A Cuban Cubist
--Smoke Magazine, Smoke Front, New
York, New York (national circulation), Summer 1998
||Miami artist Xavier Cortada proudly hosted the
opening of his Cubaba exhibit in Miami this past spring. The son of Cuban immigrants,
Cortadas exhibit was geared towards the Latino populace in south Florida, but was
not limited to that group. "Cuban, American, both, or neither," says Cortada of
his all-inclusive target audience. The two-week exhibit celebrated cultural diversity, and
provided community members with the chance to network and socialize. Various civic,
professional, and educational groups were represented at the exhibit, held at the
prestigious Artcenter on Miami Beach.
up in Little Havana, Cortada identifies equally with Cuban and American cultures.
"Were seeing a new breed of citizens," he says of Cubas recent
contribution to American society. "What the Irish, Germans, and Italians did in
previous generations, the Cubans are doing now. The show is geared towards anyone with a
hyphen in their nationality, whether theyre Cuban-American, Italian-American or
It was Cortadas immersion in American culture that
provided the name for his exhibit. As a student at the University of Miami, his surname
was mangled by his fraternity brothers into "Cubaba," and the pidgin-Cuban
sobriquet stuck. Cortada went on to earn his law degree at UM, though his art muse
precluded any future as a barrister. Now 33, Cortada describes his work as "an
amalgamation of DeKooning and Picasso, with a lot of color thrown in."
|Once the show closes, Cortada will start
working on a mural that Nike has commissioned him to design for a new Niketown
complex in Miami. Unlink many of his art colleagues who eschew the marriage of commerce
and art, Cortada is eager to spread his message via any available means. "Ive
taken my art all over the world, in a effort to reach as many as possible," he
comments, mentioning recent visits to the impoverished townships of South Africa and
begrimed streets of Bolivia. "I never really bought into the starving
artist concept. Plus, with my girth, I cant really pull it off."
Spoken like a true American.