The art scene (and all its moving parts) in Puerto Rico never ceases to amaze me. Despite the crippling destruction of Hurricane Maria on the island, local artists, galleries, and museums are brimming with ideas and churning out events.
December saw the opening of Timbiriche Design—a 3-day art and design fair—organized for the sixth consecutive year by the Museum of Contemporary Art of Puerto Rico (MAC), which included concerts and presentations by the contemporary dance company Andanza and the street theater troupe Jóvenes del 98, as well as the opening of the “Entredichos” exhibition and . . . “El MoOC en el MAC.”
The exhibition, which is still on view—“Entredichos: Nuevas Adquisiciones del Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico”—presents the MAC’s new acquisitions. Artists in the exhibition include Myritza Castillo, Mónica Ching, Bárbara Díaz Tapia, Martín García Rivera, Javier Orfón, and Daniel Lind Ramos. Among the new acquisitions is the remarkable series by Pablo Delano, “The Museum of the Old Colony” [MoOC. Hence, “el MoOC en el MAC”].
“The Museum of the Old Colony,” an installation/exhibition by Puerto Rican artist Pablo Delano was unveiled in February 2016 at Alice Yard, in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. It then traveled to the National Gallery of Jamaica (a fragment); to 7th Argentine Biennial of Documentary Photography in Tucumán, Argentina; then, to New York University’s King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center in February 2017; and is now on view at the MAC, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. For more information, see “Pablo Delano: A Brief Interview by Repeating Islands” and “A New Museum for an Old Colony” by David González.
González reviewed Delano’s “The Museum of the Old Colony” for the The New York Times. He writes:
“The images from Puerto Rico show devastated landscapes, flooded streets and barefoot children. In some cases, they are accompanied by snide comments that tease or blame the subjects for their predicament. Are these from 2017, post-Hurricane Maria? No, try 1899. [. . .] The books and images Mr. Delano collected for decades portray Puerto Ricans as colonial subjects whose lives will be improved by the imposition of American values and, in 1917, American citizenship. They were done — mostly by outsiders — to introduce American readers to the people and places that were taken as the spoils of war, and often with a distinct, propagandistic point of view. [. . .]”
González also quotes Marianne Ramirez-Aponte, executive director and curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, who explains: “Pablo Delano’s Museum of the Old Colony is a great contribution in questioning the veracity of ‘historic’ photos and the problem of how Puerto Rico was represented by American photographers starting with the military invasion of 1898. That foreign gaze, of the Other, we are confronting again today in light of the great interest internationally after the destruction suffered by Puerto Rico after the hurricanes, and the curiosity to understand our complex relationship to the United States; a relationship that determines the socioeconomic structures affecting practically all aspects of Puerto Rican lives.”
For more information, see https://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2017/11/15/a-new-museum-for-an-old-colony-puerto-rico/
Also see previous posts https://repeatingislands.com/2017/02/09/pablo-delano-a-brief-interview-with-repeating-islands/, https://repeatingislands.com/2017/01/19/pablo-delanos-the-museum-of-the-old-colony/, https://repeatingislands.com/2016/02/16/pablo-delano-the-museum-of-the-old-colony/, https://repeatingislands.com/2016/01/25/the-museum-of-the-old-colony-an-installationexhibition-by-pablo-delano/, https://repeatingislands.com/2017/02/03/art-exhibitioninstallation-the-museum-of-the-old-colony/, and https://repeatingislands.com/2017/02/12/the-museum-of-the-old-colony-roundtable-discussion/