Marcela Guerrero, art curator at the Whitney Museum

Whitney Museum of Art Curator Marcela Guerrero talks about the importance of “There Is No Post-Hurricane World: Puerto Rican Art After Hurricane Maria”. An exhibition that together with the work of 20 Puerto Rican artists shows the history of Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria.

Guerrero is the first curator of Latino and Puerto Rican art at this museum. Since she arrived six years ago, she says that she has dedicated herself to creating more representation, showing the art of Latinos and since 2018, presenting bilingual exhibitions, with posters in Spanish and English.

“Who am I? What am I doing here? What grain of sand can I contribute? And well, feeling appreciated, accepted and heard, that’s what I wanted to do for the artists and that fills me with great pride,” Guerrero explained.

Guerrero was born in Rio Piedras where he studied arts and then did a doctorate at the University of Wisconsin. She says that although the road has not been easy, being Puerto Rican has filled her with strength.

“Also because of the question of being a colonized territory, right, this and coming to work in the United States, it’s like you’re always there, you feel like… like an ‘outsider’, like a person who doesn’t, doesn’t fit completely in this context and that perhaps you are not accepted and well, I feel that I have transformed it into an advantage,” added Guerrero.

Which inspired her to work on projects that show the perspective from the outside in. The ravages of Hurricane Maria, the thousands of lives that were lost and all the socio-political problems that arose afterwards.

Humberto Marchand and his daughter Mariana live in Puerto Rico and are vacationing in the city. The exhibit reminded them of everything they saw during Hurricane Maria.

“It is not the same to go to an art exhibition to learn even about your culture, to see an art exhibition that you were part of it,” said Marchand.

Marchand says that together with his family they lived through months of great darkness, without seeing their relatives, without electricity or water. He says that each piece of art shows an important commitment that other museums should follow.

“It is something important that it be done not only for Latinos but for anyone who wants to learn more about Puerto Rico, the crisis that it experienced and is still experiencing after the hurricane.”

Through her work as an art curator, Guerrero says that in addition to creating an inclusive environment with Latino and other artists and adding the Spanish language to informational posters, she seeks to inspire more women to hold positions in museums.

“It is the support between women, it is not a competition, if my partner wins I know that it will help us all, especially Latin women,” said Guerrero.

Guerrero is already working on his next exhibition with the Colombian artist Ilana Savdie.