Centro 40th Anniversary Art Exhibits

Spotlight Contributions of Nuyorican Artists

As the repository of one of the largest collections of artworks on paper reflecting the Puerto Rican experience in the United States, Centro is sponsoring two historic art exhibits. One show, in the Hunter College East Harlem Art Gallery, spotlights five accomplished New York-based Puerto Rican artists. A second show, in the lobby adjacent to the gallery – located in the Hunter College Silberman Building, 2180 Third Avenue at 119 St. in East Harlem -- is built from the Centro Archives’ extensive graphics collection.

The simultaneous exhibits, officially opening September 20 but available for viewing starting September 17, are part of Centro’s 40th anniversary activities. The public is also invited to attend the Conversations with the Artists session from 4:30 to 6 pm and a public reception from 6 to 8 pm on September 20.

“The exhibits offer a unique blend of two artistic and cultural heritages, Puerto Rican and U.S., reflecting the Puerto Rican stateside struggles for social justice and equal participation in the American story,” said Centro Director Edwin Meléndez. “They reflect the New York-centered school of Puerto Rican art referred to as Nuyorican, which reflects the New York-based Puerto Rican artists’ cultural duality, with ties to both the island and New York.

The gallery exhibit, entitled nu-YO-Rican, features the work of Diogenes Ballester, Marcos Dimas, Sofia Maldonado, Rodriguez Calero and Adrian “Viajero” Roman. Working in a variety of media, their art celebrates the endurance of the Puerto Rican identity, pride in the culture and heritage and the resolve of a people to make a difference in their communities.

Besides the exhibition, nu-YO-Rican includes the coordination and production of the Centro 40th Anniversary limited edition portfolio of works from the show, a catalog and a conversation with the Artists.

Sales of the portfolio will help fund Centro’s year-long anniversary festivities and help support the growth of Centro Library and Archives, which also will benefit from gifts of one piece of art donated by each artist.

The second exhibit, entitled Posters on the Wall: Our Nuyorican Story, curated by Miguel Trelles and Juan Fernando Morales, illustrates the rich and diverse work of Puerto Rican artists who are especially distinguished for their contributions to printmaking. The posters, which are from Centro’s substantial graphic art collection, represent Puerto Rican social, political and cultural interests from the tumultuous 1960s through the 1990s.

Centro’s graphics collection, which is held in the Centro Library and Archives, comprises original prints, mostly silkscreens, as well as offset posters, photographic reproductions and photocopied fliers.

The uniqueness of Centro’s works on paper collection rests on the abundant and high quality output of historic works by Puerto Rican artists in New York. Centro has rare examples of posters produced by artists involved in vanguard groups and collectives such as the Young Lords, the Puerto Rican Art Workers Coalition and Taller Boricua. This collection is especially strong in its holding of posters that commemorate historic figures, political rallies, and cultural events.

RSVP: centro.events@hunter.cuny.edu. For more information, (212) 772-5686.

 

 

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