THE BRONX MUSEUM OF THE ARTS
The Bronx Museum of the Arts
1040 Grand Concourse
Bronx, NY 10456
Tel. (718) 681-6000 ext. 135
Fax. (718) 681-6181
Erin Riley-Lopez, Assistant Curator
Hours open to the public
Public hours: Monday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday 12:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m., Friday 12:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m., Closed Tuesday and Wednesday
Office hours: Monday–Friday, 10:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.
Archives are available by appointment only.
History of the Institution
The Bronx Museum of the Arts (BxMA) was founded in 1971 to serve the culturally diverse populations of the Bronx and the greater New York metropolitan area. The Museum functioned as a small exhibition space within the Bronx Courthouse until 1982, when it moved to its current location. The Bronx Museum of the Arts seeks to collect, conserve, interpret, and exhibit twentieth- and twenty-first-century works by artists of Latin American, Asian, and African descent and artists with strong ties to the Bronx.
Scope and Content
While the Museum has no formal archival collection policy, the content of the museum's records reflects its mission to collect works from the latter half of the twentieth century to the present by artists of Latin American, Asian, and African descent and artists with strong ties to the Bronx. Records pertaining to Latino artists are estimated to represent 1/8 of the total records of the museum.
The Museum's slide collection is organized into three sub-groups: collection slides, artist slides, and installation slides. Artist files are subdivided into files of artists in the permanent collection, and general artist files, which contain information on artists who have been part of the Artists in the Marketplace program (see Secondary Sources), artists who have exhibited at the BxMA, and artists being considered for future exhibitions. Slides and artist files are organized in alphabetical order and not divided by ethnic background.
Overall holdings of archives and research material: 120 linear feet
Overall holdings of archives and research material related to Latino art: Thirty-two linear feet
Inclusive dates of files: 1920–present
Bulk dates: 1970–present
Languages in which records are written:
English, Spanish, Portuguese (5%)
Holdings: Primary Sources
Archives of institution's history and operation related to Latino art:
Five linear feet
Newsletters and magazines published in-house:
Two linear feet
The BxMA published a museum newsletter from 1981 until 1991
Recorded interviews and performances:
These include performances by Pepón Osorio and Pepatián.
Slides and photographs:
This includes fifty slides and transparencies of collection objects created by Latino artists, 1,300 slides of exhibition installations including Latino artists, and 370 miscellaneous slides collected by curators or donated by Latino artists. These slides include works by Rimer Cardillo, Valeska Soares, Luis Jiménez, and Ester Hernández, among others. Slides cannot be checked out, but duplicates can be purchased for research purposes.
Art objects and artifacts available for research:
The BxMA has an outstanding collection of works on paper by Latin American and Latino artists, including Ana Mendieta, Roberto Juarez, and Juan Sánchez, as well as sub-collections of prints from Argentina and Puerto Rico and many prints and drawings by Chicano/a artists like Ester Hernández and Luis Jiménez. Researchers may be granted authorization by the curators to view these items closely.
Exhibition catalogues published in-house that include work by Latino artists:
Some important titles include The Latin American Spirit: Art and Artists in the United States 1920–1970, Luis Cancel, ed. (1988); Rimer Cardillo: Araucaria, Marysol Nieves, ed. (1998). Raquel Rabinovich: Invisible Cities (1986). Annual AIM (Artist in the Marketplace) catalogues from 1984 to the present include Latino artists.
Exhibition catalogues, books, and periodicals related to Latino art:
Eight linear feet
Books are for internal use and are located in curators' workspace. Some titles on Latino art include CARA: Chicano Art Resistance and Affirmation Richard Griswold del Castillo, Teresa McKenna, and Yvonne Yarbro-Bejarano eds. (1991), and Chicano Annotated Bibliography (1995) Shifra Goldman and Tomás Ybarra-Frausto eds. (1985).
Vertical file materials related to Latino art: artist files, brochures, pamphlets, clippings:
Fifteen linear feet
The vertical file materials are organized in alphabetical order. They are composed of artist files containing clippings, résumés, and slides of artists who have exhibited their work at the BxMA, including Liliana Porter, Juan Sánchez, and Ernesto Pujol. The artist files also contain material on every artist who has participated in the AIM (Artists in the Marketplace) program. Every year this program provides exhibition opportunities and artistic training for thirty-six emerging artists chosen by the Bronx Museum. The program has been ongoing for twenty-four years and has included many artists from New York's Latino community such as Miguel Luciano, Diógenes Ballester, and Sandra Bermúdez. Additionally, there are numerous artist files generated by the curatorial staff to serve their exhibition needs.
Following the mission of the BxMA, the artists files focus on artists of Latin American, Asian, and African descent, as well as artists with strong ties to the Bronx. Approximately 1/8 of the artist files are dedicated to Latino artists.
There is also a section of the vertical files dedicated to artists who have works in the permanent collection of the BxMA; Latino artists like Ana Mendieta, Pepón Osorio, and Ester Hernández are included. The BxMA has a permanent collection of 800 works of art; approximately 1/16 of this collection is devoted to works by artists of Latin American descent.
Artist files are generated as new exhibitions take place at the BxMA or as new works of art are added to the permanent collection.
There is a database for the collection, but not for the archives.
The museum currently lacks the infrastructure to facilitate scholarly use of its archives. The archives are spread throughout several rooms in the museum and access to them is only possible by appointment and with prior knowledge of the files to be researched. However, the BxMA plans to organize a small library for internal use as well as archives accessible to the general public.
The BxMA restricts access to selected records, some of which are confidential. Special permission from the curator is required to view the Museum's files. Some artists' files or collection files contain confidential information such as personal addresses or phone numbers.
The content of the museum's archive reflects the institution's mission to collect works from the latter half of the twentieth century to the present by artists of Latin American, Asian, and African descent and by artists with strong ties to the Bronx. The artist files are the strength of the BxMA's research materials. They are an excellent resource for information on many emerging Latino artists (especially those who participated in the AIM Program) as well as more established Latino and Latin American contemporary artists that have exhibited at the BxMA, including Josely Carvalho, Liliana Porter, and Pepón Osorio. Researchers may access videotaped walk-throughs of previous exhibitions.
The BxMA has a valuable slide collection of Latino and Latin American contemporary artists who are rarely represented in other slide collections around the city.
However, the BxMA'S files are fairly difficult to access because the museum does not have an area reserved for researchers, and materials can therefore only be viewed upon advanced request.
Relations to other Latino and Latin American organizations:
The multidisciplinary Latino art organization Pepatián, regularly presents projects at the BxMA. In 1986 The Bronx Museum produced an exhibition with the Puerto Rican photography collective En Foco. In its early years the BxMA also collaborated with El Taller Boricua.