This exclusive “El Met” cap is part of an artist project by Miguel Luciano, Civic Practice Partnership Artist in Residence at The Met, designed to expand the visibility of Latinx art at the institution. All proceeds from the sale of “El Met” merchandise will support the acquisition of Latinx art at the Museum.
“El Met” is how we say “The Met” in Spanglish. It’s how Latinx audiences throughout New York City and beyond colloquially describe the Museum as a destination.
As a Civic Practice Partnership Artist in Residence, one of the first things I explored was the history of representation among Puerto Rican and Latinx artists at the Museum, asking the fundamental question: Where do we see ourselves at The Met? The groundbreaking exhibition The Art Heritage of Puerto Rico: Pre-Columbian to Present (1973), a collaboration with El Museo del Barrio, became a focal point in my research, as it remains the largest survey of Puerto Rican art in any U.S. museum to date. Unfortunately, it didn’t lead to major acquisitions, future exhibition opportunities, or sustainable relationships with Latinx communities in the generations that followed.
In response to the underrepresentation of Puerto Rican and Latinx artists in the collection, I remixed The Met’s logo into “El Met” as a way of reimagining the Museum through the lens of Spanish-speaking audiences. I then created a limited edition of “El Met” t-shirts as a provocation to increase the visibility of Latinx art at the Museum. This collection is now exclusively available at The Met, and all proceeds from the sale of “El Met” merchandise will directly support the acquisition of Latinx art at the Museum.
The “El Met” t-shirt is an artist project that I hope can serve as a prompt for the institution and its benefactors to invest more substantially in the art and culture of Latinx communities, and also a way for Latinx audiences to celebrate our own connections to the Museum.