schools, but as the dream of the Revolution quickly became a reality, construction was abruptly halted and the architects and their designs were deemed irrelevant in the prevailing political climate. Forty years later the schools are in use, but remain unfinished and decaying. Castro has invited the exiled architects back to finish their unrealized dream.

Unfinished Spaces features intimate footage of Fidel Castro, showing his devotion to creating a worldwide showcase for art, and it also documents the struggle and passion of three revolutionary artists.

Directed by Alysa Nahmias and Benjamin Murray
2011 / HD / Color / 16:9 (1.78:1) / 86 min / Stereo

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