EXHIBITION HIGHLIGHTS OF “ESTAMOS BIEN”, EL MUSEO DEL BARRIO’S TRIENAL 20/21
El Museo del Barrio is the first and leading museum in the country dedicated to preserving and presenting Latino art and culture. ESTAMOS BIEN - LA TRIENAL 20/21 is the Museum’s first large-scale national survey of Latinx art. Curated by El Museo del Barrio’s Chief Curator, Rodrigo Moura, Curator Susanna V. Temkin, and Guest Curator and Artist Elia Alba, the exhibition is on view to the public from March 13 to September 26.
The exhibition centers on an intersectional approach to the concept of Latinx—the much-contested term that departs from binary understandings of U.S.-Latino identity through the adoption of the gender-neutral suffix X, distancing itself from rigid definitions to allow a nuanced, more inclusive understanding of identity. In ESTAMOS BIEN, Latinx serves as a meeting point rather than a singular definition, as the artists participating in the show represent diverse generations, genders, ethnic and racial backgrounds, foregrounding Indigeneity, African and non-European heritages; gender nonconformity; and other multiplicities.
The title ESTAMOS BIEN is adapted from a painting by Candida Alvarez dating to the 1970s. By pluralizing the phrase, the title echoes the anthemic song by Bad Bunny and is simultaneously a declaration of defiant resilience and a provocation, conflating a sarcastic and a positive tone. While the words connect with a post-Hurricane Maria framework, they also hold broader applications, particularly within the context of the contemporary moment, with the rise of proto-totalitarian regimes in democracies in the Americas and beyond; the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement which has exposed systemic racism in society and its cultural institutions; and the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to BIPOC populations worldwide.
Pop Art and identity politics spark the work of Lucia Hierro, who utilizes digital media, painting, installation art, sculpture and color theory as tools to tackle ideas of class, exclusion and privilege. Borrowing and extracting from the mainstream art historical canon to create objects that reflect on the urban experience and vernacular commodities she encountered growing up in New York City, her sculptures and installations play with scale, proportion, and humor to both elevate and question our familiarity with commodity culture and its colonialist ties.
Also using the format of the still life, for nearly four decades artist Joey Terrill has stood at the forefront of queer Chicano art, pushing the boundaries of form and cultural representation by exploring the confluences of race and sexuality. Since testing HIV-positive in 1989 Terrill’s artistic production has been intimately connected to his identity as both a Chicano HIV-positive gay man and a health educator. He is known for his series of Pop art inspired and rasquache infused still-life paintings in which antiretroviral drugs and consumer products are contrasted in a critique of the pharmaceutical industry that profits from the disease.
The full list of selected artists for ESTAMOS BIEN - LA TRIENAL 20/21:
Francis Almendárez; Candida Alvarez; Eddie R. Aparicio; Fontaine Capel; Carolina Caycedo; Juan William Chávez; Yanira Collado; Collective Magpie; Lizania Cruz; Amaryllis DeJesus Moleski; Dominique Duroseau; Justin Favela; Luis Flores; ektor Garcia; María Gaspar; Victoria Gitman; José Antonio Gómez; Manuela González; Lucia Hierro; xime izquierdo ugaz; Esteban Jefferson; Roberto Lugo; Maria José; Carlos Martiel; Patrick Martinez; Yvette Mayorga; Groana Melendez; Michael Menchaca; The Museum of Pocket Art; Dionis Ortiz; Poncili Creación; Simonette Quamina; Vick Quezada; Sandy Rodriguez; Yelaine Rodriguez; Nyugen E. Smith; Edra Soto; Joey Terrill; Torn Apart/Separados; Ada Trillo; Vincent Valdez; and Raelis Vasquez.
ESTAMOS BIEN - LA TRIENAL 20/21
The Museum's First National Survey of Latinx Art
March 13–September 26, 2021