The Bronx Museum of the Arts brought their first new exhibition online earlier this month since their closure in mid-March. This comes following similar measures put in place for their current José Parlá exhibition, re-scheduled to re-open in September. Set to be his first museum solo-show, It’s Yours originally debuted on February 26, just before the museum closed its doors to the public. The institution-artist pairing is practically perfect: The Bronx Museum of the Art’s commitment to the education, safety and well-being of their borough is long-standing, particularly well documented in the face of COVID-19 and increasing racial tensions in the US, while Parlá’s works place him staunchly in the camp of an honorary native New Yorker.
Curator Manon Some writes, “While celebrating Parlá’s roots in the hip-hop energy of the Bronx, this series of paintings address the suffering caused by redlining policies, the waves of displacement imposed by gentrification, and structural racism. It’s Yours encourages viewers to question ownership in New York’s rapidly changing neighborhoods.” With the title borrowed from Bronx-born rapper T La Rock, the show itself is an homage to the borough where it’s meant to be shown.
It’s an exhibition for our times, and well situated within the larger city discourse – one which could arguably be applied on the national level. But with looming public health concerns, funding issues for major institutions and increased anxiety about indoor public gatherings, one has to ask whether or not the exhibition will get the exposure it deserves? Fortunately, the works are available for view on The Bronx Museum’s website, alongside the texts and an online guided tour. With the rest of the city beginning to re-open amidst peaceful protests and clashes with police, here’s hoping it won’t take until September to get the Bronx back into the museum.