Ramón Miranda Beltrán

Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Ramón Miranda Beltrán developed his artistic skills and taste in Puerto Rico. He attended the Universidad de Puerto Rico and received a B.A. in Fine Arts with an emphasis on Photography. In 2012 he graduated from the Art Institute of Chicago with a Master of Fine Arts and has since been living in Brooklyn.

Beltrán is formally trained as a photographer. He also experiments with materials such as newsprint and concrete fragments to create political statements. He revives moments of unrest from the past by transferring archival newsprint to concrete and rebar.

During his time in Chicago he focused on Chicago’s history and had several public installations. Of note are My Kind of Town, which presented headlines from eight different Chicago riots on slabs of concrete. Beltrán seeks to connect incidents of turmoil in the past with conditions in the present.

His installation Business As Usual also contained riot headlines starting with the Haymarket Riot (1886) and ending with the most recent Humbolt Park Riot (1977). The headlines were printed on concrete slabs which were then stacked liked headstones. Business As Usual debuted at McCormick Place in 2012, shortly after the high-tension NATO summit was held in Chicago. The timing of Business As Usual was intentionally provocative. One week after it was installed at McCormick Place it was removed by sources unknown.

Now in New York, Beltrán is shifting his focus to student rights. He still uses history as a reference in his photographs as he focuses on the politics of education and how they shape the student experience. In his latest work, To Collapse Invisible Walls, Beltrán uses an image of the Chicago Teacher Revolt of 1933 printed on a concrete slab to comment on the debate regarding the place of public education in a weakening economy.

With the Teacher Revolt image is a poster of Francisco Oller, who provided free education to students of any age or race in Puerto Rico. He is considered Puerto Rico’s father of public education. Together, these images create a dialogue between the state of education in the United States and Puerto Rico.

Beltrán has entered numerous visual arts competitions in both Puerto Rico and in the United States. His works are held in public collections in the Museum of Contemporary Art of Puerto Rico; the Institute for Puerto Rican Arts & Culture in Chicago, Illinois; and at the Museo de Arte Pío López at the University of Puerto Rico.

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