José Bedia paintings recently gifted to NSU Art Museum on view

Beginning April 28th, 2024, NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale will present “To Be as a Cloud,” featuring recent gifts from prominent Miami collectors Rosa and Carlos de la Cruz, focusing on nine major foundational paintings from the early 1990s by the Cuban-born, Miami-based artist José Bedia. Bedia’s work draws both Western and non-Western sources, spiritualism, and personal histories; which served as the inspiration for this exhibition of recent acquisitions to the Museum’s permanent collection.

A collaborative work by Jorge Pardo and Jason Rhoades, another gift from the de la Cruzes, will also be on view. The de la Cruzes have donated a total of 63 works to NSU Art Museum between 2019 and 2023. “To Be as a Cloud” is presented in memory of Rosa de la Cruz.

“Not only did these paintings hold a place of pride in their home for over 30 years, the couple selected Bedia as the artist to engrave their final resting place,” NSU Art Museum’s Director and Chief Curator Bonnie Clearwater said. “Bedia was one of the artists over whom Rosa, Carlos and I forged our long friendship. Bedia’s work is the cornerstone of NSU Art Museum’s Cuban art collection, founded in 1993. I had long made my wishes known about adding these key paintings to the Museum’s collection and was delighted when I received the notification of the gift several months ago with a message ‘we know you know what to do with these.’”

About José Bedia

José Bedia, one of the most prominent artists of Cuba’s storied ‘80s Generation, has called Miami home since 1993. Afro-Cuban traditions remain a focal point of his practice. As an initiated practitioner of the diasporic African religion, Regla de Congo, Bedia’s works are informed by his spiritual belief system.

Bedia conveys his narrative with a variety of techniques: he draws figures in flat silhouettes that evoke traditions as varied as prehistoric cave paintings and modern-day cartoons; figures are studded with white dots, which bring to mind the ancient form of storytelling that uses the constellations to delineate mythic characters in the night sky; and he introduces text both through the title and the words he inscribed on the painting.

The title of the exhibition references artist Jared McGriff’s painting “To Be as a Cloud,” 2021, also featured in the exhibition, remarking on the ephemeral condition of life and becoming one with the universe.

About NSU Art Museum

Founded in 1958, NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale is a premier destination for exhibitions and programs encompassing many facets of civilization’s visual history. Located midway between Miami and Palm Beach in downtown Fort Lauderdale’s arts and entertainment district, the Museum’s 83,000 square-foot building, which opened in 1986, was designed by architect Edward Larrabee Barnes and contains over 25,000 square feet of exhibition space, the 256 -seat Horvitz auditorium, a museum store and café.

In 2008, the Museum became part of Nova Southeastern University (NSU), one of the largest private research universities in the United States.

NSU Art Museum is known for its significant collection of Latin American art, contemporary art with an emphasis on art by Black, Latinx and women artists, African art that spans the 19th to the 21st-century, as well as works by American artist William Glackens, and the European CoBrA group of artists. Two scholarly research centers complement the collections: The Dr. Stanley and Pearl Goodman Latin American Art Study Center and the William J. Glackens Study Center.

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