Alexa Hoyer

Cuba's Sparse and Scrappy Storefront Windows

Alexa Hoyer

Window-dressers employed by Cuba’s bureau of advertising work to transform actual scarcity into imaginative displays.

Alexa Hoyer

Storefront window displays typically reflect the dreams and desires of consumerism and late capitalism. Under communist rule in Cuba, they reveal a very different story. From the Revolution through the “special period” following the fall of the Soviet Union and Castro’s death, window-dressers employed by the island nation's government-run advertising bureau were tasked with transforming actual scarcity into utopian visions of surplus and industry.

Struck by their enigmatic, sculptural, and out-of-time beauty, the Germany-born, Brooklyn-based artist Alexa Hoyer researched and shot her photo series over a two-year period. Storefronts invites us to glimpse into the dreams and cultural subconscious of a country on the brink. "I'm sort of invisible. But there are really beautiful and wonderful things that are invisible, and that remain unseen," Romero Salazar, a window-dresser employed in Havana, told her.

Check out Storefronts below:

See the rest of the photos on Alexa Hoyer's website.