Something Beautiful: Reframing La Colección On Views El Museo In East Harlem

July 12, 2023

In the vibrant year of 1971, El Museo del Barrio witnessed a seminal moment as it welcomed its first significant art donation.

The exquisite collection known as La estampa puertorriqueña. This carefully curated ensemble of prints, hailing from the San Juan-based Centro de Arte Puertorriqueño (CAP), emerged with a profound purpose: to breathe new life into Puerto Rican art by exploring socially relevant themes.

At its core, La estampa puertorriqueña leveraged the power of printmaking to disseminate its message and extend political and artistic access to a broader audience. Each carefully crafted print served as a testament to the collective’s unwavering commitment to invigorating Puerto Rican creativity and engaging the masses.

Among the collection’s mesmerizing pieces, one work stood out, capturing the essence of Puerto Rico’s spirit with poetic precision. José R. Alicea’s masterpiece, “Río Grande de Loíza. Río Grande,” captured the essence of Julia de Burgos‘ evocative poem of the same name. Originally penned in 1943 for the esteemed Spanish-speaking newspaper, Pueblos Hispanos, the poem delved into the depths of sorrow and introspection experienced by the revered poet in her unwavering support for Puerto Rican independence.

Alicea’s linocut print, presented alongside Burgos’ stirring verses, skillfully echoed the emotional journey portrayed in her words. It became a visual testament to the profound impact of supporting Puerto Rican independence and a poignant reflection on the artist’s own sentiment.

Decades later, El Museo del Barrio continues to honor the legacy of La estampa puertorriqueña, preserving its vibrant spirit for generations to come. This landmark collection not only symbolizes the artistic prowess of Puerto Rico but also serves as a reminder of the transformative power that art holds in shaping society’s conscience.

Get more about the details of this fabulous show here.

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*Until further notice, the ONLY sections that will be open to the public are Ocama Aracoel, Cosmic Visions, First Impressions, and Room 110. Admission is Free.

El Museo del Barrio, 1230 5th Avenue at 104th Street, New York, NY 10029, 212-831-7272,

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