Museum Starter Kit: Open With Care

“Most museums are born of private collections. El Museo was born of necessity” said Jorge Daniel Veneciano, recently appointed Executive Director of El Museo del Barrio. “Lacking mainstream cultural representation, the Puerto Rican community in New York had to invent its own museum.”

El Museo del Barrio, now celebrating its 45th anniversary, reimagines its beginnings with Museum Starter Kit: Open With Care, an exhibition that explores the unusual founding of El Museo and solicits community participation to invent new museums—creating unorthodox museums of the moment. The exhibition is designed to grow and change over time.

The inventor of El Museo, its founder in 1969, was Raphael Montañez Ortiz (b. 1934, Brooklyn, New York), a pivotal artist in the 1960s Destruction in Art movement.Museum Starter Kit: Open With Care draws inspiration from Montañez Ortiz in revisiting the idea of a museum, its invention, and reinvention today—especially as El Museo del Barrio embarks on a new chapter in its history.

The exhibition underscores the museum’s historic capacity for and reliance on openness, generosity, and care in serving and being served by diverse communities. It also understands the ironic “destruction” of old rules to create new institutions—an understanding of conditions in the 1960s as well as a symbol of the museum’s current renaissance.

  • Open:
    Thursday, 13 March 2014
  • Close:
    Saturday, 06 September 2014
  • Address:
    El Museo del Bario, 1230 Fifth Avenue (at 104th Street), Upper East Side, Manhattan
  • Mail:
  • Phone:
    (212) 831-7272
  • Web:
    El Museo del Barrio
  • Opening hour:
    Wed – Sat | 11am – 6pm
  • Admission:
    Adults $9, Students and Seniors $5, Free for Members and children under 12, Free for Seniors on Wednesdays, Free every third Saturday of the month.
  • Photo credits:
    1. Beverly Acha: Untitled, 2010, Courtesy of the artist; 2. BroLab: Stack & Rack, 2012, Courtesy of Freight + Volume; 3. Perla de León: No Sidewalks Here, 1979, Courtesy of the artist; 4. Tamara Kostianovsky, One and a Half, 2009, Courtesy El Museo del Barrio, Gift of the artist.

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