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El Museo del Barrio, the first and leading museum in the country dedicated to preserving and presenting Latino art and culture, is pleased to reveal exhibition highlights for “ESTAMOS BIEN – LA TRIENAL 20/21,” the Museum’s first large-scale national survey of Latinx art. Following two years of research and studio visits by the curatorial team, “ESTAMOS BIEN” features the works of 42 Latinx artists and collectives from across the United States and Puerto Rico. Originally scheduled to coincide with the 2020 U.S. Census and the presidential election, La Trienal opens in El Museo’s galleries one year after the museum first closed due to the pandemic with works that reflect the current moment.
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.
“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.
The title ESTAMOS BIEN is adapted from a painting by Candida Alvarez, the only artist in the show with a previous history with El Museo, 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.