Artist’s Biography

Josué Ramirez is an artist and urban anthropologist born in New York City in 1963. He grew up in a large Puerto Rican family in Manhatttan, was a student at the Dalton School from 1977 to 1981, and attended Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, where he pursued a bachelor’s degree in History, and a master’s and Ph.D. in Anthropology, finishing in May 2002. He is interested in the visual and social history of the city, and in anthropological theories of the metropolis. His current art project focuses on images of Old New York, through which he seeks to connect with the spirit of the city on its extraordinary rise from roughly 1817 to 1929. His ideas for new fieldwork involve the relationship between urban diversity and creativity, and what he describes as “the effervescence of the new,” that is, the vitality of emerging patterns and new social sectors that will help define the next phase of American urban culture. Above all, as he puts it in his essay on this website, Josué “wants to study what makes great cities great, and what helps their people remain creative and productive, and spiritually alive.” He wants to continue his work, for instance, on the role of art and middle-class artists in the revitalization of specific neighborhoods, as well as start a new interview project on Puerto Rican-New Yorkers who have achieved some measure of success in the metropolis. It is an emergent sector often neglected in the literature. Ultimately, he wants to develop a holistic urban anthropology that looks at the whole social panorama of the city, including ethnographies of the returning middle class and upper elites. His essay on this website is about his current artwork and includes a discussion of his orientation, and contains many additional details about his life.