Pioneros: Building Cuba’s Socialist Childhood. September 17 to October 1, 2015. Sheila C. Johnson Design Center, Arnold and Sheila Aronson Galleries, Parsons School of Design/The New School. An unprecedented exhibition of the material world of childhood in Cuba through the decades of the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. The exhibition explores the relationship between the political and the material orders, offering a portrait of the effects of global and national politics on the material environment and in everyday life, as well as of the impermeability and resilience of some individual and collective practices to politics. More than 200 objects like toys, furniture, books, clothing, appliances, and children ephemera, designed for or used by Cuban children in the decades of the 1960s through the 1980s, will be exhibited along with old photographs obtained through Facebook and other social media, or directly contributed by their owners. They will attest to both the efforts of the Cuban state to shape a socialist “new” man and the individual tactics to resist them (stressing the role that objects played in these processes). The exhibition, co-curated by sociologist Maria A. Cabrera Arus and art historian Meyken Barreto.
Raúl Rubio is Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies and Chair of Foreign Languages at The New School. Trained as a Hispanist and cultural studies scholar, Rubio is widely known for his research on Cuban visual and material cultures. He has published a wide-range of studies on comparative literature, film, graphic and decorative arts. Rubio’s research is grounded in the emerging interdisciplinary field of material culture, which examines a wide-range of artifacts, from cultural commodities to the museum archive. Rubio earned a doctorate in Latin American Literature and Cultural Studies from Tulane University in New Orleans. He is a graduate of Middlebury College of Vermont, where he completed a master’s degree in Spanish at Middlebury’s School in Madrid.