Inspired by our on view exhibition Down These Mean Streets: Community and Place in Urban Photography, El Museo is proud to present entre vistazos: Looking Back at Community and Place in Photography, a panel discussion looking at the role their photography has played in addressing issues related to community, history, migration, and the realities many Latinos faced in order to claim their rightful place in American society.
Featuring the participation of Down These Mean Streets artists Manuel Acevedo, Perla de Leon, Hiram Maristany and Camilo José Vergara. Along with the Curator of Down These Mean Streets, E. Carmen Ramos, the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM)’s deputy chief curator and curator of Latino art, and moderated by Elizabeth Ferrer, VP of Contemporary Art at BRIC Arts.
FREE ADMISSION. To RSVP, click here.
Manuel Acevedo’s work combines projected image, drawing, flipbook animation, and photography to explore how light and movement shape experience. Through various media he employs visual language in ways that transform flat, static images into active spaces of experimentation. Acevedo has exhibited his work in the United States and abroad for over twenty years. Recent solo and group exhibitions include Datascapes at Paul Robeson Galleries in Newark, NJ (2014), Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington D.C. (2013-present), Round 36, The House the Alhacen Built at Project Row Houses in Houston, TX (2012) and Al-Ghaib. Aesthetics of Disappearance at Maraya Art Centre in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates (2011). In 2010, Acevedo’s critically acclaimed Keys of Light exhibition was presented at the Latino Cultural Center in Dallas, TX and The Bronx River Art Center.
He has had solo exhibitions at Jersey City Museum and the Los Angeles Center for Photographic Studies. Among his awards and residencies are those received from the Joan Mitchell Foundation, Visual Artist Network, Longwood Arts Project, Mid-Atlantic Foundation, Studio Museum in Harlem, and AIR. Acevedo is based in the Bronx, New York.
PERLA DE LEON
Perla de Leon was born in New York City and grew up in Harlem where she attended catholic schools, grade school through Fordham University. After obtaining an MFA in Photography, Perla attended the MFA Film Directing Program at Columbia University, freelanced as stills photographer, videographer and associate producer for television and independent film productions. She taught photography and media classes at Edward R. Murrow H.S. and Hostos Community College and spent 13 years as technology teacher-trainer and producer of instructional videos for the Board of Education before returning to freelance work.
In 2015, Perla began collaborations with cultural organizations and universities in New York and Puerto Rico focusing on two mayor projects: ‘The Afro-Descendant Project,’ a series of portraits that speaks to the treatment of people of color in the Caribbean (a pop-up poster series is available for community events) and “The Invisible Puerto Rican-American” a photo-book that compares three Puerto Rican communities, the South Bronx, Vieques and Puerto Rico.
Elizabeth Ferrer is Vice President for Contemporary Art at BRIC, a non-profit multi-disciplinary cultural organization in Brooklyn, as well as a specialist in Latinx and Mexican photography. Over the last eleven years at BRIC, she has curated numerous solo and group exhibitions, including those dedicated to the Nuyorican artists Miguel Luciano and Juan Sánchez, and the recent group exhibition, Whisper or Shout: Artists in the Social Sphere. Prior to her time at BRIC, she held leadership positions at the Austin Museum of Art and at the Americas Society in New York.
As an independent curator, Ferrer has presented numerous exhibitions on Latinx and Mexican modern and contemporary artists for such venues as the Mexican Cultural Institute and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D. C.; El Museo del Barrio and the Wallach Art Gallery at Columbia University; the University of Notre Dame; and MARCO in Monterrey, N.L., Mexico, among others. Ferrer is author of Lola Alvarez Bravo (Aperture Foundation, NY), named as a New York Times notable book of the year, as well as of numerous exhibition catalogues and essays. She was co-editor of the catalogue of the Museum of Modern Art’s landmark exhibition, Latin American Artists of the 20th Century. Ferrer, who studied art history at Wellesley College and Columbia University, has just completed writing a comprehensive history of Latinx photography in the United States, from the 1850s to the present day.
Hiram Maristany was born in El Barrio and still lives in the same neighborhood he loves. Hiram came of age in the 1960’s, when young Puerto Ricans, born and raised in New York’s barrios, asserted a new, New York Puerto Rican identity. Inspired by the Cuban Revolution and the Chicano, Civil Rights, and the Black Power movements, these young people formed new political organizations to revolutionize American society and new arts organizations to spotlight their unique vision of the world. They insisted that their voices be heard, their art work exhibited, their history saved, and their identity not only acknowledged, but celebrated.
Like their counterparts in the pioneros (first, or pioneer) generation, Maristany and his peers easily mixed political and cultural activism. Maristany was a founder of the Young Lords Party in 1969, and was the official photographer for that radical youth organization’s brief but tumultuous existence. From 1975 to 1977, he served as director of El Museo del barrio, also founded in 1969. Deeply involved in the Puerto Rican arts movement, he has documented its major developments and personalities in El barrio for forty years and served during that time as a mentor to numerous Puerto Rican and Latino artist in the city.
Hiram also recorded everyday life in El Barrio, the neighborhood that served as an incubator for the New York Puerto Rican identity, the neighborhood that he has always called home.
E. CARMEN RAMOS
E. Carmen Ramos is the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s deputy chief curator and curator of Latino art since 2010 and has dramatically expanded the museum’s pioneering collection of Latino art with an eye toward capturing the broad aesthetic and regional range of the field. Her research interests include modern and contemporary Latino, Latin American and African American art. Ramos recently curated the exhibition “Tamayo: The New York Years,” (2017) which was the first exhibition to explore the influences between major Mexican modernist Rufino Tamayo and the American art world. She is also currently writing a monograph about Freddy Rodríguez, part of the A Ver: Revisioning Art History book series published by UCLA’s Chicano Studies Research Center.
Ramos organized the exhibitions “Down These Mean Streets: Community and Place in Urban Photography” (2017) and “Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art” (2013), which recently completed a multi-city U.S. tour. The accompanying catalogue received a 2014 co-first prize Award for Excellence by the Association of Art Museum Curators.Before joining the museum’s staff, Ramos was an assistant curator for cultural engagement at The Newark Museum and an independent curator. She curated exhibitions such as “The Caribbean Abroad: Contemporary Artists and Latino Migration” (2003), which featured the work of Nicolas Dumit Estevez, Scherezade Garcia, Miguel Luciano and Juana Valdes, as well as projects with Franco Mondini-Ruiz, Freddy Rodríguez, Paul Henry Ramirez and Chakaia Booker, among others.
Ramos was the author of the exhibition catalogs Tamayo: The New York Years, Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art, America’s Pastime: Portrait of the Dominican Dream, Works by Freddy Rodríguez and Cut, Build and Weld: Process in Works by Chakaia Booker as well as catalogue entries for El Museo del Barrio and The University of Texas at Austin’s Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art. She has also published in American Art, African Arts and the New West Indian Guide. Ramos earned a bachelor’s degree from New York University (1988), and a master’s degree (1995) and a doctorate (2011) from the University of Chicago.