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The Museum of the Old Colony

An Art Installation by Pablo Delano
Edited by Laura Katzman
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The Museum of the Old Colony is an ongoing conceptual art installation by visual artist Pablo Delano (b. 1954) that addresses the complex history of his native Puerto Rico after the Spanish-American War (1898), when the Caribbean archipelago was seized by the United States from Spain as a "possession." Appropriating archival photographs, film footage, and popular artifacts that Delano collects and "curates" for his performative museum, the installation provocatively critiques the stereotypes and entrenched misperceptions of Puerto Rico disseminated in mainstream media over a century. The work thus speaks to the relationship between U.S. imperial power and the island-nation, and to the lasting and devastating legacies of colonial rule. With dry wit and sardonic humor, The Museum of the Old Colony equally illuminates the power of images to inculcate cultural values and the authority of museums to confer meaning on the objects that such trusted institutions have acquired and displayed.

This catalog is the companion volume to the latest iteration of Delano’s installation, at James Madison University’s Duke Hall Gallery of Fine Art. With essays by editor Laura Katzman and distinguished scholars Amanda J. Guzmán (Trinity College); Beth Hinderliter (James Madison University); Laura Roulet (independent curator); and César A. Salgado (University of Texas, Austin), the publication examines Delano’s ever-evolving project from historical, anthropological, cultural, literary, and museological perspectives. This richly illustrated volume features a foreword by Marianne Ramírez Aponte (Museum of Contemporary Art, Puerto Rico) and an extensive interview with the artist by the editor.