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Luis Cruz Azaceta
Luis Cruz Azaceta
Juan Francisco Else, 'Caballo contra Colibri,' 1988
Jose Bedia Final del Centauro
Arnaldo Roche-Rabell The Kingdom that Awaits
Luis Cruz Azaceta
Jose Bedia Caballo de Guerra
Luis F. Benedit, 'El Primer Caballo,' 1991
Show Announcement
Show Announcement (continued)

Press Release

Caballos-Political Animals
May 15 - Jun 13, 1997

Starting Thursday, May 15th the George Adams Gallery will show paintings and sculpture in which the image of the horse carries a political or cultural message. Included in the exhibition will be paintings by Luis Cruz Azaceta, Jose Bedia and Arnaldo Roche, and sculptures by Luis Benedit and Juan Francisco Elso. The exhibition will continue at the gallery through June 13.

For example, Argentine artist Luis Benedit's mixed media sculpture El Primer Caballo, 1991 -  a horse in a sling with tethered legs - refers to the first horses brought to Argentina by the Spaniard Pedro de Mendoza, founder of the city of Buenos Aires, in 1536. Implicitly it refers as well to the often tragic effects of the introduction of European culture into Latin America. Cuban-born Jose Bedia's Final del Centauro, a painting of a horse confronted by a human in the shape of a pistol, carries a message easily understood by Cubans, who commonly refer  to Fidel Castro as "El Caballo". 

Puerto Rican artist Arnaldo Roche's painting of an empty Trojan Horse, The Kingdom that Awaits, 1993, is a reference to the rapid emergence of a large and politically powerful Hispanic population in the United States. Similar to Benedit's piece, the late Cuban artist Juan Francisco Elso's sculpture Caballo contra Colibri (The Horse against the Hummingbird), 1988, is a reference to the complex relationship between European culture (the horse) and the Latin American culture (the Hummingbird). And, finally Luis Cruz Azaceta's The Patriarch painting of a king astride a hobbyhorse, is a commentary on the pretensions of Latin-American dictators.

Exhibition Checklist

1. Luis Cruz Azaceta 
(Havana, Cuba, 1942. Resides New Orleans)
El Caballo Se Exila, 1997
acrylic, charcoal, varnish on paper
42 1/4 x 47 3/4 inches
In Cuba animals are often associated with particular numbers, for example the horse with the number one. Cubans commonly refer to Fidel Castro is as "Numero Uno" as well as "El Caballo."

2. Luis Cruz Azaceta
The Patriarch, 1986
acrylic on canvas
126 x 120  inches
Luis Cruz Azaceta, Kunst Station Sankt Peter, Koln, 1988 (illus. p. 19)
The image of a king riding a toy horse is intended as a ironic comment on the pretensions of certain Latin American rulers.

3. Jose Bedia
(Havana, Cuba, 1960. Resides Miami)
Final del Centauro, 1994
acrylic on canvas
72 x 150 inches
Jose Bedia: La Isla - el Cazador y la Presa, Site Santa Fe, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1997 (illus. p. 27)
"El Caballo," smoking a cigar, is confronted by a man in the shape of a pistol. 

4. Juan Francisco Elso  
(Havana, Cuba, 1956. Havana, Cuba, 1989)
Caballo Contra Colibri (The Horse and the Humming Bird), 1988
wood, resin, twine, steel
157 1/2 x 98 1/4 x 10  inches
Juan Francisco Elso: Por America, Memorial Exhibition, Museo de Arte Carillo Gil, Mexico City, and List Center, MIT, Cambridge, 1990-1991 (illus. pp. 6-7)
The horse, introduced to Latin America in the 16th Century, represents European culture, while the hummingbird represents the spirit of Latin American.

5. Jose Bedia 
Allalimya Takanin (Looks-in-Mirror), 1995
acrylic on paper
44 1/2 x 88 1/2 inches
Jose Bedia: Mi Esencialismo, travelling exhibition organised by the Hyde Gallery, Trinity College, Dublin. 1995-1996
"Essentialism," writes Judith Bettelheim, "is most broadly understood as referring to a fixed aspect of a given entity," which, in ethnology, translates as an immutable characteristic. Wapostan Wakan is one of a series of paintings and drawings of American Indians in which Bedia combines photographic images representing the white man's view, with drawn images that present a culturally informed image. Bedia's aim is not to deny the accuracy of the photograph but to elucidate additional layers of meaning in order to allow for a more sophisticated reading of the photographic image.

6. Arnaldo Roche Rabell
(Born San Juan, Puerto Rico, 1955. Resides San Juan)
The Kingdom that Awaits, 1994
oil on canvas
84 x 120 inches
Raised in Puerto Rico and educated at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Roche is the product of two cultures that are often at odds with each other. This paintings uses the image of the Trojan Horse as a metaphor for the emergence of a large and politically powerful Hispanic population in Chicago and other large urban centers throughout the United States. 

7. Luis F. Benedit 
(Born Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1937. Resides Buenos Aires)
La Doma (Breaking In), 1990
wood, epoxy resin, enamel
11.8 x 6.7 x 15.4 inches
The Argentine gaucho is a manifestation of the cultural transformation brought about by the introduction of the horse by the Europeans.

8. Luis F. Benedit 
Manea (Hobbling Strap), 1990
wood, leather, metal, enamel
14 x 6.7 x 10.8 inches
Luis F. Benedit: Obras 1960 - 1996, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires, Argentina (illus. p. 234)

9. Luis F. Benedit 
Tecnicas del Lazo (Lariat Techniques), 1990
wood, wire, epoxy resin, enamel
11.8 x 6.7 x 15.4 inches
Luis F. Benedit: Obras 1960-1996, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires, Argentina (illus p. 212)

10. Luis Cruz Azaceta 
El Patriarca, 1997
acrylic, varnish on paper
42 1/4 x 47 3/4 inches

11. Luis F. Benedit 
El Primer Caballo (The First Horse), 1991
wood, plexi, leather, epoxy resin, enamel
19.8 x 11.8 x 23.6 inches
see related work, Luis F. Benedit: Obras 1960-1996, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires, Argentina (illus  cover and pp. 232, 233)
The horse was first introduced into what is now Argentina in 1536 by the Spaniard Pedro de Mendoza. This sculpture depicts the manner in which the horses were secured in the ship's hold during the voyage while also implicitly suggesting the darker side of the Spanish conquest.

12. Jose Bedia 
Caballo de Guerra, 1994
acrylic on wood with found objects
9 1/2 x 30 inches and 29 1/2 x 3 1/4 inches