Manny Vega’s New York
Opens December 8, 2023
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The experience of walking El Barrio—the Museum of the City of New York’s own neighborhood—would be vastly different without the artworks of Manny Vega (b. Bronx, 1956). His mosaics and murals adorn street walls, subway stations, cultural centers, and business facades throughout East Harlem. Many of these works celebrate important figures—particularly women—in the history of the Puerto Rican and Latinx communities. Vega has proven himself deft at negotiating the sophisticated tastes and appetite for spectacle of an extremely diverse and fast-moving population. His style has been dubbed “Byzantine Hip-Hop” for his uncompromising technical command that encompasses ancient Mediterranean mosaic-making and the electrifying lines of hyper-detailed Sharpie pen-and-ink drawings.
Opening in December 2023 as part of the Museum’s centennial year celebration, Manny Vega’s New York will explore Vega's visual storytelling as it interweaves community stories with themes that range from African deities to urban mythologies, spanning the personal and the collective. Deeply rooted in an idiosyncratic understanding of the diaspora experience, which in his case includes communities in El Bronx, El Barrio, and Bahia, Brazil, Vega’s worldview is colorful, danceable, passionately spiritual, and complex-yet-accessible. The show will mark the Museum’s commitment to its thriving neighborhood as it looks ahead to its next one hundred years.