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The Whitney Museum in New York Names Boricua Marcela Guerrero as Its First Latina Curator

The Whitney Museum in New York Names Boricua Marcela Guerrero as Its First Latina Curator
Credit: Carlossuarezgonzalez, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons (right), Screenshot from YouTube, BRICbrooklyn (left)

Marcela Guerrero is a testament to the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York’s commitment to Latino/e art.  

Guerrero has recently been promoted to senior curator. This makes her the first Latina to fill this position in the museum’s history.   

The Puerto Rican curator started her new role over the weekend and many are excited to see her continue to push Latino/e art forward. 

Marcela Guerrero continues to make strides in the art world  

Prior to her current position, she was an assistant curator at the Whitney. She was also part of the Curatorial Fellow at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles where she worked on the highly-regarded exhibition, “Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960-1985.” She also organized “Pacha, Llaqta, Wasichay: Indigenous Space, Modern Architecture,” featuring emerging Latino/e artists. 

However, one of the most notable exhibitions she’s organized at the Whitney is the “no existe un mundo poshuracán: Puerto Rican Art in the Wake of Hurricane Maria.” Hailed as the first survey of Puerto Rican art at a major U.S. art museum in 50 years, it explores how artists have responded to the transformative years since the catastrophic natural disaster.  

As described on the Whitney’s website, this exhibition is defined by a larger context in which the aftermath of the storm was further exacerbated by the chain of events that preceded and followed this (un)natural disaster. Those events include the “austerity measures implemented by the PROMESA law (also known as La Junta); the deaths of 4,645 Puerto Ricans as a consequence of the Hurricane; the protests during the Verano del 19 (Summer of 2019) that led to the ouster of governor Ricardo Rosselló; the string of earthquakes; the COVID-19 pandemic; and much more.” 

As reported by the New York Times, Guerrero is the first curator to specialize in work by artists from Latin American and Caribbean regions such as Mexico, Cuba, and Puerto Rico.  

Guerrero has also shined a light on other Latino/e artists such as Laura Aguilar, Patrick Martinez, and Freddy Rodríguez, to name a few. One of her goals is to also translate wall text and catalogs into Spanish because she understands that there is no need for language to create barriers.  

The Latina curator is also hyperaware of how she’s navigated the art world, which, in the United States is predominantly a white space. 

“It means asking all the departments in an institution to do things they haven’t done before, understanding what marketing to a Latinx audience means, not just doing Latinx shows,” she told the New York Times in a recent interview. “People in the Bronx also want to know about Edward Hopper or Andy Warhol.” 

We wish Marcela Guerrero mucho éxito! 

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