The Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute is proud to stand with our founder, Dr. Marta Moreno Vega in the position she has taken to withdraw her work from the upcoming exhibition planned at El Museo del Barrio. We are appalled by the recent decisions taken by the staffing and programming at El Museo del Barrio that replicates the pompous racist stance of the many other institutions in this city and country that have historically excluded, minimized and ignored us. Why have our communities been so silent? This is OUR institution! Where is YOUR voice? We need to make our voices heard! It is up to us!
"Artist Marta Moreno Vega Withdraws Work from Upcoming
El Museo del Barrio Exhibition" Via ArtNews
BY WILLIAM ALATRISTE
In a sign of continuing tension between community members and El Museo del Barrio in New York, the artist and activist Marta Moreno Vega has withdrawn a work from a exhibition at the museum slated to open next month. Additionally, the San Juan–based curator Marina Reyes Franco said she will no longer participate in a panel at the museum that she was set to moderate. Both actions come in the wake of El Museo’s hiring of Rodrigo Moura as chief curator.
In a statement posted to Facebook, Moreno Vega, who served as the second director of El Museo, said she had pulled a self-portrait from the exhibition “Culture and The People: El Museo del Barrio, 1969 – 2019.” That show is divided into two halves, with the first part, a permanent collection display, scheduled to open on April 11 at the museum.
El Museo, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, was founded in 1969 by a group of Puerto Rican artists, activists, and educators in the historically Puerto Rican neighborhood of East Harlem, also known as “El Barrio.” Eventually, the museum’s mission was expanded to include displaying work by U.S. Latinx and Latin American artists. Recently, activists have accused the museum of prioritizing work by Latin American artists, at the expense of Latinx artists, and being out of touch with its neighbors in East Harlem and its founding Puerto Rican community. They have pointed to the museum’s decision to hire two Latin Americans for its top posts—Mexican curator Patrick Charpenel as executive director, who was appointed in 2017, and Moura, who is Brazilian—as evidence of this. (Neither curator had been based in New York prior to being hired for his position.)
“I have stated previously, and I repeat El Museo is excluding the communities it was created to serve,” Moreno Vega wrote. “In its origins the parents who fought for the then school project wanted their children and their [children’s] children to learn and value their history and continue the legacy of their inheritance that was invisible in the schools. . . . El Museo was about challenging inequity, providing a creative thought process and creative expressions that would lead to solutions with the brilliant eyes of our artists.”......