En Foco’s permanent collection is comprised of fine art photographic prints and archival material which includes over 2,000 slides, exhibition material, and 65 issues of Nueva Luz, En Foco’s signature art publication founded in 1985 in the Bronx to advance the professional status of artists of color through presenting critical essays and highlighting significant works of art. Archival materials trace the history of En Foco’s exhibitions, historically mounted in alternative art spaces, which have sought to create opportunities for emerging and mid-career photographers.
This diverse collection exists as a repository for political, cultural, and social documentation through art of the history of struggle, equity and access to this largely under-recognized community.
About The Collection
An ongoing art publication that continues to address social and cultural issues at the fore of photography, with a particular emphasis on narratives from artists of color, Nueva Luz was founded as a venture of En Foco in 1985. From its inception, the publication’s mission was to advance the professional status of contemporary photographers of diverse backgrounds and cultures. Each issue contains images from important photographers and essays from writers, artists, and critics, serving as a record of cultural trailblazers who helped to establish a much-needed narrative about artists of color working in the discipline of photography.
En Foco was founded in 1974 by a group of Puerto Rican photographers. As founder Charles Biasiny-Rivera recalled:
“We started out as a handful of New York Puerto Rican photographers, displaying our work at summer block parties in the South Bronx, neighborhood bodegas, and coffee houses in Greenwich Village. Those early days were filled with excitement, hardly anyone was acquainted with Latino photographers, but we worked hard to establish our own visual identity. A few years later, we embraced photographers from all the cultures of color in the U.S.”
The origins, evolution and rich cultural history of En Foco as a seminal organization in the area of photography is documented in the archives through extant materials, including exhibition catalogues, posters, slides, correspondence, and other miscellaneous items. Spanning over four decades, these materials are preserved in perpetuity for future generations, functioning as an educational resource, document of community history, and connection from past to present for young artists of color today.
Fine Art Collection
En Foco is a collecting organization and holds approximately 1,000 fine art prints, including work by Juan Sanchez, Dawoud Bey, Carrie May Weems, and Hank Willis Thomas. The collection has been built since the organization’s inception with works from its founders, gifts from exhibiting artists, and contributions from fellowship recipients. The photographs span decades and represent a wide spectrum of subjects, styles, perspectives, and cultures. The collection represents a myriad of voices through the literal lens of artists of color, visually documenting cultural, social, and personal histories.
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