The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Civic Practice Partnership Artist-in-Residence, Miguel Luciano, is having a party and we’re all invited! The block party is a celebration of his new exhibition, on view at Hope Community Inc.’s Galeria del Barrio, and it is also a celebration of the culmination of Luciano’s there-year residency at The Met.
Throughout this residency, Luciano engaged with the Museum’s archives and collection, foregrounding historic connections between the Museum and East Harlem and exploring the deep activist history of the neighborhood and community. A centerpiece of the exhibition is a sculptural bronze replica of the Taíno Zemí Cohoba Stand (A.D. 974–1027), from The Met’s Arts of the Ancient Americas collection, which Luciano created to present this iconic image of ancestral Caribbean art to the community.
Luciano’s work pays homage to the activist history of East Harlem, which challenged institutions to become more inclusive and responsive, while he underscores the need for this work to continue today.
“The Civic Practice Partnership continues to be a significant way The Met can support lasting, relevant, and vital partnerships with artists and communities around New York City,” said Heidi Holder, the Museum’s Frederick P. and Sandra P. Rose Chair of Education. “Miguel Luciano’s Cemí-Libre pushes the boundaries of creative practice and research at the Museum to connect directly and deeply with the people of East Harlem. We are grateful to partner with Hope Community, Inc. in mounting this exhibition at Galería del Barrio. In many ways, Cemí-Libre liberates and provokes us all to think about the ways in which objects and museums interact with histories and communities. It’s thrilling to see Luciano share his work with East Harlem and to witness the ambitious fruits of his residency.”
Suhaly Bautista-Carolina, The Met’s Senior Managing Educator of Audience Development and Engagement, commented, “Luciano’s practice invites us to experience The Met’s art, narratives, and archives through a community-centric lens, one that redirects our attention to the People with a capital ‘P’ and amplifies the work, stories, and impact of community artists, creators, and elders. His residency blazes a path for future socially engaged artists to lead in the critical, urgent, and transformative work of prioritizing diverse perspectives.”
“The Civic Practice Partnership has been a unique opportunity for artists to leverage the resources of the institution in service of the communities we represent,” said Luciano. “I am honored to be sharing this culminating work in East Harlem and celebrating with the community that inspired it.”
Cemí-Libre follows extensive research that Miguel Luciano (born Puerto Rico, 1972) conducted on The Met’s 1973 exhibition The Art Heritage of Puerto Rico: Pre-Colombian to Present, which was a collaboration with El Museo del Barrio and the first major survey of Puerto Rican art in a U.S. museum. Cemí-Libre also follows the public art project Mapping Resistance: The Young Lords in El Barrio (2019), in which Luciano placed billboard-size historic photographs by Hiram Maristany (the official photographer of the Young Lords) in the exact East Harlem locations where the actions and events occurred 50 years prior. The exhibition Cemí-Libre will be open through August 8, 2021, and will culminate Luciano’s Civic Practice Partnership Artistic Residency, which began in 2018.
Miguel Luciano: Cemi-Libre Block Party Celebration will be held on Saturday, July 31st from 2:00 to 6:00pm on East 104th Street between Third Avenue and Lexington Avenue in East Harlem.
The exhibition is on view from July 23 through August 8, 2021 at Galeria del Barrio, 162 1/2 East 104th Street. The Galeria is open daily from 11am to 7pm.
Just for fun, we thought we would include another of the artists’ creations ~ a mobil public art project, Pimp My Piragua (image above), a piece that commemorates the innovations of Latino street vendors. We spotted it a few years ago in the lobby of Lenfest Center for the Arts at Columbia University.
Check to see what else is going on in East Harlem. Visit the historic La Marqueta.