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This Puerto Rican curator has just risen to the pinnacle of art. She says museums can learn from Bad Bunny


Marcela Guerrero is the first Latina named senior curator at the Whitney Museum in New York. In an interview, she tells why her goal of promoting more diverse art "is not a sprint: it's a marathon."

MEXICO CITY.- Marcela Guerrero is the first Latina named senior curator of one of the most prominent contemporary art museums, the Whitney in New York.

And among his wishes for the art world is that museums work even harder to be a place where Latinos and other groups can share their emotions collectively, almost like listening to one of the greatest artists in the world



"We have to give space to those feelings that are perhaps very strong... just like we feel when we hear a Bad Bunny song with a video like 'El Apagón'," Guerrero says in an interview.

"It's a way, a space, to process. Museums can perfectly offer that same platform

to both artists and the public


Puerto Rican-born Guerrero, with a Ph.D. in art history, started her new position last Friday after being promoted from associate curator to senior curator (she says it's the first time she's grown to a higher position without having to move to another cultural institution or move to another city).

Marcela GuerreroPhoto by Javier Romero.

Courtesy of Whitney Museum

He's started off on the gas: He's already

curating a new exhibit

for July by Colombian-American artist Ilana Savdie, and he has plans to reorganize how the museum's permanent collection is displayed (to which he's added works by Latino artists), something he says will take at least two years.

[Meet the Latinas Shaping the Art World of the Future]

Meanwhile, another exhibition proposed and organized by her, and with good reviews, is still open, which serves as a compendium of Puerto Rican art made during and after Hurricane María in 2017. The exhibition, which closes in April, is promoted as the first in the United States

. continental


of Puerto Rican artists since the middle of the last century.

It touches on issues such as corruption, resilience, and displacement due to tourism development.

"I'd rather take risks than do things that have already been seen, try to do things that maybe you don't see a lot" like a group themed exhibition, less common than shows dedicated to a single artist, he says.

"There's a reason to follow your gut, your heart, your passion, and to do it with honesty and integrity," she says of curating works so close to his Boricua experience.

Working to repair all these years of neglect [of Latino artists] is a bit overwhelming.

But it is not a short race: it is a marathon"

Marcela Guerrero on her work as a curator

Guerrero has also promoted since his arrival at the Whitney five years ago that

the materials on the works of art, the audio guides and the website

be translated into Spanish .

He believes that more museums and cultural institutions should make similar adjustments to artistically and linguistically serve all the populations of the places where they are.

"The museum is both the art and the artists, but also the public," he sums up.

She says that being able to promote more diverse works, whether by Latino, Latin American, Indigenous or other demographic artists, is what excites her the most…and the most challenging part of her new position.

"There are so many artists who have somehow been forgotten, who have not had the representation that they should have," he says.

"You have to do the repair work

All these years of oblivion

, and it's a bit overwhelming.

But it is not a short race: it is a marathon.

We are here for that without a doubt," he adds.

A joint progress...

Guerrero's rise is the latest of

several steps forward

for Latinos and Latinas in traditional US cultural institutions in recent years.

Dominican-American E. Carmen Ramos was named chief curator of the National Gallery of Art in 2021. Plans to create the National Museum of the American Latino are finally moving forward at the Smithsonian.

In mid-February the Advancing Latinx Art in Museums project was announced, with which the Ford, Getty, Terra and Mellon foundations will allocate

5 million dollars

so that various cultural institutions establish or make permanent 10 positions for curators specialized in Latino art.

The Mellon and Ford Foundations also already fund a special grant, the US Latinx Art Fellowship, which was established two years ago and plans to exist until at least 2025. Selected artists receive $50,000 each year with it.

Source: telemundo

All news articles on 2023-02-23

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