“Something Beautiful: Reframing The Collection” – El Museo del Barrio’s Most Ambitious Exhibition in Two Decades

Starting Friday, the Museo del Barrio in New York presents its most ambitious exhibition in two decades, “Something Beautiful: Reframing The Collection” (sic), made up mostly of works from its collection, after three years of gestation.

The new exhibition, which can be visited until March 10, 2024, is made up of some 500 works of art -paintings, photos, videos, posters, serigraphs and objects- of which 300 are shown at first, and between these include new acquisitions and others reinterpreted for this occasion, explained curator Susanna Temkin.

“Something Beautiful: Reframing The Collection” is the result of a multi-year investigation that consulted more than 40 artists, academics, community leaders, and art world professionals to explore the possibilities of the museum’s collection, which consists of more than 8,000 works, collected over more than 50 years.

It reassesses the collection along with new works to highlight Puerto Rican, Latino, Caribbean, and Latin American artistic production and identities.

The pieces include works by important artists such as José Alicea, Carmelo Sobrino, Rafael Tufiño (1922-2008) or Myrna Báez (1931-2018), from Puerto Rico, Carolina Caycedo, of Colombian origin, the Peruvian photographer Martin Chambi, considered the pioneer of portrait photography (1891-1973) or the Cuban Carmen Herrero (1915-2022)

The title of the exhibition -divided by theme- is inspired by a work by the artist Marcos Dimas and part of the story that the works tell of the development of the community of El Barrio where the museum is located, and of the museum itself founded in 1969 by Puerto Rican activists.

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“Opens May 19! ‘Algo Hermoso’ is El Museo’s most ambitious presentation of its culturally diverse Permanent Collection in more than two decades. With sections on Jorge Soto Sánchez; Alejandro Díaz; Papo Colo; Antonio López; and Myrna Báez. 📸 by Antonio López”, read a message on social networks from the Museum.

The exhibition begins with “Ocama Aracoel: Taino spirits and forms and their influence on the New York artistic movement,” which shows pieces of the Taino culture, the main ethnic group in the Greater Antilles.

For this section, the Museum commissioned the Puerto Rican artist Glendalys Medina, who created a kind of tunnel that gives access to the collection and that invokes the cohoba ceremony, the spiritual center of Taíno community life.

The Cosmic Vision section shows the works of indigenous and non-indigenous artists that evoke Amerindian languages, landscapes and other cultural references, while First Impression focuses on the first acquisitions and graphic portfolio in Puerto Rican printmaking.

There are also pieces that tell about public space and others that explore what it means to be “man, woman, neither or both” and ends with the role of women in abstract art.

“This is a small brushstroke on a collection that talks about the history of a community that has always been outside the cultural canon. I think that the cultural history of the United States has to enter a rewriting process to talk about what is not has been talked about, to show a production of communities that have played a very important role in the development of this country, which is not talked about,” the director of El Museo, the Mexican, Patrick Charpenel told EFE.

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In October part of the collection will change to show the remaining 200 works that are part of “Something Beautiful: Reframing The Collection”.

2023-05-18 21:17:00
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