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.
This essay, written by curator Deborah Cullen, offers an account of how El Museo del Barrio was founded out of the drive to establish a creative nexus for Puerto Rican artists who exist between the mainland United States and the Caribbean island. Cullen, however, recognizes that in many instances Puerto Rican artists born either on the Island or in the continental USA have been simplistically defined by either their “here-ness” (New York), or their “there-ness” (San Juan). Concerned for a moment with a group of six artists from the Island, in this exhibition, Cullen proposes to contextualize the works of Nayda Collazo-Llorens, Charles Juhász-Alvarado, Freddie Mercado, Ana Rosa Rivera Marrero, Carlos Rivera Villafañe, and Aaron Salabarrías Valle, instead of reading their work as a result of their identity politics or geographic location. In order to achieve it in this essay, Cullen sets out to place them within the framework of key critical discourse and manifestations taking shape in the decade of the 1990s. Nevertheless, Cullen admits to working from a dearth of information regarding contemporary Puerto Rican art, a lack that is due to the liminal role that the Island paradoxically plays—as not being completely part of the United States, nor fully considered part of Latin America and the Caribbean.
This essay was published in the catalogue for the exhibition Here & There/Aquí y Allá, organized by El Museo del Barrio that ran from February 8 to May 20, 2001.The group exhibition brought together a new generation of Puerto Rican artists, specifically rooted in Old San Juan, trying to set post-identitarian directions within the international art scene. Perhaps more than the individual artists themselves, the curatorial aim behind the group show was to establish a postmodern attitude against the use of geographic parameters as artistic categories. This document is the English version of doc. No. 842515.