The editorial categories are research topics that have guided researchers during the recovery phase and continue to be the impetus behind the Documents Project’s digital archive and the Critical Documents book series. Developed by the project’s Editorial Board, each of the teams analyzed this framework and adapted it to their local contexts in developing their research objectives and work plans during the Recovery Phase. Learn more on the Editorial Framework page.
In this essay, Puerto Rican-born artist, Diogenes Ballester, gives a brief overview of Puerto Rican art and artists working in El Barrio (East Harlem, New York City) from the 1940s to 2000 and categorizes the art produced into three themes: 1) sociopolitical; 2) cultural reclamation; and 3) search for identity. Maintaining that artists have been vital to the development of East Harlem, Ballester observes that artists are struggling alongside the Puerto Rican working class against gentrification in their neighborhood.
Diogenes Ballester (b. 1956), an artist and scholar, has written several essays on the history of Puerto Rican artists in New York. This essay appeared in Homenaje Alma Boricua XXX Aniversario (Boricua Soul Tribute 30th Anniversary), an exhibition catalog commemorating the thirtieth anniversary of Taller Boricua [Puerto Rican Workshop, initially called Taller Alma Boricua], the oldest extant Puerto Rican artist collective in New York City. Ballester also published an annotated chronology of the Taller in 1990 (see Taller Alma Boricua, New York: El Museo del Barrio, 1990). Additional topics about which Ballester has written include printmaking and digital art. This excerpted essay was originally presented s a paper at The Conference of International Art Critics Association, Southern Caribbean Symposium, 2001. For a full version, of this document please see http://prdream.com/galeria/index.html.