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Landscape in the Fireplace: Paintings by Pedro Alvarez opens at ASU Art Museum, Feb. 7

Pedro Alvarez, African Abstract, 2002. Collage and oil on canvas, six panels of 45 õ x 28 Ω inches each. Courtesy of the artist.

Photo courtesy of Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts

January 13, 2004

TEMPE, Ariz. – Pedro Alvarez, one of the foremost contemporary artists to emerge from Cuba, will have his first U.S. solo exhibition at the ASU Art Museum, Feb. 7-June 19. Landscape in the Fireplace: Paintings by Pedro Alvarez, features colorfully layered paintings that combine references to Cuban, African and American culture.

“Alvarez is of the generation of Cuban artists who emerged in the 1990s and gained international recognition for a fresh approach to art-making in which free speech was not to be taken for granted,” says ASU Art Museum director and chief curator Marilyn Zeitlin. “He quotes 19th century paintings by Europeans who came to Cuba and created a vocabulary of romantic clichés that characterized the island as exotic and sensuous, and he overlays these images with American advertising illustration from the mid-1950s.”

Alvarez spends his time between his native Havana and Malaga, Spain and has shown his work at the Istanbul Biennial, the Havana Bienal and in the first ASU Art Museum Cuban art exhibition, which toured nationally in 1998. Alvarez was trained in the Cuban education system, which identifies talented children and promotes them through an increasingly rigorous process.

“The educational system that trained Alvarez insists upon mastery of technique, so he draws not only accurately, but expressively,” says Zeitlin. “And in Cuba, artists have something important to make their work about – with issues of survival visible at every turn. Alvarez also incorporates irony and wit to prod the viewer’s mind as well as eye.”

An opening reception for Landscape in the Fireplace: Paintings by Pedro Alvarez will be held from 7-9 p.m., Feb. 7, coinciding with the openings forBlue Memory: Paintings by Tran Trong Vu and Personal Doping: Video Installations by Agnieszka Kalinowska.

The ASU Art Museum, named “the single most impressive venue for contemporary art in Arizona” by Art in America, is part of the Herberger College of Fine Arts at Arizona State University. The museum is located on the southeast corner of Mill Avenue and 10th Street in Tempe and entry is free. Hours are 10 a.m. - 9 p.m. on Tuesdays (during the academic year), and 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. For more information, call (480) 965-2787 or visit the museum online at

Media Contact:
Denise Tanguay