How a Museum Curator From the Bronx Spends His Sundays

Angel López saw something familiar in Martin Wong’s 1988 painting “Desire,” showing a wall of bricks in two ornate golden frames.

“It’s sparkling, inviting and intriguing, like New York,” said Mr. López, who, along with three other curators, chose the piece for an exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York. “But it also captures how harsh New York can be. Many of us end up facing a wall of bricks or hitting a brick wall.”

Born in Puerto Rico, Mr. López, 50, and his now wife, Libertad O. Guerra, 48, visited New York in 1999 to earn and save money for their next adventure — Istanbul or Lebanon, where they would study Islamic culture.

But they decided to stay. “I liked the city too much to leave,” said Mr. López, who goes by Monxo. “Everything was exciting, and we were having too much fun.”

Along the way, Mr. López became the Museum of the City of New York’s first Latinx permanent curator, and its first curator of community histories. He was part of the curation team for the museum’s “This Is New York: 100 Years of the City in Art and Pop Culture,” which includes Mr. Wong’s work and runs through July.

After several apartment stints — a shared basement room in Sunset Park, a railroad apartment in Bushwick, a one-bedroom in Fort Greene — Mr. López and his wife bought a four-story, landmark brownstone in Mott Haven, South Bronx, 20 years ago. They live there with their daughter, Xul Marina, 11.

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