Press Release

Multi-site Initiative Surveys The Young Lords Organization

Event Date: 
2 July 2015 to 18 October 2015
Bronx, NY

Initiative to Explore Artistic and Cultural Impact of the Radical Social Activist Group

The Bronx Museum of the Arts is organizing a multi-venue artistic and cultural survey of The Young Lords Organization—a radical social activist group founded by Puerto Rican youth in the 1960s that demanded reform in health care, education, housing, employment, and policing. Exhibitions of art and archival materials at three cultural institutions in New York City will explore how the Young Lords’ activities, community-focused initiatives, and their affirmation of Puerto Rican identity inspired artists from the 1960s to the present day, and had a major impact on the City and the social history of the United States.

¡Presente! The Young Lords in New York will be exhibited at The Bronx Museum of the Arts (July 2 – October 18, 2015), El Museo del Barrio (July 22-October 17, 2015), and Loisaida Inc. (July 30–October 10, 2015). The initiative will include public and educational programs across partnering venues to build awareness of the Young Lords’ innovative contributions to the struggle for civil rights and influence on contemporary artists, and to spark conversations about grassroots community activism today. The institutions partnering in ¡Presente! The Young Lords in New York are all located in neighborhoods where the Young Lords were most active, and each exhibition reflects on the Young Lords’ activities in that part of the City.

“The Young Lords had a defining influence on social activism, art, and identity politics, but the lasting significance of their achievements has rarely been examined,” said The Bronx Museum’s Executive Director Holly Block. “In ¡Presente! The Young Lords in New York, The Bronx Museum is partnering with El Museo del Barrio and Loisaida Inc. to explore the Young Lord’s cultural impact in New York and the country at large. The issues the Young Lords struggled with are still timely, and their aesthetic and cultural vision still inspires both artists and community leaders today. We’re pleased to work with our partner institutions to bring this story to the public.”

The Bronx Museum of the Arts

¡Presente! The Young Lords in New York at The Bronx Museum is organized by guest curator, scholar and professor Johanna Fernández and adjunct curator Yasmin Ramírez. The exhibition will feature more than 50 works, including paintings, installations, photographs, films, and rare archival materials that highlight the presence of women in the Young Lords, the struggle for equal representation of Latinos in the media, and community actions in the South Bronx—from the takeover of Lincoln Hospital in The Bronx and the implementation of a holistic drug detox program, to the publication of a bilingual newspaper Pa’lante.

Highlights of the exhibition at The Bronx Museum include:

  • An artistic reconstruction of the Bronx office of the Young Lords by curator Johanna Fernandez and The Bronx Museum curator of education Hatuey Ramos-Fermín.
  • An overview of the Young Lords influence on artistic activism and production in New York featuring works in The Bronx Museum of the Arts permanent collection curated by Yasmin Ramírez.
  • An installation dedicated to the women in the Young Lords organized in collaboration with artist Sophia Dawson and members of Young Lords Women’s Caucus.
  • A rotating screening room with rarely-seen films featuring the Young Lords and their contemporaries.
  • Free reproductions of the one-year anniversary issue of Pa’lante for visitors to take.

Programs at The Bronx Museum will include film screenings, workshops and panel discussions featuring members of the Young Lords Organization and contemporary artists

El Museo del Barrio

The exhibition at El Museo del Barrio will display work related to the Young Lords’ work in East Harlem—including the organization’s series of theatrical garbage-dumping protests and their peaceful occupation of the First People’s Church.

Loisiada Inc.

Loisiada Inc. will focus on the Young Lords’ founding in the Lower East Side—displaying rarely seen photographs and reportage of the announcement of founding of the Young Lords Party in Tomkins Square Park on June 26, 1969, and paraphernalia from the Young Lords Lower East Side offices. The exhibition will examine the impact of the Young Lords Gay and Lesbian Caucus. It will also focus on the cultural activism of Young Lord Eddie Figueroa, founder of The New Rican Village, an influential multi-disciplinary art space on Avenue A that later became home to the legendary gay performance space The Pyramid Club.

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Maximo Colon

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