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Fifth Edition of El Museo's Bienal: The (S) Files
Jessica Lagunas, The Better to Kiss You With ( Para besarte mejor), 2003. Single-channel video. 57:48 min.

NEW YORK.-El Museo del Barrio, New York’s premier Latino and Latin American cultural institution, present its fifth edition of El Museo’s Bienal: The (S) Files from July 25, 2007 through January 6, 2008. El Museo’s Bienal celebrates the experimental, immediate pulse of contemporary art, and supports the work of emerging Latino / Latin American artists based in the New York metropolitan area. The exhibition has been curated by Elvis Fuentes, Associate Curator, El Museo del Barrio, and E. Carmen Ramos, Assistant Curator for Cultural Engagement, The Newark Museum, NJ. In addition, guest curator Rodolfo Kronfle Chambers (independent curator, Guayaquil, Ecuador), has included in the exhibition a selection of works by five artists from Ecuador, this year’s invited guest country.

“The (S) Files” are literally “the selected files”, as many of the works on display have been chosen from the unsolicited submissions to El Museo’s Artists’ Archive over the past two years. This selection is the most expansive to date, with 51 artists showcasing work in traditional mediums such as drawing, painting and photography, as well as more experimental projects incorporating light, sound, and interactive elements, mobile sculptures and site-specific installations.

“The vitality of our bienal is a testament to the artistic contributions Latinos are instilling within New York City,” said Julián Zugazagoitia, Director of El Museo del Barrio. “The dynamism continues to increase as we celebrate the fifth edition of El Museo’s Bienal, reflecting the importance of New York, especially among Latino and Latin American artists, as a capital of culture and of the arts.”

Even among the diversity within the works presented in El Museo’s Bienal: The (S) Files 007, the curators recognize several recurrent themes that have emerged organically within the exhibition. Some of the artists reference the hyper-reality of contemporary culture of violence and war, often in relation to social perceptions of masculinity. Others explore the public dimension of art and examine issues of labor, immigration, language and identity, frequently documenting the artist’s experience or citing art historical traditions. Resounding another global concern, many of the artists approach the environment and the natural world through landscapes real or imaginary, most especially evident in the selection of work from the five artists from Ecuador.

A 131-page bilingual English-Spanish catalogue will be available upon the inauguration of the bienal on July 24. The exhibition will be accompanied by a range of free public programs including a three-part series of conversations between the curators and artists participating in the show and a panel discussion on November 28 with gallerists and Latino artists to offer insights into the art market.

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