Tonel is an artist, critic, curator and educator. He has exhibited extensively including at the Havana, Sao Paulo, Berlin, and Venice biennials. He is currently working on his solo exhibition Ajústate al tema, opening in December, 2018 at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Havana, Cuba. Since 2006 he has taught as an adjunct professor and a sessional lecturer at the Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. He was a visiting artist and lecturer at the Center for Latin American Studies and at the Department of Art and Art History, Stanford University (2002 -03). He was associated with the Facultad de Artes Plásticas, Instituto Superior de Arte, Havana, Cuba as a Tutor, working with individual students as an adviser for painting and sculpture thesis (1987 -97). He co-curated, with Jürgen Harten, Kuba o.k: Aktuelle Kunst aus Kuba (1990), Stadtische Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Germany, and with Keith Wallace, The Spaces Between. Contemporary Art from Havana, Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, Vancouver, Canada (2014) and Bildmuseet, Umeå, Sweden (2015). In 2016 he co-curated, with Denise Ryner, Harbour / Heaven. thirstDays No. 3, at VIVO Media Arts Centre, Vancouver, Canada. More recently he published “From the Genius in the Mountain to the Party in the Dark: Art, Cinema, and Cultural Politics at the Beginning of the Cuban Revolution”, in Breathless Days, 1959 – 1960, edited by Serge Guilbaut and John O’Brian (Duke University Press, 2017). He is the recipient of a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship in the Humanities (1997-98) with residency at The University of Texas, Austin, and a John S. Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship for painting and installation art (1995). He received the prize for art criticism by the Cuban Section of the International Art Critics Association (AICA) in 1988, and was awarded the Rafael Blanco Honorary Mention in Drawing at the First Havana Biennial, Cuba (1984).
He will be teaching “ARTHIST 162: Visual Arts Cuba (1959 - 2015)” in Spring 2019.