Tania Bruguera Performance Enacted at Neuberger Museum of Art

Tania Bruguera Photo via: pbs.org.

A New York State museum is reenacting the performance work that got Tania Bruguera arrested in Cuba. The Neuberger Museum of Art of Purchase College, in Purchase, New York, is staging Tatlin’s Whisper as an expression of solidarity, starting today. (See Tania Bruguera Has to Stay in Cuba for Another 60 Days, Tania Bruguera’s Arrest Slows the US–Cuba Thaw, How Tania Bruguera’s Whisper Became the Performance Heard Round the World, and Tania Bruguera Returns Award to Cuban Government.)

Bruguera first staged Tatlin’s Whisper at the 10th Havana Biennial in 2009. The work invites participants to take to a podium to address subjects of their choosing, and promises “one minute free of censorship per speaker.”

On December 30, less than two weeks after President Obama announced plans to normalize relations with Cuba, she attempted a version of the same performance in Havana’s Revolution Square, this time encouraging participants to share their dreams for Cuba’s future. As a Cuban-born, New York-based artist, she wanted to test Cuba’s tolerance of criticism now that relations are to be normalized.

The museum granted the artist its Roy R. Neuberger Exhibition Prize for emerging artists in 2010. She staged Tatlin’s Whisper there, simulating the Cuban experience by flanking speakers with two people wearing military fatigues.

“As we deem unfettered artistic self-expression and the free exchange of ideas, without fear of retribution, so critical, we are putting on view Tatlin’s Whisper as a reminder of this artist’s message and courage,” said Tracy Fitzpatrick, the museum’s director in a press release.

Tatlin’s Whisper is on display at the Neuberger Museum of Art of Purchase College through March 22, 2015. 

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