Art Galleries

Cuba: Beauty and Decay: A Photographic Journey

When: Sept. 2-Dec. 13 2009

“The pleasure of ruins” was Rose Macaulay’s term for the Schadenfreudian contemplation of ancient ruins by vertical visitors/readers. We norteamericanos may vicariously enjoy Cuba’s picturesquely crumbling colonial architecture (partly a byproduct of fifty years of US sanctions), but Vivian Stephenson has a deeper appreciation, paying homage to her country’s four centuries of culture mash-up in digital photographs of the palaces, forts, churches, and plazas of Havana, Trinidad, and Sancti-Spiritus: Morro Castle, the House of the Pious Deeds, Church of the Santo Angel Custodio, the Cathedral Plaza, Havana Cathedral (an imitation of Borromini’s Italian Baroque church in Rome and “music carved in stone,” according to writer Alejo Carpentier), the Old Stock Exchange, the National Theater, the Ursuline Palace, Central Park, the Capitol, and the monastery of San Francisco de Asis. Notes by Carlota Caulfield. Cuba: Beauty and Decay runs through December13 at Mills College Art Museum (5000 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland). 510-430-1264

DeWitt Cheng

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