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El Museo del Barrio
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The New York Sightseeing Pass
Ranked #516 of 1,153 things to do in New York City
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Owner description: Art museum displaying works of different artists from Puerto Rico, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.
Reviewed 18 March 2014

The exhibits in this intimate space apparently changes so perhaps we saw a particularly uninteresting , at least to us, installation. There were several modern and dated "smash the furniture as a metaphore for colonialism meets personal freedom" pieces that seemed passe. There were several personal photographic intimate expose narratives that were interesting but not paricularly compelling the way they were presented. Overall the way the peices were presented was also confusing. I know that art is very personal so I understand others may not feel the same but for us it was not really worth the trip uptown. The staff was very nice and professional and although we had already eaten lunch, a quick tour of the cafeteria looked like they have a tasty latino menu.

1  Thank laurky
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"gift shop"
in 5 reviews
"on display"
in 3 reviews
"central park"
in 3 reviews
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25 - 29 of 57 reviews

Reviewed 13 September 2012

This is a natural stop for anyone visiting Museum of the City of New York, Conservatory Garden, or a relative at Mt. Sinai Hospital. It's at the top of "Museum Mile" (at least until the Afro-American museum further uptown finally opens on Fifth Avenue.) Note that the TripAdvisor photos are way out of date. The museum has been thoroughly renovated and updated. The ethnic food cafe (run by Great Performances, a NYC party caterer and cafe operator at several museums) is excellent, although the assembled-to-order service can be slow. But wine is only $6 a glass, and the pours are more than 5 ounces! You can eat here without paying admission. There's a slick modern gift shop.

Note that because the city owns the Real Estate, the admission fee is discretionary. During the shared Caribbean show, they'll also give you a free pass to get into the the other two museums sharing the show, Studio Museum in Harlem and Queens Museum of Art.

I'm puzzled by some of the reviews. I wonder if the person who only found two rooms went through the plain double-doors that lead to the main galleries, which number about 12, although they are not huge rooms. The reason the current Caribbean show is shared among three museums is that El Barrio's collection is so large, they can't show enough of it in one place. And it's an excellent collection.

I felt that only about 5% of the works on display fell into the category of outsider or naive local folk (as opposed to "fine...") art. There are excellent works from about 200 years of Puerto Rican and Caribbean art here. And there's a great deal of sophisticated late-20th Century and Contemporary Art. It is all related to the Caribbean, so, no, it's not the same as going to the Whitney or the New Museum. It's usually uncrowded, and the guards are friendly and welcoming.

The permanent collection includes some landmark artists of the last two centuries you may not have seen. These include Rafael Tufino, Francisco Oller y Cestero (who studied with Courbet), Rufino Tamayo, Wilfredo Lam, Emilio Sanchez (not the tennis player!), and Enoc Perez, a high-priced young printmaker and oil painter represented by Acquavella Galleries.

This museum, alone, is not worth half of one of your precious days visiting New York. But if you love art, and you're uptown on Fifth Avenue, you won't be sorry you visited. Anyone staying at the Hostels on the Upper West Side should consider walking straight across Central Park to visit this area.

4  Thank obsoperator
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 August 2012

I wasn't sure what to expect from this museum, but more than this. First of all, it's expensive. And then, it's very small, and not very interesting. I can't believe that there was nothing very interesting or exciting to see. This is NEW YORK for goodness' sake. I was saddened and disappointed by this museum.

2  Thank M W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 July 2012

A slightly confusing but irreplaceable museum -- the museum part, as opposed to the school-oriented education -- is devoted now to an exhibit on Caribbean culture, in concert with two other museums.

1  Thank Thomas H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 15 May 2012

there's literally two rooms to walk. Once I was done, I was like "that's it? give me my $10 donation back!"

1  Thank Clarita57
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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