Organization of Puerto Rican Artists (O.P. Art)
258 West Fifteenth Street, #4RE
New York, NY 10011
Tel. (212) 989-3633
Luis Carle, Director
Hours open to the public
By appointment only
History of the Institution
The Organization of Puerto Rican Artists (O.P. Art) was founded in 1993 by a group of New York–based Puerto Rican artists who felt the need for an organization dedicated to exposing the largely under-recognized talent and contributions of Puerto Rican artists. The group decided to unite its individual creative talents to function as a grassroots artist collective promoting emerging and established Puerto Rican artists internationally.
Today this nonproffit organization has grown to fifty active members and collaborates with over one hundred artists other artists in the realization of exhibitions. O.P. Art's principal objective has been to promote their collective work through group exhibits of visual art that capture the complexity of the Puerto Rican experience. Since its inception O.P. Art has organized four major exhibits of Puerto Rican art of all media at Peter Madero Gallery, and the Clemente Soto Velez Cultural and Educational Center in New York, and at the Ateneo Puertorriqueño and the Museo de las Américas in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Since July 2004, O.P. Art has been curating monthly exhibitions at the restaurant La Taza de Oro restaurant in Chelsea.
Scope and Content
The records at O.P. Art pertain mostly to the collective's exhibitions and activities promoting contemporary Puerto Rican art. They include exhibition and press files, grant files, photographs of the collective's work, and catalogues of their exhibitions. The archive also holds the personal papers and photographic work of O.P. Art's director Luis Carle.
Overall holdings of archives and research material:
18.5 linear feet
Overall holdings of archives and research material related to Latino art:
18.5 linear feet
Inclusive dates of files: 1980–present
Bulk dates: 1993–present
Languages in which records are written:
English (50%), Spanish (50%)
Holdings: Primary Sources
Personal papers of artists, critics or art historians associated with Latino art:
Ten linear feet
The personal papers of Luis Carle, founder and director of O.P. Art, are also housed at the same place as the organization's records. Carle's personal papers include some twenty diaries and agendas that go back to the late 1980s. These contain information on his trips, exhibitions, and art-related meetings. Carle's papers also contain documentation and clipped reviews of exhibitions held throughout his career.
Archives of institution's history and operation related to Latino art:
5.5 linear feet
These comprise most of the archival holdings of O.P. Art. Some examples of records that can be found include the minutes of monthly meetings organized by O.P. Art between 1993 and 1995, correspondence with institutions such as the Bronx Council on the Arts, the Association of Hispanic Arts, and the Smithsonian Institution; grant and fundraising files; and exhibition files of the shows they have organized. Among the latter, there are some electronic files for the exhibitions organized since 2004 by O.P. Art at La Taza de Oro. All of the exhibition files contain clippings of their reviews.
Recorded interviews and performances:
VHS and DVD Formats
O.P. Art has several recorded interviews related to their exhibitions. These include Nuevas Caras del Arte Puertorriqueño, produced by Erik Jackson, New York (1994); Expresion—Es exhibit interview by Carmen Dominicci, Puerto Rico (July 1995); In Art We Trust exhibition and interviews for Hispanic Information & Telecommunications Network, Inc., New York (2003); and news program for the Hispanic Gay community, Fruta Extraña TV, Public Access, New York (2003).
The archive also holds recorded performances by Julio Peña and José Luis Cortés, both members of O.P. Art.
Slides and photographs:
Over 1,000 items
The slides at this archive document the work of the artists in the collective. Some photographs document the making of a mural by the members of O.P. Art in Ocean Park, Puerto Rico. These images will eventually be available on the collective's website. Also housed in the same archive is Luis Carle's photographic work since the nineties, which spans the genres of fashion, celebrity, events, historical, and landscape photography. Some of Carle's photographs are related to the AIDS awareness movement and document the Gay Pride Parade in Washington D.C.
Some of the photographic documentation of the collective's artwork is in digital formats, particularly JPEG, PSD, and TIF. The archive also contains digital and digitized photographs by Luis Carle, many of which are accessible on his website at www.luiscarle.com.
Art objects and artifacts available for research:
The archive also has works made by several artists of the collective. These still belong to the artists themselves, and are only stored at O.P. Art's archive.
Exhibition catalogues published in-house that include work by Latino artists:
O.P. Art has published catalogues for all the exhibitions as a collective. Their titles are Nuevas caras del arte puertorriqueño (1994); EX PRESION ES… Un Grito Visual (1995); POP @ O.P.ART (2000); In Art We Trust/A Decade of Achievements (2005).
Films by or about Latinos:
Formats VHS and DVD
The archive holds a copy of a thirty-minute documentary produced by José Estrada for O.P. Art on Antonio Martorell's installation El Sementerio (1993), which addresses the AIDS epidemic in the gay population.
The archive also holds a copy of Uncanned Films by Carlos A. Valentin, and a copy of an eighteen-minute documentary produced and directed by Luis Carle on the production and selling of fake Santos de Palo (wooden saints).
In addition, O.P. Art's archive holds a copy of the trailer and performance The Traveler by Papo Colo (1999).
Vertical file materials related to Latino art: artist files, brochures, pamphlets, clippings:
Three linear feet
O.P. Art also holds newsletters, postcards, and brochures printed by Visual AIDS, an organization with which several members of O.P. Art have collaborated.
There are no finding aids to the archive.
The archive is located in Luis Carle's residence, and is thus only accessible by appointment.
The archive is accessible by appointment only.
The archives of O.P. Art are an important resource documenting the exhibitions and activities of this artist collective whose aim is to promote Puerto Rican contemporary art internationally. The archive also documents the relations of many of the members of the collective to the AIDS awareness movement. Finally, the archive also documents the work of Luis Carle, the collective's founder.
Relations to other Latino and Latin American organizations:
O.P. Art has worked in collaboration with several Latino and Latin American cultural institutions for the organization of their exhibitions. These include the Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural Center in New York City, and the Ateneo de Arte Puertorriqueño, the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña, and the Museo de Arte de las Américas in Puerto Rico. The collective's archives have also been accounted for by the Smithsonian Institution's Puerto Rican Documentation Project conducted in 1997–1998.
Several artists of O.P. Art including Carlos Aponte, Luis Carle, Jose Luis Cortés and Alfonso Muñoz have been showcased as part of the S-Files Biennial at El Museo del Barrio.