El Museo del Barrio Reopens in New York City

Winston Vargas, 'Barbershop, Washington Heights, New York, 1961,' printed in 2016
Winston Vargas, 'Barbershop, Washington Heights, New York, 1961,' printed in 2016 | © Winston Vargas, 1961
Photo of Rachel Gould
Art & Design Editor10 September 2018

El Museo del Barrio, the Manhattan destination for Latinx American and Caribbean art and culture, reopens to the public in September 2018 following select renovations.

A New York City institution dedicated to Latin and Caribbean art and culture in the Americas, El Museo del Barrio, closed its doors in 2017 for a year of maintenance. With several new improvements, including upgrades to its climate control systems, a new entrance and an ongoing restoration of the murals in the museum’s theater, El Museo del Barrio reopens on September 13 with two new exhibitions.

Liliana Porter, 'Joan of Arc, Elvis, Che' (2011) | Courtesy of the artist

Liliana Porter: Other Situations is a “non-linear survey of Porter’s work from 1973 to 2018, which explores the conflicting boundaries between reality and fiction and the ways in which images are circulated and consumed,” according to the museum’s website. On view from September 13 2018 through January 27 2019, this nearly 50-year retrospective of the Argentinian multidisciplinary artist’s career travels from the SCAD Museum of Art in Savannah, Georgia and will be Porter’s first New York City solo show in over 25 years.

From September 13 until January 6, Down These Mean Streets: Community and Place in Urban Photography, organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Deputy Chief Curator, E Carmen Ramos, showcases the work of 10 urban photographers whose unique practices delve deeply into their varied subjects. “Activist and documentary photographer Frank Espada captured humanizing portraits of urban residents in their decaying surroundings,” as the museum describes, while “Hiram Maristany and Winston Vargas lovingly captured street life in historic Latino neighborhoods in New York City, offering rare glimpses of bustling community life that unfolded alongside urban neglect and community activism.”

Hiram Maristany, 'Hydrant: In the Air' (1963) | © Hiram Maristany, 1963

El Museo del Barrio was established in the Manhattan neighborhood of Spanish Harlem, also known as “El Barrio,” in 1969 by artist Raphael Montañez alongside a coalition of fellow artists, activists and educators. Today, the museum boasts a permanent collection of some 6,500 artworks and artefacts spanning over 800 years of Latin American and Caribbean history.

“Since its inception, El Museo has been committed to celebrating and promoting Latino culture, thus becoming a cornerstone of El Barrio, and a valuable resource for New York City,” the museum explains. “Through its extensive collections, varied exhibitions and publications, bilingual public programs, educational activities, festivals and special events, El Museo educates its diverse public in the richness of Caribbean and Latin American arts and cultural history. By introducing young people to this cultural heritage, El Museo is creating the next generation of museum-goers, while satisfying the growing interest in Caribbean and Latin American art of a broad national and international audience.”

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