Honoris Causa 

2006. Whitney Biennial: Day for Night, Whitney Museum, New York, USA.

 


This installation draws from two street peddlers right outside the doors of the Whitney Museum of American Art every day: a family-run hot dog stand and a merchant selling African masks. The family, as well as the merchant had been there on and off for 20 years. By presenting a proposal that spoke about the time these street vendors had been there, the history of the museum and the collective knowledge that they had acquired from the museum over the years –all of it without any academic formation-, Negrón convinced the museum to grant them an “Honoris Causa” title by exhibiting their respective carts as part of the biennial.

 

"The cultural conditioning of the museum and its modes of representation --most of all in regard to the artistic production of the third world, which generally is classified into categories such as handicrafts or cultural artifacts in the space of the ethnographic museum rather than the art museum-- makes us see in this image an artisan and not an artist, the objects he creates as utilitarian objects or handicrafts and not as works of art; a similar situation to that faced by Mr. Ibrahim who sells his masks outside the Whitney Museum."

 

Pablo León de la Barra

© 2016 Jesús "Bubu" Negrón