press release

The Museum's First National Survey of Latinx Art

March 13–September 26, 2021

Virtual Opening: March 12, 6–7:30pm, featuring a talk with artists Joey Terrill, Carolina Caycedo, and Yelaine Rodriguez

El Museo del Barrio, the first and leading museum in the country dedicated to preserving and presenting Latino art and culture, is pleased to reveal exhibition highlights for ESTAMOS BIEN - LA TRIENAL 20/21, the Museum’s first large-scale national survey of Latinx art. Curated by El Museo del Barrio’s Chief Curator, Rodrigo Moura, Curator Susanna V. Temkin, and Guest Curator and Artist Elia Alba, the exhibition is on view to the public from March 13 to September 26. Following two years of research and studio visits by the curatorial team, ESTAMOS BIEN features the works of 42 Latinx artists and collectives from across the United States and Puerto Rico. Originally scheduled to coincide with the 2020 U.S. Census and the presidential election, La Trienal opens in El Museo’s galleries one year after the museum first closed due to the pandemic with works that reflect the current moment.

The exhibition centers on an intersectional approach to the concept of Latinx—the much-contested term that departs from binary understandings of U.S.-Latino identity through the adoption of the gender-neutral suffix X, distancing itself from rigid definitions to allow a nuanced, more inclusive understanding of identity. In ESTAMOS BIEN, Latinx serves as a meeting point rather than a singular definition, as the artists participating in the show represent diverse generations, genders, ethnic and racial backgrounds, foregrounding Indigeneity, African and non-European heritages; gender nonconformity; and other multiplicities.

The title ESTAMOS BIEN is adapted from a painting by Candida Alvarez, the only artist in the show with a previous history with El Museo, dating to the 1970s. By pluralizing the phrase, the title echoes the anthemic song by Bad Bunny and is simultaneously a declaration of defiant resilience and a provocation, conflating a sarcastic and a positive tone. While the words connect with a post-Hurricane Maria framework, they also hold broader applications, particularly within the context of the contemporary moment, with the rise of proto-totalitarian regimes in democracies in the Americas and beyond; the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement which has exposed systemic racism in society and its cultural institutions; and the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to BIPOC populations worldwide.

Exhibition highlights: Pop Art and identity politics spark the work of Lucia Hierro, who utilizes digital media, painting, installation art, sculpture and color theory as tools to tackle ideas of class, exclusion and privilege. Borrowing and extracting from the mainstream art historical canon to create objects that reflect on the urban experience and vernacular commodities she encountered growing up in New York City, her sculptures and installations play with scale, proportion, and humor to both elevate and question our familiarity with commodity culture and its colonialist ties. Also using the format of the still life, for nearly four decades artist Joey Terrill has stood at the forefront of queer Chicano art, pushing the boundaries of form and cultural representation by exploring the confluences of race and sexuality. Since testing HIV-positive in 1989 Terrill’s artistic production has been intimately connected to his identity as both a Chicano HIV-positive gay man and a health educator. He is known for his series of Pop art inspired and rasquache infused still-life paintings in which antiretroviral drugs and consumer products are contrasted in a critique of the pharmaceutical industry that profits from the disease.

In response to El Museo del Barrio’s closure due to the pandemic, ESTAMOS BIEN – LA TRIENAL 20/21 debuted last Summer 2020 with a series of online commissioned projects, turning La Trienal into a year-long initiative. A highlight includes Collective Magpie’s online archive, “Who Designs Your Race?”—an interactive project borrowing from the language of official surveys such as the United States and Mexican censuses, asking questions such as how and when participants feel race as part of one of its five sections, the platform converts such supposedly objective tools into a subjective, poetic exploration for how to think and speak about race. The galleries will be transformed by architecture-scale infographics created as a result of the survey. Additional commissioned artists include Lizania Cruz, Michael Menchaca, Poncili Creación, and xime izquierdo ugaz. To view the online commissions, vist here.

The full list of selected artists for ESTAMOS BIEN - LA TRIENAL 20/21:
Francis Almendárez; Candida Alvarez; Eddie R. Aparicio; Fontaine Capel; Carolina Caycedo; Juan William Chávez; Yanira Collado; Collective Magpie; Lizania Cruz; Amaryllis DeJesus Moleski; Dominique Duroseau; Justin Favela; Luis Flores; ektor Garcia; María Gaspar; Victoria Gitman; José Antonio Gómez; Manuela González; Lucia Hierro; xime izquierdo ugaz; Esteban Jefferson; Roberto Lugo; Maria José; Carlos Martiel; Patrick Martinez; Yvette Mayorga; Groana Melendez; Michael Menchaca; The Museum of Pocket Art; Dionis Ortiz; Poncili Creación; Simonette Quamina; Vick Quezada; Sandy Rodriguez; Yelaine Rodriguez; Nyugen E. Smith; Edra Soto; Joey Terrill; Torn Apart/Separados; Ada Trillo; Vincent Valdez; and Raelis Vasquez.

ESTAMOS BIEN – LA TRIENAL 20/21 is accompanied by an illustrated catalogue which includes essays by the curators, conversation between some of the artists conducted by artist Elia Alba as part of her Supper Club series, and individual short interviews with the participants. In the back pages, the reader brings together poems and excerpts of essays by notable thought leaders Lourdes Alberto, Roger Bonair-Agard, Ariana Brown, Karla Cornejo Villavicencio, Deborah Cullen and Carolina Ponce de León, Esteban Jefferson, Ed Morales, Alan Pelaez Lopez, Dixa Ramírez d’Oleo, Rose Salseda and Adriana Zavala. Edited by Elia Alba, Rodrigo Moura and Susanna V. Temkin. Designed by Elaine Ramos. 336 pages. English and Spanish. Published by El Museo del Barrio, New York. To pre-order, email

ESTAMOS BIEN – LA TRIENAL 20/21 is made possible by The Jacques & Natasha Gelman Foundation. Leadership support is provided by The Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Commissioned works are made possible by Tony Bechara. Major funding is provided by Morgan Stanley and The Lenore G. Tawney Foundation. Generous funding is provided by The Cowles Charitable Trust and La Trienal Council: Craig Robins and Jackie Soffer, and The Jorge M. Pérez Family Foundation at The Miami Foundation. Additional support is provided by The El Museo Fund.