Art: Wilfredo Lam in North America

click to enlarge "Le Sombre Malembo, Dieu du Carrefoure (The Dark Malembo, God of the Crossroad)," by Wifredo Lam, 1943. - From the collection of Mr. & Mrs. Isaac Rudman, 2007 Artists Rights Society, New York/ADAGP, Paris.
From the collection of Mr. & Mrs. Isaac Rudman, 2007 Artists Rights Society, New York/ADAGP, Paris.
"Le Sombre Malembo, Dieu du Carrefoure (The Dark Malembo, God of the Crossroad)," by Wifredo Lam, 1943.

If you haven’t had a chance to check out the Salvador Dalí Museum’s latest exhibition, Wilfredo Lam in North America, this holiday week is as good a time as any. The exhibit includes a selection of paintings by the 20th-century Afro-Cuban artist, whose creative style was molded by his associations with Salvador Dalí (Lam studied under Dalí’s former teacher, Fernando Alvarez de Sotomayor) and Pablo Picasso (who introduced Lam to artists and writers living in Paris, including Surrealist leader André Breton). The most lasting impact on his work, however, came with his return to his native Cuba after spending 20 years abroad. The poverty and oppression of the Afro-Cuban population, the bastardization of Afro-Cuban culture, and the prevalence of the African-derived religion of Santería all prompted a radical shift in his ideals and art, which forever after fused elements of Surrealism, “primitivism” and Cubism with the imagery and symbols of Santeria, Afro-Cuban history and black identity. The museum also presents Myth in Dalí’s Art, a series of pieces from the permanent collection that reveal the surrealist's fascination with myths and symbols. Both on display through Jan. 11, with special holiday hours Dec. 26-Jan. 1, 9:30 a.m.- 7 p.m. Fri.-Sat., noon-7 p.m. Sun., 9:30 a.m.- 7p.m. Mon.-Tues., 9:30 a.m.- 5 p.m. Wed., noon-8 p.m. Thurs., 1000 Third St. S., St. Petersburg, $15 adults/$13.50 seniors/$10 students, 727-823-3767.

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