Art Exhibition: “Something Beautiful”

“Something Beautiful: Reframing La Colección” is now on view at El Museo del Barrio (East Harlem, Manhattan, New York) until March 10, 2024. [Also see our previous post Something Beautiful: Reframing.]

The first rotation of the exhibition features Papo Colo (among seven other artist spotlights), whose work is pictured above and below. “The artist left Puerto Rico at eighteen to join the Merchant Marine, and much of his work since then has examined themes of masculinity, migration, political power, and bodily exertion. These concepts appear in the playful, sensual, and surreal images from his series Photopoems and Acting as Behavior, released as a single portfolio in 1983.”

“Colo champions the concept of ‘zero identity,’ freeing oneself of the burden of specificity, ethnicity, or culture. This includes placing himself at the service of the wider art community in projects like the New York alternative art space Exit Art (1982-2012) or his current Pangea Art Republic residency program in El Yunque rainforest.”

El Museo del Barrio is pleased to present Something Beautiful: Reframing La Colección, the Museum’s most ambitious presentation of its unique, complex, and culturally diverse Permanent Collection in over two decades. Organized by Rodrigo Moura, Chief Curator; Susanna V. Temkin, Curator; and Lee Sessions, Permanent Collection Associate Curator, the exhibition will present approximately 500 artworks by nearly 90 artists, including new acquisitions and artist commissions, through rotating displays over the course of one year.

The first rotation of Something Beautiful: Reframing La Colección is organized in eight sections plus seven artist spotlights. Themes and motifs reappear across sections to create a larger conversation throughout the exhibition. Sections include: Ocama Aracoel: Taíno spirits and forms and their influence on the Nuyorican art movement; Cosmic Visions: Indigenous and non-indigenous artists evoking Amerindian languages, landscapes, and other cultural references; First Impressions: Focusing on early acquisitions and the graphic portfolio in Puerto Rican printmaking; El Barrio: Different facets of life in East Harlem and other Barrios in New York, especially around the stoop, the sidewalk, and the bodega; The Street Transforms: Artists’ and activists’ interventions in public space; Pathos, Hope, Glory: Transhistorical portraits and self portraits of artists reflecting the diversity of the Latinx experience; Clothed/Unclothed: Artworks that explore, exaggerate, and deconstruct what it means to be male, female, neither, or both; and Abstraccionistas: The protagonism of women in abstract art, matrilinear traditions, opticalities and the framing of reality through abstraction. Artist spotlights will feature the works of Jorge Soto Sánchez (1947 New York, NY – 1987 White River Junction, VT); Alejandro Diaz (b. 1963, San Antonio, TX; lives in New York, NY); Papo Colo (b. 1947, Puerta de Tierra, Puerto Rico; lives between New York, NY and El Yunque, Puerto Rico); Antonio Lopez (1943, Utuado, Puerto Rico – 1987, Thousand Oaks, CA); and Myrna Baez (1931, Santurce, Puerto Rico – 2018, Hato Ray, Puerto Rico). [. . .]

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