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.
Puerto Rican art historian and curator Petra Barreras describes Rafael Montañez Ortiz’s work as startling and demanding of responses from viewers. She calls Ortiz “a shaman” who has continually looked for ways to heal society through art. Barreras reminds readers that Ortiz’s work went beyond the creation of objects; as founder of El Museo del Barrio he created a new type of museum that he hoped would validate his ethnic heritage. Accordingly, Barreras writes that it is especially meaningful that El Museo del Barrio organized the first major retrospective of the work of Rafael Montañez Ortiz. She credits several artists in New York City with helping to organize the event, including Papo Colo and Rafael Colón Morales.
In conjunction with participating in international avant-garde circles, Rafael Montañez Ortiz, was active in anti-war and civil rights struggles; particularly with regard to ending race, class, and gender discrimination in the New York art milieu. Faithful to his convictions, Rafael Montañez Ortiz founded El Museo del Barrio in 1969. Initially established to serve as a Puerto Rican museum in New York City, El Museo del Barrio’s mission was revised in the 1990s to present and preserve the art and culture of Puerto Ricans and all Latin Americans within the United States.