Cuba: a creative/commercial/luxury hub
Art & Business | Since the reestablishment of diplomatic relations with Washington, Cuba has opened up to the world. Art and creative activities used to be centered around the Fine Arts school, but today the island offers as many opportunities for the luxury sector as for art : the 30th anniversary of the Havana Biennale embodies this new dynamism with the 2015 opening of Galleria Continua’s Havana branch, sponsored by luxury brand Louis Vuitton.
Conceived as multiple micro-exhibition spaces infiltrating the city, the XII Havana Biennale is marked by the presence of a group of internationally known artists represented by Galleria Continua and sponsored by Louis Vuitton : Daniel Buren, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Anish Kapoor, Shilpa Gupta, Nikhil Chopra. A joint venture that highlights the shared market motivations of the gallery and the luxury house.
With its Havana location, Galleria Continua is the first foreign gallery to occupy Cuban soil. As with the their spaces in San Gimignano, Beijing and Les Moulins et Paris, they have chosen an atypical venue – a former cinema in the Chinese district of the Cuban capital. The gallery opened with an exhibition bringing together exclusively local artists like Alejandro Campins, Elizabeth Cervino, José Yaque… Louis Vuitton’s involvement can be accounted for by their affinity for emerging markets; they were one of the first luxury brands to open stores in Korea, China, Mongolia and Kazakhstan.
Cuba’s geographical position between North and South America and the relaxing of the American embargo make it an area with tremendous potential. The networks being created between the government, the Galleria Continua and Louis Vuitton, by way of the Biennale, illustrate a typical case of game theory : three players with distinct objectives whose collaboration is beneficial to all.