Ricardo Viera Biography

Ricardo Viera




Painter, printmaker, photographer and videographer Ricardo Viera was born in Ciego de Avila, Cuba in December of 1945. His parents sent fourteen-year-old Viera to Miami via the airlift of 1962 dubbed "Operation Peter Pan," wherein children of Cuba were sent by there parents to the United States in a bid for what they thought was a better future. Upon arrival Viera was situated in a refugee camp Miami, FL, and was eventually housed and sent to school. He attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, MA in 1973, and in 1974 he graduated with a Masters in Fine Arts from Rhode Island School of Design in Providence; that year he became a professor of art and museum director/curator at the Lehigh University in 1974 where he worked for 44 years.

A proponent of Latin American Art and visual literacy, Viera left behind a legacy and history at the university. In his time at Lehigh, he helped establish a visual laboratory and teaching collection program, increasing the collection from 2,500 objects, according to Lehigh Communications. Viera also created a national collection of Latin American works and spent time teaching courses in museum and curatorial studies, the history of photography, visual thinking strategies and public art.

Ricardo Viera died on April 1, 2020 in Miami Beach, Florida.

He curated several shows with a focus on promoting the works of the Cuban and Latin American diaspora. He received the Cintas Foundation Fellowship, New York, in 1974 and the Pennsylvania Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts in 1980, '81, and '84. His works are in the collection sof the Cintas Foundation (NY), the Cleveland Museum (OH), the Noyes Museum (NJ), and in the Tel Aviv Museum, Tel Aviv, Israel.

Solo exhibitions include: "Ricardo Viera," Sardoni Art Gallery, Wilkes College, PA, 1979; "Island on My Mind," Museum of Contemporary Hispanic Art (MOCHA), New York, NY, 1985; "Ricardo Viera: Computer Graphics, 1986," Kemerer Museum, Bethlehem, PA.

Group Exhibitions: "Re Encuentro Cubano 1977," Museo Cubano de Arte u Cultura, Miami, FL; Bienals V and VII de San Juan del Grabada Latinoamericano y del Caribe, San Juan, PR, 1981 and 1986;  "Young Hispanics U.S.," 27th Annual Contemporary Art, Ralph Wilson Gallery, Lehigh University Art Galleries, PA, 1982; "Urban Anthropology," Sculptors Gallery, New York, NY, 1992.