El Museo del Barrio Fires Executive as New Director Faces More Challenges

Mr. Gálvez did not return calls to a phone number in his name seeking comment for this article, and a spokeswoman for El Museo said in an email that “the museum is declining to comment at this time.” Questions that remain unanswered include whether the museum is looking into the accuracy of Ms. Colón’s assertions and whether the incoming director, Mr. Charpenel, was involved in the decision to fire her.

The controversy comes as the museum, on Fifth Avenue’s Museum Mile, awaits the arrival of Mr. Charpenel, who was born in Mexico and was named as director on May 1 but has not yet obtained the paperwork needed to work in the United States, according to two people close to museum officials. The two spoke on condition of anonymity because they did not have permission to discuss the matter publicly.

El Museo was formed in 1969 by artists and activists to emphasize Puerto Rican cultural contributions but eventually embraced a broader mission: to exhibit the work of Latino, Caribbean and Latin American artists from all backgrounds. Its permanent collection of over 6,500 objects includes pre-Columbian Taíno artifacts and 20th-and 21st-century drawings, paintings and sculptures. Among other tasks, Mr. Charpenel will have to balance sometimes competing views of how to preserve the museum’s activist roots while furthering its global ambitions. He will also have to expand fund-raising, which may require skills that he didn’t need at his previous job, heading a privately financed museum, Museo Jumex, in Mexico.


Some of the works featured in “Antonio Lopez: Future Funk Fashion,” an exhibition last year at El Museo del Barrio.

Estate of Antonio Lopez & Juan Ramos; Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times

And he will have to navigate the bureaucracy of the City of New York, which owns the museum’s building, on…

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