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Tania Bruguera

Cuban  •  b. 1968

Biography

Tania Bruguera began her study of art at age twelve in Havana at the experimental Escuela Elemental de Artes Plásticas and at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Bruguera has developed a unique body of performative art that deals with reality and the present rather than with traditional modes of representation. This approach revolutionized the performance genre, allowing viewers to experience a living memory of social activism where the artist blurs the borders between art and life.

Bruguera's performances explore immigrant rights and serve as a biting critique of the Cuban existence since the triumph of the supposed revolution. Bruguera's conceptual art, which she calls arte útil, achieves a tangible social and political impact and has led to her recognition through numerous awards. In 2014, Bruguera was famously arrested and subsequently detained in Cuba for almost a year following her attempt to restage her famous piece Tatlin's Whisper #6, which originally gave Cuban citizens a platform for free speech during the 2009 Havana Biennial.

Insights

  • Bruguera is the first artist-in-residence to be appointed to the New York City Mayor's Office of Immigrants to help in an unprecedented project to recruit undocumented immigrants for the city's new identification card program.

  • In 2015, The Museum of Modern Art acquired Tania Bruguera's Untitled (Havana 2000), a major performance and video installation that was conceived for and shown at the VII Bienal de La Habana in 2000.

"Art is useful. Through art we can begin to build a world that works differently."

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