E. Carmen Ramos is the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s acting chief curator and curator of Latinx art; she joined the museum’s staff in 2010. Since then, she has dramatically expanded the museum’s pioneering collection of Latinx art with an eye toward capturing the broad aesthetic and regional range of the field. Her research interests include modern and contemporary Latinx, Latin American and African American art.
Ramos's most recent exhibition is the landmark ¡Printing the Revolution! The Rise and Impact of Chicano Graphics, 1965 to Now (2021). Her other exhibitions also have made important contributions to the field. Tamayo: The New York Years (2017), was the first exhibition to explore the influences between major Mexican modernist Rufino Tamayo and the American art world. Down These Mean Streets: Community and Place in Urban Photography (2017) and Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art (2013) featured new acquisitions to SAAM’s collection. Both of these exhibitions won Awards for Excellence by the Association of Art Museum Curators. Ramos's exhibitions continually challenge the expectations of whose stories get told as “American” stories as well as give Latinx artists their place in American art history.
Before joining the museum’s staff, Ramos was an assistant curator for cultural engagement at The Newark Museum and an independent curator. She has curated exhibitions such as “The Caribbean Abroad: Contemporary Artists and Latino Migration” (2003), which featured the work of Nicolas Dumit Estevez, Scherezade Garcia, Miguel Luciano and Juana Valdes, as well as projects with Franco Mondini-Ruiz, Freddy Rodríguez, Paul Henry Ramirez and Chakaia Booker, among others.
Ramos wrote a monograph about Freddy Rodríguez, which is forthcoming as part of the A Ver: Revisioning Art History book series published by UCLA’s Chicano Studies Research Center. She was the author of the exhibition catalogues Tamayo: The New York Years, Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art, America’s Pastime: Portrait of the Dominican Dream, Works by Freddy Rodríguez and Cut, Build and Weld: Process in Works by Chakaia Booker as well as catalogue entries for El Museo del Barrio and The University of Texas at Austin’s Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art. She has also published in American Art, African Arts and the New West Indian Guide.
Ramos earned a bachelor’s degree from New York University (1988), and a master’s degree (1995) and a doctorate (2011) from the University of Chicago.
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About the Smithsonian American Art Museum
The Smithsonian American Art Museum is the home to one of the most significant and most inclusive collections of American art in the world. Its artworks reveal America’s rich artistic and cultural history from the colonial period to today. The museum’s main building is located at Eighth and G streets N.W., above the Gallery Place/Chinatown Metrorail station. Its Renwick Gallery, a branch museum dedicated to contemporary craft and decorative arts, is located on Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street N.W. Both locations are closed temporarily as a public health precaution to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Follow the museum on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. Smithsonian information: (202) 633-1000. Museum information (recorded): (202) 633-7970. Website: americanart.si.edu.