Curated by El Museo’s Chief Curator Rodrigo Moura; Curator, Susanna V. Temkin; and Guest Curator, Elia Alba
El Museo del Barrio presents ESTAMOS BIEN – LA TRIENAL 20/21, the museum’s first national large-scale survey of Latinx contemporary art featuring more than 40 artists from across the United States and Puerto Rico. Originally planned for Fall 2020, the show was reconceived and expanded as a yearlong initiative, later debuting in the summer of 2020 with online projects followed by an onsite exhibition in Las Galerías (Galleries) that opened in Spring 2021. Related public programs featuring curators, artists, invited scholars and other guests were held throughout the year.
ESTAMOS BIEN – LA TRIENAL 20/21 was inspired by the critically acclaimed and historic The (S) Files exhibitions held at El Museo between 1999 and 2013, which provided a platform for emerging Latino and Latin American artists from the New York metropolitan region. Reconceived as a Triennial, the exhibition for the first time has expanded its scope to a national scale including artists from California, Texas, Florida, Chicago, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, as well as from the Tristate Area. Utilizing an intersectional approach to Latinx identity, the Curatorial team has selected artists representing a diversity of generations, genders, ethnic, and racial backgrounds.
This first iteration of the triennial borrows its title, ESTAMOS BIEN, from the work of participating artist Candida Alvarez, a former member of El Museo’s curatorial team in the 1970s and the only artist in the show with a previous exhibition history with the institution. Her painting Estoy Bien (2017) takes its title from the resilient and obliquely sarcastic response to the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. Now pluralized, the phrase resonates with the present-day moment, as the works in the exhibition address issues of race and identity politics, gentrification and displacement, climate change, as well as the particular effects of the global pandemic to Latinx and other BIPOC populations.
ABOUT LA TRIENAL CURATORS
Elia Alba is a multidisciplinary artist, who works in sculpture, photography and video. She has exhibited at El Museo del Barrio, New York; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Smithsonian Museum of Art, Washington D.C.; Perez Art Museum Miami; National Museum of Art, Reina Sofía, Madrid; and the 10th Havana Biennial. Alba has received the Studio Museum in Harlem Artist-in Residence Program; the Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant and most recently the Anonymous Was A Woman award. A published author, her recent book, Elia Alba, The Supper Club, (Hirmer, June 2019), critically acclaimed by The New York Times and produced by the Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation, brought together artists, scholars and performers of diasporic cultures to examine race and culture in the United States through photography, food and dialogue.
Rodrigo Moura is a curator, writer and editor working in contemporary and modern art and currently serving as Chief Curator at El Museo del Barrio, New York. As the Adjunct Curator of Brazilian Art at Museu de Arte de São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand between 2016 and 2019, he curated and co-curated exhibitions such as Djanira: Picturing Brazil (2019), Melvin Edwards: Lynch Fragments (2018), Who’s afraid of Teresinha Soares? (2017), and Portinari Popular (2016). Prior to this, he was the Artistic Director of Instituto Inhotim (Minas Gerais, Brasil) between 2014 and 2015, where he also worked as a curator between 2004 and 2013. Independently, he has curated critically acclaimed exhibitions such as Time Kills: Moving Image from the Julia Stoscheck Collection (Sesc Paulista, 2019), Visiones de la tierra / El Mundo Planeado: Coleccion Luis Paulo Montenegro (Santander Art Room, Madrid, 2018), Mauro Restiffe: Album (Pinacoteca de São Paulo, 2017), DOUBLES, DOBROS, PLIEGUES, PARES, TWINS, MITADES (The Warehouse, Dallas, 2017), artevida (several venues, Rio de Janeiro, 2014) and LINES (Hauser & Wirth Zurich, 2014), among several others.
Susanna V. Temkin is a Curator at El Museo del Barrio, where she most recently organized the museum’s fiftieth anniversary exhibition, Culture and the People: El Museo del Barrio, 1969-2019, drawing from objects from the Permanent Collection. Prior to this, she served as Assistant Curator at Americas Society in New York, as well as the research and archive specialist at the Cecilia de Torres, Ltd., where she assisted in co-authoring the digital catalogue raisonné of artist Joaquín Torres-García. Temkin earned her master’s and PhD degrees from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, where her research concentrated on modern art in the Americas, with a focus on Cuba. She has published essays and reviews in the Rutgers Art Review, Burlington Magazine, and Hemispheres, and authored the chronology of Concrete Cuba: Cuba Geometric Abstraction from the 1950s, produced by David Zwirner Books.
ESTAMOS BIEN – LA TRIENAL 20/21 was made possible by The Jacques & Natasha Gelman Foundation. Leadership support is provided by The Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Commissioned works are made possible by Tony Bechara. Major funding is provided by Morgan Stanley and The Lenore G. Tawney Foundation. Generous funding is provided by The Cowles Charitable Trust and La Trienal Council: Craig Robins and Jackie Soffer, Estrellita and Daniel Brodsky and The Jorge M. Pérez Family Foundation at The Miami Foundation. Additional support is provided by the El Museo Fund.