Art World Descends On Cuba

Once the Art World discovers a place, you can bet that McDonald’s and Starbucks aren’t far behind. Friday marked the opening of the 12th edition of the Havana Biennial, an event that has the art world abuzz. First launched in 1984 as an exhibition devoted to showcasing the the works of artists from Latin America, it has since morphed into a sprawling international affair with plenty of ancillary events. In the last half dozen years, it has attracted collectors, curators and arts writers from all over the U.S. and Europe who jet to Havana to see and buy art. But this year, it is freighted with a special anticipation. For this year’s edition represents the first iteration of the biennial in the wake of the the recent political rapprochement between the U.S. and Cuba. In other words, local artists will be “discovered” and dropped, prices will rise and fall, and within five years this Biennial will be like Art Basel in Miami: tacky glitz.

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