New Exhibition at NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale Showcases Artworks Donated by Rosa and Carlos de la Cruz

The couple has donated 63 works to the museum since 2019.

NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale is displaying To Be as a Cloud, which features recent gifts from prominent Miami collectors Rosa and Carlos de la Cruz. Through July 28, the exhibition will focus on nine major foundational paintings from the early 1990s by the Cuban-born, Miami-based artist José Bedia. The de la Cruzes have designated NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale as the permanent home of the paintings. Bedia’s work encompasses both Western and non-Western sources, spiritualism, and personal histories, which has inspired 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. To Be as a Cloud is presented in memory of Rosa de la Cruz.

“We are pleased to present these paintings by Jose Bedia donated to the Museum by Rosa and Carlos de la Cruz,” Bonnie Clearwater says, NSU Art Museum’s Director and Chief Curator. “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.” 

Since 1993, Miami has been the home of Bedia, a prominent artist of Cuba’s storied ‘80s Generation. His practice, deeply rooted in Afro-Cuban traditions, is influenced by his spiritual belief system as an initiated practitioner of the diasporic African religion, Regla de Congo.

“Bedia was one of the artists over whom Rosa, Carlos and I forged our long friendship,” Clearwater says. “They generously loaned the Ogun series of paintings to the inaugural exhibition I organized at MOCA North Miami in 1996 and more recently to a solo exhibition of the artist at NSU Art Museum. 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.’ We are deeply grateful to Rosa and Carlos de la Cruz for this generous gift and it is a great honor to share these works with the public.”

Bedia conveys his narrative with various 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.

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