Monument of the Great Living Artist
Artist body, magazine clippings, paper, tape, gold paint, pedestal, garment, music, spoken word
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 US art historian Linda Nochlin. In the performance, Romagoza appears as her alter-ego “Cuquita, the Cuban doll” standing on a pedestal, wearing her design Normal Is Good tuxedo and with her skin painted in gold. Cuquita poses for the audience while reciting with her Cuban accent fragments of the Nochlin’s essay “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artist” that she recorded along with songs by Cuban singer La Lupe. Once the voice fades away and the text is over Cuquita continues dancing to the rhythm of the song “Se Acabó/It's over”. At the end of the performance, Cuquita exits leaving on the pedestal a writing that says: -"American Feminism as it stands is a white middle-class movement,” (Anna Mendieta). – “The Choice is yours. Say it but with an accent” (Cuquita, the Cuban doll).
In the current political and social turbulence, the topic of feminism has been brought to light in the mainstream media by celebrities, politicians, journalists exposing the disadvantages and oppression of women in the patriarchal society. However, there are still social groups excluded from the discussion, or not sufficiently represented. In the case of Yali Romagoza’s piece, she interacts with the Nochlin’s essay as a Cuban female artist in the US, that adds more layers of complexity for women in the arts.Based on her experience as an immigrant, Romagoza seeks to rebuild a cultural home in New York and La Habana while positions herself within the art scene in the US in which she doesn’t often feel represented. The performance explores what it means to achieve greatness for the so-called “minority artist.” Entities of power like museums, institutions, academia, the art market play an essential role in categorizing artist into tidy boxes. “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.