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El Puerto Rican Embassy was originally conceived by Pedro Pietri and Eduardo Figueroa (founder of New Rican Village), to approach the complex identity issues of their experimental village. In 1994, after Figueroa’s death, Adal Maldonado joined the project and added his conceptual art sensibility to it. The group was created to represent "a new generation of experimental Puerto Rican artists working on the margins of established art movements" (Maldonado,1993) who sought to question and challenge contemporary political issues and cultural aesthetics. The Embassy's inaugural was appropriately organized as a multi-media exhibition at the Kenkeleba Gallery on East Second Street on Manhattan's Lower East Side (Loisaida). The exhibition included art work by such well known figures as Papo Colo, Marcos Dimas, Pepón Osorio, Antonio Martorell and Nitza Tufiño, poetry by Sandra María Estéves, Tato Laviera and Jesús Papoleto Meléndez and music by Louis Bauzo & Carambú and the Juan Ma Trio. Among the individuals honored and given the title of Ambassadors to the Embassy were Miguel Algarín (Poetry), Miriam Colón (Theatre), Willie Colón (Music), Raúl Julia (Film) and Piri Thomas (Letters). Created especially for the occasion was a passport from the Embassy and "El Spirit Republic de Puerto Rico," granting Puerto Rican citizenship to the island's many diasporic subjects. El Puerto Rican Embassy went on to conceive and sponsor many other exhibitions and projects, such as Maldonado's photography series "Out of Focus Nuyoricans," all seeking to re-inscribe the Puerto Rican presence back into national cultural and political narratives and to engender a critical dialogue about the state of Puerto Rico and its people under U.S. governance. El Puerto Rican Embassy continued to be an active site of collaboration for Pietri until the end of his life and provided him with yet another vehicle for the dissemination and development of his unique, critical and humor-filled style of performance and poetic production. (Pedro Pietri Collection CentroPR)

Exit Art was established in 1982 by co-founders Papo Colo and Jeanette Ingbergman in a loft in Canal street. They would later be housed at 548 Broadway, near Prince Street until 2003 when it relocated to 475 10th Avenue, at 36th Street in Hell’s Kitchen area. The two had a very simple mission and that was to present art in all forms that represent a counter culture. One that challenged concepts of race, gender, sexuality as well as raise questions about political and ethnic equality. In turn as the art world changed from the grass roots concept of the gallery in 1982 it had to change along with it, changing its location twice. While the location changed several times the mission statement has stayed the same. The organization continues to be dedicated to the underground art work from which it came showcasing artists who are not mainstream. Exit Art was founded in response to the alternative space movement where artists looked for unconventional space to present and perform their works, as opposed to the conventional “white box” galleries that came before. The space is now an internationally known space where many artists create exhibits that are specifically commissioned exit art provides at its new two floor space in Hell’s Kitchen, New York. Many artists have showed their collections at Exit Art including influential Puerto Rican artist Juan Sanchez who debuted his exhibition Rican-Structed Convictions, which was a collection of collages and photocopied images that outlined the plight of the Puerto Rican Identity in mainstream culture as well as displaying his concerned regarding Puerto Rican Independence.

http://exitart.org/about/mission.html
Ault, Julie. (2002). Alternative art new york. Minneaoplois, MD: University of Minnesota Press.
http://www.moma.org/learn/resources/latino_survey/exit_art

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