A look at “Estamos Bien – La Trienal” 20/21 at El Museo del Barrio, the museum’s first large-scale, national survey and triennial of contemporary Latinx art. The exhibition features the works of 42 Latinx artists and collectives from across the United States and Puerto Rico.Curator Susanna Temkin is our guide.

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> NEXT, WE VISIT EL MUSEO DEL BARRIO LOCATED AT THE NORTHERN END OF MUSEUM MILE IN EAST HARLEM.

CURRENTLY ON VIEW IS 'ESTAMOS BIEN, LA TRIENAL 20/21,' THE MUSEUM'S FIRST LARGE-SCALE NATIONAL SURVEY AND TRIENNIAL OF CONTEMPORARY LATIN 'X' ART.

ITS TITLE, 'ESTAMOS BIEN', WE'RE FINE' WAS INSPIRED BY A 2017 WORK IN THE EXHIBITION BY CHICAGO-BASED ARTIST CANDIDA ALVAREZ.

THE PAINTING WAS COMPLETED AFTER HURRICANE MARIA DEVASTATED PUERTO RICO.

THE TITLE SUGGESTS BOTH RESILIENCE AND A DECLARATION OF RESISTANCE.

THE TRIENNIAL FEATURES RECENT WORKS FROM 42 ARTISTS FROM ALL ACROSS THE UNITED STATES AND PUERTO RICO.

THE SHOW INCLUDES PAINTING, SCULPTURE AND PHOTOGRAPHY, BUT ASO A WIDE RANGE OF WORKS WHOSE USE OF MATERIALS AND SCOPE DEFY EASY CATEGORIZATION AS DO THE ARTISTS THEMSELVES.

. CURATO SUSANNA TEMKIN TAKES US ON A TOUR OF THE EXHIBITION.

WITH 'LA TRIENAL' WE REALLY WANTED TO BROADEN THE SCOPE, NOT ONLY BRING IN ARTISTS FROM ACROSS THE NATION BUT WORKING WITH ARTISTS FROM A VARIETY OF COURSE OF BACKGROUNDS, GENERATIONS AND CAREER STAGES.

BEHIND ME IS A WORK BY JUSTIN FAVELA, WHO'S REAL INTERESTED IN ENGAGING STEREOTYPES ABOUT LATIN 'X' PEOPLE AND LATIN 'X' ART AND LATIN 'X' CULTURE.

WHAT YOU SEE IS A BLOWNUP MONUMENTAL APPROACH TO CARLOS MERIDA'S PRINTS OF THE POPOL VUH WHICH ARE TEN QUASI-SURREAL WORKS THAT THE GUATEMALAN ARTIST CREATED IN THE 1940s.

JUSTIN CREATES THESE PINATA ARTWORKS MADE OUT OF MULTI-COLORED TISSUE PAPER THAT HE VERY CAREFULLY PLANNED AND EXECUTED TO CREATE THESE BEAUTIFUL FORMS.

WE ALSO WORKED WITH JUSTIN TO RECREATE AT A ONE-TO-ONE SCALE THE PAINTING BY FRANCISCO OLLE CALLED 'YELL OPLAN PAINS,' 'PLATANOS AMARILLOS' WHICH IS REALLY ONE OF THE MOST, I WOULD SAY, BELOVED PAINTINGS IN EL MUSEO'S COLLECTION.

THERE NO SINGLE OVERARCHING THEME, BUT THERE ARE A LOT OF DIFFERENT CONCEPTS OR MOTIFS.

IN ONE OF THE FIRST GALLERIES IS AN APPROACH TO FOOD AND COMMODITIES, INCLUDING THE STILL LIVES BY JOEY TERRILL, WHICH ARE REALLY COMMENTARIES NOT ONLY ON CONSUMER CULTURE BUT ALSO ON THE PHARMACEUTICAL CULTURE.

JOEY IS AN ARTIST WHO'S BEEN LIVING WITH AIDS FOR ALMOST 40 YEARS AND THEN WE ALSO HAVE ARTISTS THAT TAKE A MUCH MORE PLAYFUL, ALTHOUGH VERY SERIOUS APPROACH, LIKE YVETTE MAYORGA WHO CREATES PAINTINGS THAT EVOKE A SORT OF FROSTING OR PASTELLERIA STYLE OF APPLICATION.

THESE WORKS, THEY ALMOST LOOK LIKE CAKES THAT YOU WANT TO LICK THE SURFACES OF BECAUSE THEY'RE SO RICHLY TEXTURED, AS WELL AS LUCIA HIERRO, HER WORKS ARE CALLED 'THE RACKS' AND THEY FEATURE BODEGA VISUAL CULTURE, CONTEMPORARY SNACKS THAT WE'RE ALL FAMILIAR WITH, LIKE THE PLATANITO CHIPS, TAKIS, FRITOS, SO DON'T COME HUNGRY.

THE EXHIBITION WAS ORIGINALLY SCHEDULED TO OPEN IN OCTOBER 2020.

WE DECIDED TO COMMISSION FIVE PROJECTS THAT WERE RELEASED ONLINE.

FOR EXAMPLE, THERE WAS A WORK BY LIZANIA CRUZ CALLED 'THE OBITUARIES OF THE AMERICAN DREAM 'GHT WHICH SHE ASKED PARTICIPANTS TO SUBMIT TESTIMONIALS OF WHEN THE IDEAL OF THE AMERICAN DREAM DIED FOR THEM.

WE CREATED A SPECIAL DIGITAL SITE FOR THE WORK BY MICHAEL MENCHACA, THE WALL, WHICH IS A REAL CRITIQUE OF NUMBER 45'S PLEDGE TO CREATE A BORDER WALL.

AND WE WOUND UP INCLUDING A NUMBER OF WORKS THAT THE ARTIST SPECIFICALLY DURING THAT TIME THAT WE WERE ALL IN OUR HOMES EXPERIENCING SOCIAL DISTANCE.

FOR EXAMPLE, THE DUO PONCILI CREACION WHO CREATED A VERY BEAUTIFUL PIECE THROUGH THE STREETS OF SAN JUAN IN THE HEIGHT OF THE PANDEMIC.

ANOTHER WORK THAT WAS CREATED JUST IN THE LAST YEAR IS PATRICK MARTINEZ'S URBAN LANDSCAPE, THIS IS VERY LARGE-SCALE PAINTING THAT ALMOST LOOKS LIKE AN EXTRACT OF A LOS ANGELES CITY WALL BROUGHT INTO THE GALLERY THAT HAS ALL KIND OF GRAFFITI AND LAYERS INCLUDED AMONG THAT ARE A GLOVE, SOME LYSOL SPRAY, REFERENCES TO WHAT WE'RE STILL USING TODAY.

WE'RE FEATURING 42 ARTISTS AND ART COLLECTIVES WHICH IS A LARGE NUMBER, BUT ACTUALLY THERE'S SO MANY MORE VOICES OUT THERE SO MUCH AMAZE, TOUCHING, POLITICAL PERSONAL WORK WHAT I HOPE THAT OUR AUDIENCES GET IS REAL EXCITED ABOUT EXPLORING WHAT OTHER ART IS OUT THERE.