On June 12, 2013, El Museo del Barrio presented their 7th Biennial titled “La Bienal 2013 – Here Is Where We Jump.” The show features 37 Latino, Caribbean, and Latin American Artists.  Each year they focus on emerging talent with extraordinary innovative art. This past March, I had the pleasure of participating in a press preview provided by where I featured a number of talented artists (to read my full article, click here)  – and now, this past November we revisit the work of one of them. Risa Puno is a NYC-based sculpture/installation artist with a charismatic approach to her art – her stylistic approach incorporates the participation of spectators and reminds them of a time when art was both exciting and hands-on.

Her contribution to this year’s La Bienal was a disco ball piñata installation piece that she constructed with the intent to break apart months later. The ball was filled with artwork of the 37 participating artists. All had some resemblance of their work, and some even contributed special pieces created specifically for this project. On November 20, 2013 at approximately 8:30PM the piñata smashing opened to an enormous crowd of antsy art lovers. The sight of eager adults lining up to take a gander at the innocent looking disco ball was unbelievable. The first smasher took a swing and was able to break open a small portion of the ball – allowing for some small bits of confetti to dropout but nothing really else came out. The next contender did her best but again, not much dropped out. But by the time the third smasher stepped up to the plate, the crowd was hyped. He took about three big swings and pounded that disco ball like Mickey Mantel on a good day. Tons of prizes came flying out – the crowd went berserk trying their best to collect their winnings. The laughter and glee that ensued post smashing, transformed the entire room to a  time when events like these were filled with exploratory delight. This was definitely one for the books, folks.


I for one, had a blast filming the smashing, and danced the night away with tunes provided by DJ Nicole (from the music sensation Nina Sky) playing the best of 1980’s/90’s Freestyle/Pop and R&B. The night was without a doubt smashing (excuse the pun) and I can’t wait to sign up for the next Puno event. To follow Risa and to keep tabs of her next project/exhibition, please click here. “La Bienal – Here Is Where We Jump” exhibition is still currently on display at El Museo del Barrio now until early January 2014.


“The key to understanding my work is to physically engage with it — to use it, play it, touch it, smell it, and sometimes taste it. While I make every effort to craft objects that are beautiful and alluring, my main objective is to create evocative and memorable experiences for the people who use them.”- Risa Puno

Click on the link to see: “The Making of Breaking Bienal”

— Roz Baron

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