Elvia Rosa Castro

Visual Codes-ArtDeco and Modernism inspired is an exploration of how visual artists have approached these fascinating popular twenty-century design movements. Artists, living in different countries, embrace the call of showing their art Works and sharing their intrinsic motifs through a variety of media. 

An exhibition in which the idea of featuring Works somehow related to these styles that drastically affected life in the twenty-century life and counting- leaves us with a lot more material to explore. This is just a snippet of what can be sampled. In this exhibit, while some artists pay homage to the magnificence of ArtDeco and Modernism, others take it as an excuse to depict alienation and social differences.

I live in a city where the most iconic building -Reynolds (1)- is the mini and first version of the Empire State (NYC). But during the eighties, I often lived in 11th and 4 St., Vedado, Havana, a typical ArtDeco building featured in more than one book about this stylish architecture. Not to mention all those magnificent constructions in Havana, such Lopez Serrano and Bacardi buildings.

11th St between 4th and 6th, Vedado, Havana. Photo by Néstor Martí

Where do I´m trying to land here? ArtDeco and Modernism are everywhere! Whether in the shape of architecture, interior design, fashion, filming, industrial design, and visual or graphic arts, we are wrapped by its patterns. I’m pointing to familiarity as a crucial impulse embedded in all this. In one way or another, we all are familiar with Art Deco and Modernism as aesthetic styles. Whether visiting a city –such as Miami Beach, for example- where we can admire its gorgeous buildings, whether enjoying the image of the Golden Gate Bridge or the Batman comic and films. We are surrounded by ArtDEco and Modernism visual codes. 

The first condition that I would like to highlight is familiarity. That is why it should not be surprising that, with this show, we are paying some tribute to those deeply linked styles. On the other hand, it is difficult to remain indifferent to their stylistic elegance and universal dimension. Some may think, as I do, this universal temper and cosmopolitan tone are the result of the lack of visible ideological roots embedded in its origins, and most importantly, Maths and Geometry play a leading role in its shapes and themes. The spirit that we can find behind these styles does not have any philosophical pretension more than an ode to life and technological progress. And that seems to be enough.

After a deep collective existential crisis provoked by WWI comes the celebration of life without modesty. That´s the motto behind ArtDeco and its saga. And when life manages to escape the horror, it can afford a certain degree of being a little banal and not emphatically clinging to a palpable ideology.

Celebrate the joy of living simple and pure. Supposedly, we are leaving behind our XXI century horror era with the COVID pandemic drastically changing all our lives, so at some point, we are experiencing that virgin feeling of just being alive and moving forward.

Piel Safico by Marcel Márquez

Nevertheless, as noted above, ArtDeco and Modernism inspired goes beyond veneration of these lavish styles or Aesthetic discourse per se. The exhibit showcases a vast collection of sparkling art Works that either in a documentary manner or obliquely and metaphorically talk about the lack of political and social options, loyalty, a sense of community, erotism, and race through diverse media that include painting, collage, photography, video, video animation, and graphic design. 

Every artwork on display will be escorted by a story that explains what lies behind each one, revealing the educational and pedagogical character that drives this exhibition.

The idea of A Visual Code-ArtDeco and Modernism inspired was born as part of a massive celebration calendar in the Miami area. From April 21-28, all Art Deco lovers will enjoy NoMI Art Deco Week in body and soul. This exhibition is one of the first public stepping stones for the mentioned mega event in this vibrant community brought by the Copperbridge Foundation and the North Miami Scott Galvin Community Center.

Elvia Rosa Castro and Geo Darder welcoming ArtDeco World Congress experts and lovers


(1) The Reynolds Building is a 314-foot (96 m) Art Deco skyscraper in Winston-SalemForsyth County, North Carolina. It was completed in 1929 and has 21 floors. For much of its history, the building served as headquarters for R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company.

Artists featured in Visual Codes…: Eric Alfaro, Ana Andras, Alexandre Arrechea, Daniel Rodríguez Collazo, Meme Ferré, Fernando Enfori García, José Gelabert-Navia, Oscar Glottman, Luis Gómez, Iván Malesani, Marcel Márquez, Jessie Matrullo, Ali Miranda, Rocío Morejón, Noel Morera, Danay Nápoles, Alejandro Pérez Balseiro, René Rodríguez, Noel Suárez, Ramón Williams.

I´ll be sharing the labels info in different and upcoming posts. You only need to click on the artist’s names. I´m deeply grateful to the artists of course and to the Copperbridge Foundation crew who are a lovely force of nature: Geo Darder, María Botta, Marysol Medina, and Viviana Gutiérrez