On May 1, Tania Bruguera (MFA 2001) was announced as one of the five artists chosen to receive the Herb Alpert Award in the Arts, an unrestricted grant of $75,000 and a one-week residency at the California Institute of the Arts. Bruguera has been unable to leave Cuba since late 2014 after her attempt to stage a performance in Havana’s Revolution Square about freedom of expression. Irene Borger, Director of the Herb Alpert Award in the Arts, explains that awarding Bruguera with the grant was not meant to be a political statement. "The jury was impressed by the complexity, longevity, conceptual rigor and urgency of Tania Bruguera's work, as well by her strong formal clarity and ongoing contribution to international conversations on freedom of speech and illegal immigration," she says. "We appreciate the risks she takes and her commitment to resisting market pressures in order to seek an ethics of what art can do."
Recently, Bruguera staged a 100-hour public reading of Hannah Arendt's The Origins of Totalitarianism coinciding with the 12th edition of the Havana Biennial. Hyperallergic reported suspicious activities surrounding the event that lead to Bruguera’s temporary detainment on May 24. Artnet News released footage captured by a Cuban civil rights group that shows Bruguera being escorted out of her residence. Bruguera told PRI's The World she was "taken for a little ride" and was warned “not to try to instigate demonstrations or marches.” Bruguera's passport remains confiscated.
Image: Hyperallergic: photo courtesy Pablo Leon Dela Barra’s Facebook page