“Down These Mean Streets”: El Museo del Barrio Highlights Urban Photography in NYC and LA

“Down These Mean Streets”: El Museo del Barrio Highlights Urban Photography in NYC and LA

Street life in New York City and Los Angeles is the subject of El Museo del Barrio’s exhibition “Down These Mean Streets: Community and Place in Urban Photography,” one of two new shows featured at the institution, which reopened last week after undergoing a 10-month, $4.85 million renovation. Decaying sections of the South Bronx, vibrant Latino communities, children at play amidst urban blight and earnest, intimate portraits of stylish denizens in East LA are among the scenes pictured in the photographs, which span the 1960s to the early 2000s. Curated by E. Carmen Ramos, the deputy chief curator and curator of Latino art at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the exhibition features work by 10 photographers, including Frank Espada, Perla de Leon, Oscar Castillo and Hiram Maristany. Here are some selections from the show:

Hiram Maristany’s “Children at Play,” 1965.
John M. Valadez’s “Couple Balam,” from the East Los Angeles Urban Portrait Portfolio, ca. 1978.
Winston Vargas’s “Child Playing,” Washington Heights, New York, 1970.
Winston Vargas’s “Barbershop,” Washington Heights, New York, 1961.
Perla de Leon’s “Caribe Village, South Bronx,” 1980.

Top Image: Perla de Leon's "My Playground," 1980.