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What Is A Cuban Man Cave?

Rob Rovenolt's Cuban man cave installation at the Boston Center for the Arts (Andrea Shea/WBUR)

Rob Rovenolt’s Cuban man cave installation at the Boston Center for the Arts (Andrea Shea/WBUR)

BOSTON — In America they’re hobby rooms, basement workshops and bachelor pads. But Boston artist Rob Rovenolt’s recent visit to Havana made him wonder what a Cuban man cave might look like.

Artist Rob Rovenolt below drying clothes, a ubiquitous sight in Cuba.

Artist Rob Rovenolt below drying clothes, a ubiquitous sight in Cuba.

You can see his musings through Friday, Feb. 1 at the Boston Center for the Arts. His immersive installation is part of a show there called “Process Goes Public.”

“Since my working method has always centered on castoffs and other detritus, I was struck by the beautiful tragedy of the crumbling buildings throughout the city,” Rovenolt said of Havana.

He captures the historic city’s exterior, with his imitation of street art he saw in Cuba. The artist also constructed a balcony with laundry hanging over the railing. That sight is ubiquitous throughout the city.

Over the past few weeks Rovenolt said, “I have been creating ‘sculptural riffs’ in plaster, gauze, mesh wire and carved wood, in response to the music and rich environment I absorbed during my short six days in Havana.”

A bar in the Cuban man cave.

A bar in the Cuban man cave.

Rovenolt's Plexiglass man.

Rovenolt’s Plexiglass man.

So that’s the exterior. The interior of Rovenolt’s Cuban man cave has a bar with Hanava Club rum and bottles of Coke. There’s a CD player, a Cuban film poster, and a photograph of young Cuban men Rovenolt encountered in the street. An oar is there, too, as a metaphor for escape.

A bright orange Plexiglass silhouette of the artist’s “Cuban Everyman” hangs in the gallery window overlooking the street. He’s wearing a crucifix and Playboy Bunny tattoos.

But Rovenolt knows his Cuban man cave is a fantasy. Most of the young men on the island cannot afford to even move out of their parents’ homes or have a real place to call their own.

A closing reception for the show is scheduled for Friday evening.

Rovenolt's materials.

Rovenolt’s materials.

A handwritten exchange between  Rovenolt and a Cuban man who keeps dropping by the BCA to see him, but they keep missing each other.

A handwritten exchange between Rovenolt and a Cuban man who keeps dropping by the BCA to see him, but they keep missing each other.

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