El Museo del Barrio in New York City
El Museo del Barrio, New York’s leading Latino visual arts cultural institution, is located in the East Harlem neighborhood of New York City, United States, also known as El Barrio. The museum welcomes visitors of all backgrounds to discover the artistic landscape of the Latino, Caribbean, and Latin American cultures. Their richness is represented in its wide-ranging collections and exhibitions, complemented by film, literary, visual and performing arts series, cultural celebrations, and educational programs. A dynamic artistic, cultural, and community gathering place, El Museo is a center of cultural pride on New York’s Museum Mile.
El Museo del Barrio is the preeminent forum and resource in the U.S. dedicated to Caribbean, Latino, and Latin American art. Its varied Permanent Collection of over 6,500 objects spanning more than 800 years of Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino art includes pre-Columbian Taíno artifacts, traditional arts, twentieth-century drawings, paintings, sculptures, and installations, as well as prints, photography, documentary films, and video. The holdings divide into four main areas:
Modern and Contemporary art, particularly strong in Post War (1950 - the present) works, including paintings (over 400), photography (over 700), and other contemporary, mixed-media and three-dimensional and time-based forms, such as video, primarily created by New York-based Latino artists (in total, over 1,500 works).
Graphics, including an excellent representation of Puerto Rican, Nuyorican, Mexican, and Chicano fine prints through the 20th and 21st centuries (over 4,000 works).
Taíno/Pre-Columbian, pan-Caribbean archeological objects, primarily from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, as well as fine photographs, graphics and contemporary works that have been influenced by the Taíno legacy (over 460 works).
Popular Traditions, including Santos de palo (over 300, primarily from Puerto Rico) and other devotional arts from the Santería, Candomblé and Orisha-worship traditions, masks (over 80, primarily from Mexico and Guatemala) and objects related to the celebration of Día de los Muertos (over 500 objects in total).
El Museo showcases groundbreaking exhibition in its newly-renovated galleries. Recent exhibits include:
VOCES Y VISIONES: Signs, Systems and the City in El Museo del Barrio's Permanent Collection December 18, 2010 - December 11, 2011
Luis Camnitzer February 2 - May 29, 2011
Around the Way September 20 - October 15, 2010 At Macy’s Herald Square
Nueva York (1613-1945) September 17, 2010 - January 9, 2011
Retro/Active: The Work of Rafael Ferrer June 8 - August 22, 2010
Phantom Sightings: Art After the Chicano Movement March 24 - May 9, 2010
Nexus New York: Latin/American Artists in the Modern Metropolis October 17, 2009 - February 28, 2010
VOCES Y VISIONES: Four Decades Through El Museo del Barrio's Permanent Collection October 17, 2009 - December 12, 2010
El Museo's Bienal: The (S) Files 2007 July 20, 2007 - November 15, 2007
The Disappeared (Los Desaparecidos) February 23, 2007 - June 17, 2007
¡Merengue! Visual Rhythms / Ritmos Visuales September 29, 2006 - January 21, 2007
This Skin I'm In: Contemporary Dominican Art from El Museo del Barrio's Permanent Collection September 29, 2006 - January 21, 2007
1960s El Museo is founded in 1969 by artist and educator Raphael Montañez Ortiz and a coalition of parents, educators, artists, and activists who noted that mainstream museums largely ignored Latino artists. Since its inception, El Museo is committed to celebrating and promoting Latino culture, thus becoming a cornerstone of El Barrio, and a valuable resource for New York City.
1970s El Museo serves as a non-profit organization out of a series of storefronts and brownstones before finding its permanent home in the Heckscher Building on 5th Avenue and 104th Street. This is a decade of firsts, including the first donation to the Permanent Collection, as well as the first large-scale exhibition collaboration with the Metropolitan Museum, The Art Heritage of Puerto Rico.
1980s El Museo begins this period by expanding its exhibitions, programs, and facilities, including the first renovation of El Museo’s galleries. The later half of the decade is marred by an investigation of El Museo’s fiscal management and the freezing of its funds, almost causing its closing. However, El Museo recovers after much of the staff work for free and its director is dismissed.
1990s The second renovations on the galleries are complete, the collection area is improved, the theatre and murals are renovated and restored, and financial stability is achieved. A new logo is introduced along with the first modifications to El Museo’s mission to much controversy from the community, which continues through the next decade.
2000s The current mission is finalized to include Puerto Ricans and all Latin Americans in the United States. An oral history and Permanent Collection project is completed consisting of a five-volume publication and a traveling exhibition.
2009 After undergoing extensive renovations to its City-owned facility, El Museo reopens to the public on Saturday, October 17, 2009, with two landmark exhibitions: Nexus New York: Latin/American Artists in the Modern Metropolis and Voces y Visiones: Forty Decades through El Museo del Barrio’s Permanent Collection. An all-day open house celebrates the launch of its expanded public programs and its 40th Anniversary year events. El Museo’s renovated and expanded facility designed by Gruzen Samton Architects hosts an exciting menu of public programming, the new Carmen Ana Unanue Galleries devoted to its permanent collection, and a café that serves as a multipurpose programming space, bringing a sparkling new face to Museum Mile’s only Latino institution. The construction project was administered by the New York City Department of Design and Construction. Design and construction was funded by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, with support from local elected officials.
For more information on the history of El Museo visit http://www.elmuseo.org/en/explore-online/timeline/intro
El Museo's founder, artist educator Raphael Montañez Ortiz, refers to the founding of the Museum as a response to the community's need for a "powerful cultural institution that would reveal its past; affirm and guide its present (critically and with respect); and inspire its future, with integrity and intellectual authority." The Education and Public Programs approach is rooted in the tradition set by Ortiz, espousing art for social change, cultural empowerment, and civic engagement. Consequently, El Museo's programming continues to build community by connecting diverse and active individuals and organizations in East Harlem and beyond.From film and video to literary arts, from visual arts to music and dance,
El Museo del Barrio New York offers a full calendario of free public programs for all audiences. Explore Latin American and Caribbean art and culture with writers, artists, scholars, critics, and other creative thinkers. Live performances, artist talks, panel discussions, and film screenings are all part of the nonstop Latino cultural mix showcased as part of our popular series: SUPER SABADO! Target Free Third Saturdays at El Museo Every third Saturday, 11:00am – 8:30pm Once a month, lovers of Latino art of all ages can enjoy free concerts, exhibitions, gallery tours, art making workshops, walking tours, film screenings, and spoken word recitals – a full day of cultural expressions and the latest in Latino art! (No Super Sabado during August and January) WEPA WEDNESDAYS Every Wednesday, February - May, 6:00pm-9:00pm El Museo introduces a new weekly fiesta featuring free extended Gallery hours, live DJ-in-Residence, Drink Specials at El Café, and Special Deals at La Tienda. Visitors can meet the artists, watch the latest films from Latin America, dance, get their book signed by a featured author, and engage in totally unique and timely conversations.
The Education Programs at El Museo del Barrio offer adults, families, children, and youth a wide variety of bilingual programs to explore the Museum’s Permanent Collection and exhibitions in-depth and in personally meaningful ways. School and Educator Programs
School & Educator Programs are dedicated to providing programs rooted in cultural empowerment and civic engagement. These offerings provide students and teachers multiple entry points from which to explore the Museum's mission and history, Permanent Collection, exhibitions, and cultural celebrations. Learning about the diverse histories and cultures within Latin America and the Caribbean allows students to make meaningful connections between social and cultural topics relevant to their lives and classroom instruction. Through these programs, students develop and apply visual literacy, critical thinking, and communication skills.
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