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Roberto Fabelo Hung, Aire fresco (Fresh Air), 2011, mixed media. Installation view, Malecón, 2012. Photo: Pamela M. Lee.

the 11th Havana Biennial

Roberto Fabelo Hung, Aire fresco (Fresh Air), 2011, mixed media. Installation view, Malecón, 2012. Photo: Pamela M. Lee.

“REVOLUTION IN RETREAT.” So blared the cover of the March 24 issue of The Economist, a “special report” on Cuba and the dawning capitalist prospects of the only Communist state in the Western Hemisphere. With Fidel Castro’s health in precipitous decline, the progressive lifting of travel restrictions between the United States and the island nation, and some 313 new economic “guidelines” approved by the Communist Party last year, there’s little wonder that the article described Cuba’s path to capitalism as all but “irreversible,” if with the inevitable provisos regarding the old-guard faithful and the continued privations imposed by the US economic embargo. And it was these realities that marked the eleventh edition of the Havana Biennial this past spring with a certain urgency and timeliness, even as the show was nominally concerned with the relationship between art and the social

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