Art is fun, but how much more fun with a Cortadito (a supercharged, Cuban-style mini Café con Leche) or a guava jelly filled pastry? A lot more fun, we think. The famed, Cuban-American artist José Parlá thinks so, too. Coupling the launch of their Standard Press/Damiani Editore edition The Wrinkles of the City, Havana, Cuba, Parlá have built a Cuban café at The Standard Spa. Cafécito Neptuno, he explains, is part celebration of a project that took JR and Parlá to Cuba to photograph elderly Cubans and then to transpose those images, ghost-like, as murals on buildings in the old city for the 11th Havana Biennial. "It's so beautiful but it's also really falling apart," Parlá explains. "The history of the buildings is equal to the wrinkles people earn in their faces."
The book came next, then a short documentary, and now the café itself, in the style of a Cuban street cafe and dedicated to the project. Conceptual certainly, but now also delicious. "We plan on serving all the coffees traditional to Cuba, the Cuban sandwiches, the pastelito," he explains. Like a traditional street cafeteria, Parlá's installation will be lined with the North-African style tiles typical to Cuba, graffiti-style writing and of course, Cuban music both traditional and more contemporary. Parlá, who recently completed a 70-foot-long painting at the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn as well as a mural for the Brooklyn Academy of Music for the new BAM FISHER Theatre, plans for the cafe to be open 24 hours a day during Art Basel Miami Beach, December 5-9, 2012. "Cafécito Neptuno is going to be a fun installation with the flavor of something that's been around for a while."