Visual Clave exhibits in Brooklyn and Bronx

50 Years of Latin Album Cover Design
Visual Clave documents the little known evolution of ‘Salsa Graphics’ and 
the expression of Latino identities through the prism of album cover art over 
half a century of music packaging and graphic design.

This exhibit explores the evolution of Latin music album cover art over the last 50 years,paying critical attention to issues of identity and aesthetics through depictions of Hispanic people and cultures, with an emphasis on historical context and the unsung graphic artists who helped present Latin music — and its attendant socio-cultural themes — to the world. Visual Clave’s premise is that the record jacket is not just an ephemeral mass-produced object to be relegated to the trash heap of a bygone era, but rather a unique 12 by 12 inch window onto a culture’s soul. 

The concept of “clave” is essential to understanding Afro-Antillean popular music forms and the dance culture that surrounds it, and is therefore a perfect metaphor for describing Latin album cover art. Clave is the African-derived 2-3 or 3-2 beat used in almost all genres of Latin music. In addition, the claves are the wooden percussion sticks used to mark these syncopated time signatures and as an instrument date from the time of slavery and colonialism. Therefore both the beat and the instrument can be seen as a potent symbol of Hispanic cultural identities and practices. Clave as a concept is the ‘key constant’ through all these different genres of music and different national narratives, and this exhibit is the vibrant visual manifestation of this cultural heritage, full of variety and consistency at the same time, just like Latin music itself.


New York City, especially the area of Spanish Harlem and the boroughs of Brooklyn and The Bronx, are all locations central to the type of Latin music known as salsa so it is fitting that Visual Clave is being exhibited in two of these locations. Each gallery features original album art (paintings, photographs, sculpture, and layouts) as well as LP covers from the golden era of Latin vinyl. But each show is also unique and concentrates on different facets of the music and history, with an emphasis in each on the particular location of the gallery. Be sure to see both! Openings feature DJs playing rare Latin records followed by special events: live music, lectures, and discussions. For more information go to: and or visit or visit them on Facebook.




1303 Louis Niné Boulevard, Bronx NY 10459


OPENING: June 5, 2015 - 5:00 PM

Featuring a Multi-Media presentation by “Mr.Salsa” Izzy Sanabria, and DJ Turmix, Andujar and Bongohead playing classic Latin vinyl


Also:  August 14, 6:00 PM: 

Lecture on the history of Fania Records by Joe Conzo, Sr. 

August 14, 7:00 PM: 


plus concert by salsa orchestra (TBA).


Exhibition dates: June 5 - August 15

Gallery hours: 

 Monday – Tuesday – Thursday: 4:00 – 7:00 PM;     Saturday: 1:00 – 5:00 PM




338 Wythe Ave., Brooklyn NY 11211


OPENING: June 6, 2015 - 5:00 PM

Featuring MC “Mr.Salsa” Izzy Sanabria and live music by Ola Fresca “Unplugged” with Jose Conde, followed by Pablito “El Indio” Rosario and the Brooklyn All-Stars, plus DJ Turmix, Andujar and Bongohead playing classic Latin vinyl


Also: June 13, 7:00 PM: 

A Multi-Media Presentation by “Mr.Salsa” Izzy Sanabria, performance by Charlie Rosario and Los Rumberos Callejeros and guests


Exhibition dates: June 6 - July 5

Gallery hours: 

Monday – Friday: 11:00 – 6:00 PM; 

Note: week-night viewing hours can be scheduled per need, supervision and office availability.


All events are FREE and open to the public. 

Made possible by The Bronx Music Heritage Center and Picture Farm Gallery.

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  • B.George on

    Kids – Great Idea. Will be there Sat in bkln. Please note ARChive of Contemporary Music + Cubadiscos will present Cbna Music Week , May 2016. Yours, B. George

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