In its second iteration, “elmuseo@SVA” represents a coming together of two New York institutions: El Museo del Barrio and the School of Visual Arts. Founded by artist Raphael Montañez Ortiz and local activists, parents and teachers in East Harlem, El Museo del Barrio’s original mission was to support the art and culture of Puerto Ricans in New York. By the early 1970s that mission expanded to include all of Latin American and Latino communities here.

May Contain Moving Parts brings together a varied group of works that focus on different kinds of mechanisms and systems.. In engineering applications, the phrase “may contain moving parts” is used as a cautionary statement. These words also signify that the motion of a mechanism or system may be affected by inertia and that it may change throughout various phases of its working movement. We can explore this as a kind of call to attention on change and adaptation, on movement and stillness.

The artists grouped together here relate to one another in their methods of approaching ideas around systems or motion, or in their choice of media, or in the expressive ends of their work. Here, we might see the use of sound or movement as symbolic language, the adaptation of a visceral object or complex scene to achieve a desired reaction. In some cases, they entice the viewer to become the player, the philosopher, or the activist. Landscape is rendered as both haunting pattern and oppressive atmosphere. An object may be de-contextualized and relieved of its intended function in order to play a different role. The artists consider the various signs of movement; explore possibilities of the meaning and function of objects or parts; and meditate on the relationship of place, motion, form and space to the individual.

We are grateful to the artists for their participation and generosity.

Graciela Cassel (2014), Willie Cole, Jon Gomez (2017), Franco Frontera, Jonas Lara (2012), Arnaldo Morales, Marylin Narota (2016), Aya Rodriguez-Izumi (2017), and Jennifer Santos (2012).


Graciela Cassel is a multimedia artist who works with video installations and sculpture to explore ideas of subjectivity, change and border politics. She was born in Buenos Aires, lives in New York City and has shown her work in solo and group exhibitions in the U.S., Argentina and the Netherlands. She received her MFA from the School of Visual Arts, New York (2014), her MA from New York University (2012), and her BA from the Universidad de Buenos Aires (1980).

Willie Cole is a sculptor based in New York. His work has shown work at Montclair Art Museum (2006), University of Wyoming Art Museum (2006), the Tampa Museum of Art (2004), Miami Art Museum (2001), Bronx Museum of the Arts (2001) and the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1998). In 2010, a survey exhibition of his work on paper (1975 – 2010) took place at the James Gallery and later traveled to many cities. In January 2013, “Complex Conversations: Willie Cole Sculptures and Wall Works” opened at the Albertine Monroe-Brown Gallery at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo.

Franco Frontera is a multimedia artist who works with painting and sound. He was born in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, and lives in New York City. He received his MFA from the School of Visual Arts (2016) and his BFA from the Universidad del Sagrado Corazón, Santurce, Puerto Rico (2013). He has exhibited his works at individual shows at the Flight Cult Gallery and the Calle Cerra, Puerto Rico (2014). He has also participated in group shows at venues such as the Caribbean Social Club (2016), The Lounge (2016), the Galeria Yemayá (2014) and the Flight Cult Gallery (2013), among others.

Jon Gomez is a Mexican-American multimedia artist based in Brooklyn, New York. He graduated from the School of Visual Arts with an MFA in 2017. As an artist born in Los Angeles and raised in Mexico, his works travel freely between the universals of Southern California and the lived reality of Latin American communities. Landscapes that predate U.S. expansionism often feature in his recent installations—lands that frame the evolution of immigration, identity, and nationalism in 21st-century America.

Jonas Lara is a photographer, mixed-media artist and musician. Lara joined the U.S. Marines in 2000, started working as an artist in 2003, and has exhibited at several solo and group shows, including an individual exhibition at the Carnegie Art Museum Studio Gallery (2015). He received his MFA from the School of Visual Arts (2012) and his BFA from the Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, California.

Arnaldo Morales is a multimedia artist who works with industrial materials, low-tech manual devices and mechanical systems. Born in Puerto Rico, he has lived and worked in New York City since 1996. He has shown work at El Museo del Barrio, The Americas Society, and White Box (all in New York), the Galería de la Raza (San Francisco), and The Living Art Museum (Reykjavik, Iceland), among other venues.

Marilyn Narota combines art and psychology to produce socially engaged installations, sculptures and performance-based videos. She was born in Colombia and lives in New York City. She received her MFA from the School of Visual Arts (2016), her post- baccalaureate degree from the Maryland Institute College of Art (2013) and her BA from Williams College (2006). She is the founder of collaborative artist initiatives such as Sly Space, Kaur Studio, FussionArt Magazine and Artilade magazine. Her work has been exhibited at the School of Visual Arts, The Hole, El Museo de Los Sures, and Project for Empty Space.

Aya Rodriguez-Izumi is a multimedia artist who works with sculpture, music, installation and performance. She has spent her life moving back and forth between New York City and her birthplace of Okinawa, Japan, and her work often deals with the topics of socio-cultural identity and communication. Since graduating from Parsons, the New School for Design, she has been included in various group shows and has shown at such venues as MoCADA, The Knockdown Center, Free Candy and FLUX Art Fair. She is currently an MFA Fine Arts degree candidate at the School of Visual Arts.

Jenny Santos is a New York City-based multimedia artist who works predominantly in sculpture and installation. Her work often explores the tension between opinions, reality and the unstable, shifting appearances of daily life. Santos exhibited recent works at NURTUREart Gallery, New York (2014), and has participated in group exhibitions at the School of Visual Arts, and Project 165 in Toronto, Canada. She received her MFA from the School of Visual Arts (2012), and her BFA from the Ontario College of Art and Design, Toronto (2007). She has received the Ontario Arts Council Visual Artist Grant (2014), among other awards.