Los Angeles

Walker Evans, Havana Street, 1933, black-and-white photograph, 91⁄4 x 61⁄4".

Walker Evans, Havana Street, 1933, black-and-white photograph, 91⁄4 x 61⁄4".

Los Angeles

“A Revolutionary Project: Cuba From Walker Evans to Now”

The Getty Center
1200 Getty Center Drive
May 17–October 2, 2011

Curated by Judith Keller and Brett Abbott

Above all, this exhibition of 138 photographs is timely. Against the tempered rage of Walker Evans’s photographs of Cuba under Machado’s dictatorship (commissioned for Carleton Beals’s 1933 exposé The Crime of Cuba), the curators have highlighted two contrasting historical affects: the exultation of the revolution, particularly in photographs of Castro, Guevara, and their comrades-in-arms rising, with heroic futurity, above the cameras of Perfecto Romero, Osvaldo Salas, and Alberto Korda; and the melancholy of geopolitical containment in the post-1991 “Special Period” images captured by Virginia Beahan, Alex Harris, and Alexey Titarenko. What is striking about this curatorial selection is that the jubilance of the middle period, rather than the indignation of the earlier or the resignation of the later, suddenly seems most contemporary in light of the renewal of revolutionary passions in a wholly other part of the world.