Sailing through the wake of abstract expressionism into recycled cinema and afterwards into object-oriented and performance-based destructivist art, Raphael Montañez Ortiz has spent more than six decades at the forefront of American postwar art. Virtual Book Launch: July 22, in conversation with Raphael Montañez Ortiz, Patrick Charpenel, Juan Sanchez, Chon Noriega, and others.


El Museo del Barrio presents, in collaboration with Editorial RM, Raphael Montañez Ortiz, the first monograph of the preeminent Nuyorican artist and founder of El Museo del Barrio, Raphael Montañez Ortiz. Edited by Javier Rivero Ramos, the monograph seeks to redress the scarcity of bibliographical resources dedicated to the life and work of an artist who early on committed himself to push and exceed disciplinary boundaries.


One of the most radical creators and pioneers of his generation, Raphael Montañez Ortiz, offers El Museo del Barrio an opportunity to push the boundaries of identities, showcase moments of harmony and tension in our lived history as a museum, and challenge and expand limited visual art narratives. Entropy speaks about the need for transformation, about the irreversible changes that are generated within complex systems. This spirit is evidenced in El Museo del Barrio today and for years to come.” Said Patrick Charpenel, Executive Director, El Museo del Barrio

The preeminent monograph features leading voices in the visual arts world. Artist Pedro Reyes shares an intimate conversation with the artist in his New Jersey home focused on his long career and on the pressing question how we can transform violence into a creative experience. Kevin Hatch, Associate Professor of Art History at State University of New York (SUNY) Binghamton, offers an examination of Montañez Ortiz’s revolutionary experimentation in the media of film and video, as well as his extraordinary aptitude for creative self-fashioning, whether in text, performance, photograph, or moving image. Finally, Chon Noriega, Director of the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center, and Adjunct Curator at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), offers seventeen propositions (moments) that were pivotal in Raphael Montañez’s formation as a human being, and subsequently as an artist. The monograph concludes with a curriculum vitae of the artist’s extensive trajectory, updated and revised by graduate student Ana Perry.


For far too long, canonical art history devoted to American art of the second half of the twentieth century neglected one of its most innovative artists. Premised on the Eurocentric myth of the homo faber, it failed to comprehend the trailblazing character of Raphael Montañez Ortiz and his life-long endeavor to harness the human condition’s primal energies. At once a painter, performance artist, sculptor, filmmaker, teacher, community organizer and writer, the work of Raphael Montañez Ortiz defies disciplinary categorization. This publication offers for the first time a panoramic view of a prolific career spanning more than six decades,” writes the monograph’s editor, Javier Rivero Ramos.

In celebration of the launch of the monograph, El Museo will host a special evening with artists, friends, and contributors, featuring the participation of artist Raphael Montañez Ortiz himself; The conversations will be followed by a Q&A. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER 



*cover artwork: Newsreel (still), 1958 – Raphael Montañez Ortiz