Nearly one-third of New Yorkers and about 18% of the overall US population identify as Hispanic or Latino, according to the US Census Bureau. It is fitting, then, that the largest art museum in the city and the nation would reflect this diverse and growing demographic in its holdings, exhibitions, and programming.
In response to “the underrepresentation of Latinx artists in the collection,” Met Civic Practice Partnership Artist in Residence Miguel Luciano designed his “El Met” t-shirt, now for sale at the museum’s store. All proceeds from sales of the limited-edition tee will support new acquisitions of Latinx art at the institution.
“‘El Met’ is how we say ‘the Met’ in Spanglish, and it’s how Latinx audiences throughout New York City and beyond colloquially describe the Museum as a destination,” Luciano said in a statement.
The Puerto Rico-born artist has dedicated much of his research during the three-year residency to exploring connections between the Met and the community of East Harlem, a relationship that hasn’t always been easy. Miguel focused particularly on the 1973 exhibition The Art Heritage of Puerto Rico: Pre-Columbian to Present, organized in collaboration with El Museo del Barrio and the most ambitious survey of Puerto Rican art in a US museum to date.
“I created this limited-edition ‘El Met’ T-shirt as a prompt for the Museum and its benefactors to invest more substantially in the art and culture of Latinx communities, and as a way to commemorate Latinx audiences visiting the Met,” added Luciano, who will show works created during his residency as part of a pop-up exhibition in East Harlem set to open next month.