The traveling version of the National Museum of American History’s “¡Azúcar! The Life and Music of Celia Cruz,” exhibition opens at the Museo Alameda, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, on Sept. 26. The exhibition explores the life of legendary Cuban-born singer Celia Cruz (1925–2003) and her impressive career. “¡Azúcar!” will remain on view in San Antonio through April 27, 2008. The national tour of the exhibition is expected to continue through 2009,with a stop in New York City.
“¡Azúcar! The Life and Music of Celia Cruz,” opened in Washington, D.C. on May 18, 2005 and was on view for a year with funding from Morgan Stanley as the presenting sponsor of the exhibition and additional support from the Smithsonian Latino Center. Morgan Stanley is also the national sponsor for the traveling show with an additional contribution from the Smithsonian Latino Center.
“Celia Cruz embodied the American dream,and the story of her life and career will allow people around the country an opportunity to explore the themes of American identity and the many contributions Latinos have made to American culture and popular music,” said Museum Director Brent D. Glass.
Throughout the course of a career that spanned six decades and took her from humble beginnings in Havana, to a world-renowned artist, Cruz became the undisputed “Queen of Latin Music.” Combining a piercing and powerful voice with a larger-than-life personality and stage costumes, she was one of the few women to succeed in the male-dominated world of salsa music. Salsa is music born in New York City of Cuban and other Afro-Caribbean mixed musical genres. In her personification of salsa, Cruz came to represent all Latinos.
The traveling version of “¡Azúcar!” closely follows the original exhibition and highlights important moments in Cruz’s life and career through photographs, personal documents, costumes, rare footage, music videos and music. The exhibition includes items from her childhood and early appearances with the band La Sonora Matancera in Cuba. Among the featured costumes are a dress worn during a performance in Cuba in the 1950s and the dress designed by Narciso Rodriguez that she wore at her last public appearance. The exhibition’s title, “¡Azúcar!”—meaning sugar—is taken from her famous rallying cry.
To view the exhibition and updates on the traveling version of “¡Azúcar! The Life and Music of Celia Cruz,” visit http://americanhistory.si.edu/celiacruz.
The National Museum of American History collects, preserves and displays American heritage through exhibitions and public programs about social, political, cultural, scientific and military history. Documenting the American experience from Colonial times to the present, the Museum looks at growth and change in the United States. The Museum, located at 14th Street and Constitution Avenue N.W., is currently closed for major renovations and is expected to re-open during the summer of 2008. For more information, visit the Museum’s Web site at http://americanhistory.si.edu.
The Museo Alameda tells the story of the Latino experience in America through art, history and culture. The Museo Alameda is located in Historic Market Square on the corner of Santa Rosa and Commerce streets. For more information, visit the museum’s Web site at http://www.thealameda.org/.