Cross Currents / Intercambio Cultural

July 11–August 18, 2019

This exhibition explores how issues of Latin American and Latino/a identity and place are manifest in the practices of artists working in Chicago and Havana at a moment of social change and strained political relations between the United States and Cuba.

Cross Currents is the result of an artist exchange organized by the National Museum of Mexican Art. Six Chicago-based artists visited Havana in spring 2017 and six Cuban artists visited Chicago in fall 2017 and summer 2018. The work on view reflects the artists’ experiences and observations as they interacted with each other, curators, cultural spaces, and neighborhoods during their trips. The project aims to open pathways of communication and understanding between the two cities and peer artists while also reflecting on their own artistic practices at this moment in time. 


Based in Chicago:

Based in Havana:


A version of the exhibition will travel to El Centro de Desarrollo de las Artes Visuales, Havana, Cuba in January 2020.

Top: Installation view of Cross Currents/Intercambio Cultural at the Smart Museum of Art. 

Above: Visiting Celia Gonzalez’s home/studio in the Playa neighborhood, May 2017. Left to right are: Rodrigo Lara Zendejas, Carlos Barberena, Harold Mendez, Dianna Frid, Alberto Aguilar, and Celia Gonzalez.