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  • ICAA Record ID
    Aponte-Parés, Luis
    Outside/Inside : art and everyday life in a Latino Barrio / Luis Aponte-Parés
    Badge of Honor / Insignia de Honor. -- Newark, N.J. : Newark Museum, 1996
    p. 9, 12
    English; Spanish
    Book/pamphlet article – Essays
    Aponte Parés, Luis. "Outside/Inside : art and everyday life in a Latino Barrio." In Badge of Honor / Insignia de Honor, 9–10. Newark, N.J.: Newark Museum, 1996.

Architect and urban planner, Luis Aponte-Pares, discusses the trends of cities across the nation that have become contested terrains due to the transformation of the urban landscape: from suburbanization to the class and ethnic segregation of residential districts. In the 1990s, it was evident that the urban design strategies used to revitalize cities had rendered the urban fabric into discontinuous fragments where exclusion of the poor created “protected enclaves.” Aponte-Pares argues that this led to the privatization and subsequent loss of public space, which is what artist Pepon Osorio’s installations attempt to recapture. By locating Badge of Honor (1995) in an ordinary storefront—outside the traditional art-world sphere—the installation enabled those whose recent history had been annihilated to become conscious and introspective about their reality, and the power within themselves to transform their everyday experiences. By combining the storefront with the installation, Osorio reversed the role of urban spaces; usually reserved for low-income people, the storefront now became a veritable art space.


Pepon Osorio (b. 1955) grew up in Santurce, Puerto Rico; and later moved to New York City in the wake of Minimalism and Conceptualism, two movements defined by their “less is more” sensibility. After receiving an undergraduate degree in sociology from Lehman College in the Bronx, and a master’s degree in art education from Teacher’s College, Columbia University, he began to work primarily with Latino communities as a social worker for the Child Abuse Prevention Unit of the Human Resources Administration in New York. This experience as a social worker would lay the foundation for his later artistic collaborations with Puerto Rican/Latino communities. Today, Osorio is one of the most significant artists in the United States; a master of installation art, his work is known for baroque and polemically charged environments. The artist’s use of mass-produced objects, coupled with his socio-anthropological savvy—gained in part from his having been a social worker in the South Bronx—offers the spectator the potential for multiple readings of his work. In the end, his work speaks to the Latino community, as well as to society in general. Numbering among the most important of the many awards Osorio has received, are the CalArts Award in the Arts, and the prestigious John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship.

Libertad Guerra
Courtesy of the Newark Museum, Newark, NJ