Pioneros: Building Cuba’s Socialist Childhood is a project of Cuba Material and María A. Cabrera Arús.


María A. Cabrera Arús, project director, co-curator, and panel co-organizer. PhD Candidate (ABD) in Sociology, The New School for Social Research. Founder and author of Cuba Material, website dedicated to archive the material culture of Cuban socialism. María’s academic work focuses on the relationship between industrial design and politics, exploring the connections between material environments and political discourses and practices of domination. She is also a collector of Cuban material culture from the Cold War era, and co-editor of the column “Souvenirs” of Cuba Counterpoints journal.

Meyken Barreto, co-curator and events co-coordinator. Barreto is an art critic and curator. Her research focuses on video and contemporary art from Cuba. She received Cuba’s National Curatorship Award in 2009 for the anthological exhibition Tanda Corrida: Cuban audiovisual exhibitions 2005-2008 (co-curated with Mailyn Machado). In 2014, Meyken curated the video program for the exhibition Cuban America: An Empire State of Mind, on view at Lehman College, and co-curated (with Elvis Fuentes) the group exhibition Flow: Economies of the Look and Creativity in Contemporary Art from the Caribbean at IDB Cultural Center in Washington, D.C. She is a contributor to the publications ArteCubano, Art OnCuba, Cuban Art News, and Artnexus.

Geandy Pavón, guest artist. Geandy is a Cuban-born artist interested in the “conceptual aura” of ruins and decay, and in everyday practices of display and power, topics he has developed in his “Ruined Paintings” and “Wrinkle Paintings” series. These series garnered him critical acclaim by the New York Times. Pavon also engages issues of iconoclasm, totalitarianism, and ideology. Nemesis (2010-2012), one of his latest works, is a series of guerrilla projections of photographs of renowned dissidents and political prisoners on the facades of the embassies and consulates representing their countries in the U.S. and Europe. Geandy’s work has been featured in both individual and notable collective exhibitions.

Emilio García Montielmusic curator. Poet and essayist. PhD in History of Architecture, Tokio University. Emilio has published Muerte y resurrección de Tokio (El Colegio de México, 1998) and Cultura Visual en Japón: Once Estudios Iberoamericanos (co-editor and author, El Colegio de México, 2009), and the poetry books Presentación del Olvido (Ediciones Malecón, 2011); El encanto perdido de la fidelidad (Letras Cubanas, 1991), which received the Critic’s Award in 1992; Cartas desde Rusia (Ministerio de Cultura, Ciudad de La Habana, 1989), Premio “Plural”, México, 1988; Squeeze Play (Universidad de La Habana, 1987), award Universidad de La Habana, 1986; Retrato de Grupo (co-editor and author, Letras Cubanas, 1989).

Jacqueline Losspanel co-organizer and discussant. Professor of Latin American and Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies, University of Connecticut. Author of Dreaming in Russian: The Cuban Soviet Imaginary (University of Texas Press, 2013) and Cosmopolitanisms and Latin America: Against the Destiny of Place (Palgrave, 2005). She is the co-editor with José Manuel Prieto of Caviar with Rum: Cuba-USSR and the Post-Soviet Experience (Palgrave 2012) and with Esther Whitfield of New Short Fiction from Cuba (Northwestern University Press, 2007). She served as an advisor for Literature from the “Axis of Evil:” Writing from Iran, Iraq, North Korea, and Other Enemy Nations (New Press, 2006). She has translated into English works by Cuban narrators and essayists.

Walfrido Dortapanel co-organizer and discussant. PhD candidate in Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Literatures and Languages at CUNY. Walfrido’s work focuses on 20th century Latin American and Caribbean literatures. He is interested in intellectual history and critical theory. He has published a book on Cuban poet Gastón Baquero and several articles in academic and cultural journals. His doctoral dissertation focuses on Cuban cultural dynamics in the past 30 years and the relationship between intellectuals and State.

Pepe Menéndez, posters collection. Graphic designer Pepe Menéndez is the head of the in-house design office at the cultural center Casa de las Américas in Havana, Cuba. His work appears, among others, in the books World Graphic Design (Merrell Publishers, 2003) and Latin American Graphic Design (Taschen, 2008), as well as in many design magazines and group exhibitions. He has contributed with speaches, articles, curatorships and as jury member to design conferences, poster shows and biennials. In 2007 he started the Club of Poster Friends (CACa), a local informal but serious space in which the new generation of Cuban poster artists gather to interact, discuss, exchange and learn from one another.

Lisbet Corcoba, graphic design. Lisbet is a Cuban-born graphic designer with more than a decade of experience in the field. She has created identity concepts and products for a diverse range of clients across multiple industries. Major design experience includes: Art Direction, Print, Print Production, Editorial, Digital Publishing, and Advertising. Lisbet has wide knowledge of the Latin American market and a lifelong passion for the power of branding and graphic design. (Ernesto Sánchez de la Osa and Fernando Zepeda), web design and support. produces webpages and identity, editorial, and media design.

Narryman Peña and Sergio Valdés García, music recording and mastering.

Ariana Barat, Jennifer Consoli, and Christine Adams, from the Printmaking department of Parsons School of Design/The New School,  silkscreened the exhibition poster. William McHale is the Director of the Making Center that supervised it.



Anya von Bremzen. Author. Anya von Bremzen is one of the most accomplished food writers of her generation; the winner of three James Beard awards; a contributing editor at Travel + Leisure Magazine; and the author of five acclaimed cookbooks. Anya contributes regularly to Food & Wine and Saveur and has written for The New Yorker, Departures, and The Los Angeles Times. The New York Times describes von Bremzen’s latest book, Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking, as “an ambitious food memoir that is also a meticulously researched history of the Soviet Union.”

Ana M. Dopico. Associate Professor of Spanish and Portuguese and Comparative Literature, NYU. Her research interests integrate theories of genre with culture and geopolitics. Her first manuscript, Houses Divided: Social Crisis and Genealogical Fantasies in Novels of the Americas (forthcoming, Duke University Press) deals with national and hemispheric politics and the novel as counter-history. Ana M. Dopico is interested in the connection between critical and postcolonial theory and North-South Studies. Her research and writing on Latin America has focused on Chile, Mexico and most recently Cuba, tackling questions of nation, cultural and gender politics, political repression and the power of visual cultures. Ana M. Dopico writes the blog Cuba Cargo/Cult.

Jerry W. Carlson. Professor of French, Film Studies, and Comparative Literature at The Graduate Center CUNY, Chair of the Department of Media & Communication Arts at The City College CUNY, and Senior Producer at CUNY TV. He received nine Emmy awards for “Nueva York” (2009) and the City Council of New York Citation award for CANAPÉ (2007).

Nina Khrushcheva. Professor of International Affairs and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs of Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy at New School University in New York. She is senior fellow of the World Policy Institute and contributing editor to Project Syndicate: Association of Newspapers Around the World. She is also a member of Council on Foreign Relations and a recipient of Great Immigrants: The Pride of America Award from Carnegie Corporation of New York. Nina Khrushcheva is the author of Imagining Nabokov: Russia Between Art and Politics (Yale UP, 2008) and The Lost Khrushchev: A Journey Into the Gulag of the Russian Mind (Tate, 2014).

Elzbieta Matynia. Professor of Sociology and Liberal Studies and director of the Transregional Center for Democratic Studies at The New School for Social Research in New York. Her research in the sociology of politics and art focuses on democratic transitions in Eastern Europe and beyond, on the concept of borderlands in the new shared Europe, and more recently on the challenges faced by democracies emerging with a legacy of violence. She has published An Uncanny Era: Conversations between Vaclav Havel and Adam Michnik (Yale University Press, 2014) and Performative Democracy (Paradigm, 2009).

Virag Molnar. Assistant Professor of Sociology at the New School for Social Research. Her research explores the intersections of culture, politics, social change and knowledge production with special focus on urban culture and transformations of the built environment. She has written about the relationship between architecture and state formation in socialist and postsocialist Eastern Europe, the post-1989 reconstruction of Berlin, and the new housing landscape of postsocialist cities. Virag Molnar is author of Building the State: Architecture, Politics and State Formation in Postwar Central Europe (Routledge, 2014). Her research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, and by a Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship.

José M. Prieto. Author and translator. Ph.D. in History, Margaret and Herman Sokol Fellow at The Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, The New York Public Library (2004-2005). José M. Prieto has been the recipient of fellowships from the Sistema Nacional de Creadores, México; the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation; and the Santa Maddalena Foundation, in Florence, Italy.  Author of Rex (Grove Press, 2010), Enciclopedia of a Live in Russia (Grove Press, 2013), Nocturnal Butterflies of the Russian Empire (Livadia) (Grove Press, 2009), Livadia (Mondadori, Barcelona, 1998), Enciclopedia de una vida en Rusia (Mondadori, Barcelona, 2003), El Tartamudo y la rusa (Tusquets, México 2002), Treinta días en Moscú (travel account) (Mondadori, Barcelona. 2001), and others. Livadia has been translated into more than seven languages and has received exceptional reviews in the United States, France, and Italy.

Abel Sierra Madero. PhD in History, PhD student in Literature at New York University. Abel Sierra Madero studies the relationship between sexuality and gender and the processes of nation-building and nationalism. Author of Del otro lado del espejo. La sexualidad en la construcción dela nación cubana (Casa de las Américas 2006) and grantee of the Erasmus Mundus Visiting Fellows program, the Ford Foundation/SEPHIS program, and the Casa de las Américas award. He is also a Martin Duberman fellow (2011), member of the GEXcel International Collegium for Advanced Transdisciplinary Gender Studies and the Cuban Union of Writers and Artists (UNEAC).

Asori Soto. Documentary filmmaker. Asori Soto was among the founders of the Cuban Independent Film Movement. He received the Best Narrative Director award in the Havana New Directors Film Festival and is currently working in bringing a better understanding of Cuba to the world through film and projects that will empower Cuban entrepreneurs.