On March 13, 2021, El Museo del Barrio will open its doors to Estamos Bien ~ La Triennial 20/21, the museum’s first national large-scale survey of Latinx contemporary art. The exhibition will feature more than 40 artists from across the United States and Puerto Rico.
he selection is the culmination of more than one year of studio visits and conversations with artists from across the country by the Curatorial Team composed of El Museo del Barrio’s Chief Curator Rodrigo Moura and Curator Susanna V. Temkin, and New York-based artist Elia Alba as Guest Curator. The show is the museum’s first national large-scale survey of Latinx contemporary art. ESTAMOS BIEN – LA TRIENAL 20/21 will debut in Las Galerias from M arch 13, 2021 to September 26, 2021.
“El Museo has historically maintained a very productive relationship with the art of the present and it is in this spirit that we are so excited to share a fantastic list of artists and collectives participating in the Trienal. We have deeply focused on the outstanding quality of their works and it is a true honor to offer this platform to enable a visual conversation between them. Presenting a major survey of Latinx art today is not only urgent. It is also a great opportunity to continue proving its relevance nationally and globally”, says El Museo del Barrio’s Chief Curator, Rodrigo Moura.
ESTAMOS BIEN – LA TRIENAL 20/21 represents a newly reconceived version of the critically acclaimed exhibition series, The (S) Files, held at El Museo between 1999 and 2013, which provided a platform for Latinx and Latin American artists working in the metro-New York area. Expanded to a nation-wide scope, La Trienal foregrounds an intersectional approach to Latinx identity, including artists and collectives from different generations, genders, ethnic, and racial backgrounds. Featuring artworks created after the year 2000, the show includes painting, sculpture, drawing, installation, photography, ceramics, textile, and performance. While the exhibition eschews any overarching thematics, many of the artists address issues related to gentrification and commercialization; family – both chosen and inherited; identity and structural racism; migration and displacement; and climate and ecological justice; among other topics.
“While ESTAMOS BIEN w as already in formation, these concepts have only grown more pressing in light of the global pandemic and its effects on BIPOC communities, as well as this country’s growing recognition of the Black Lives Matter and other social justice movements in the wake of the deaths of Breona Taylor, George Floyd andsomanyothers,”notesCuratorSusannaV.Temkin.“E STAMOSBIENhas therefore taken on new meaning, and as the title suggests, reflects both sarcasm and serves as a provocation.”
This first iteration of La Trienal borrows its title, ESTAMOS BIEN, from the work of participating artist Candida Alvarez, a former member of El Museo’s curatorial team in the 1970s and the only artist in the show with a previous exhibition history with the institution. Her painting Estoy Bien (2017) takes its title from the resilient and obliquely sarcastic response to the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. Now pluralized, the phrase resonates with the present-day moment, replete with political and pop cultural references.
Commenting on the significance of the show at this particular moment, Guest Curator and Artist Elia Alba affirmed, “Latinx art doesn’t rely or depend on a binary. It mixes social histories, and spans the color ranges of race. As society pushes against the binaries that have marginalized BIPOC for centuries, now more than ever, these surveys are a must as they lay bare what is possible. Latinx art, call it a movement, call it a space, challenges us to question the inflexibility of language and systems. Latinx art is the future.”
Originally scheduled for Fall 2020, La Trienal transitioned into a year-long initiative, with the exhibition making its debut in summer 2020 with a series of online projects by artists Lizania Cruz, xime izquierdo ugaz, Collective Magpie, Michael Menchaca, and Poncilí Creación launched between July and October. These and all artists will form part of the physical iteration next spring, occupying all the exhibition spaces of El Museo.
Participating artists include:
Francis Almendárez, Candida Alvarez, Eddie R. Aparicio, Fontaine Capel, Carolina Caycedo, Juan William Chavez, Yanira Collado, Collective Magpie, Lizania Cruz, Amaryllis DeJesus Moleski, Dominique Duroseau, Justin Favela, Luis Flores, Ektor Garcia, María Gaspar, Victoria Gitman, José Antonio Gomez, Manuela Gonzalez, 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, Ada Trillo, Joey Terrill, Torn Apart/Separados, Vincent Valdez, Raelis Vasquez
ESTAMOS BIEN – LA TRIENAL 20/21 is made possible by The Jacques & Natasha Gelman Foundation. Leadership support is provided by The Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Commissioned works are made possible by Tony Bechara. Major funding is provided by Morgan Stanley and The Lenore G. Tawney Foundation. Generous funding is provided by The Cowles Charitable Trust and La Trienal Council: Craig Robins and Jackie Soffer, and The Jorge M. Pérez Family Foundation at The Miami Foundation. Additional support is provided by The El Museo Fund.