Monument of the Great Living Artist

2018

Performance

Artist body, costume, facial collage, wig, body paint, tape, pedestal, text, music, spoken word

Variable dimensions

Live performance as part of the exhibition identity. of what? at Teatro Latea, NY

Photo by Javier Caso

Monument of the Great Living Artist

Is a performance inspired by the essay "Why Have There Been No Great Women Artist," (1971) by the American art historian Linda Nochlin. In the text, Nochlin explores the institutional obstacles, as opposed to the individual, that have prevented women in the West from succeeding in the arts. 

In the performance, Romagoza appears as her alter-ego Cuquita the Cuban Doll. Cuquita stands on a white pedestal and wears tuxedo Normal Is Good. The skin visible is painted in gold. Cuquita poses for the audience while listening to a recording where Yali reads fragments of Nochlin's essay with her Cuban accent in English. In the background play songs by the Cuban singer La Lupe. Once the voice fades, and the text ends, Cuquita continues dancing to the rhythm of the song Se Acabó (It's over) by La Lupe. At the end of the performance, Cuquita exits leaving a paper on the pedestal that says:

“American Feminism as it stands is a white middle-class movement" (Ana Mendieta).

"The Choice is yours. Say it but with an accent" (Cuquita the Cuban Doll).

In the current political and social turbulence, the theme of feminism has been brought to light in the mainstream media by celebrities, politicians, and journalists who expose the disadvantages and oppression of women in patriarchal society. Institutions of art in the United States have joined the conversation promoting and supporting the art made by women and the so-called "minorities." However, there are still social groups excluded from the discussion, or not sufficiently represented. In Monument of the Great Living Artist, Yali Romagoza interacts with Nochlin's essay as a Cuban artist in the United States based on her experience as an immigrant.

Romagoza seeks to rebuild a cultural home in New York and Havana while positioning herself within the art scene in the United States in which she often does not feel represented. The performance explores what it means to achieve greatness for the so-called "minority artist." Power entities such as museums, institutions, academia and the art market play an essential role in the categorization of the artist in boxes with labels. What gets to be displayed by an Art Institution and why? Cuquita the Cuban Doll as a character dismantles the notion of singular Cuban identity, and it overturns the stereotypes of Cuban art and artists that are placed on Cubans by Western supremacy.