Ride or Die (2017) was a solo exhibiton at BRIC featuring newly commisioned work – sculptures featuring customized vintage Schwinn bicycles that commemorate the traditions of Puerto Rican bike clubs in New York. This body of work, combined with paintings, additional sculpture and historic ephemera question the colonial relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico, at the centennial mark of U.S. Citizenship for Puerto Ricans (1917-2017), while exploring the current economic and political crisis on the island and its implications for the diaspora.

Miguel Luciano Ride or Die
Ride or Die exhibition at BRIC, 2017
Miguel Luciano Ride or Die 120" x 40" x 32"
Double Phantom / EntroP.R., 2017.
1952 Schwinn Phantoms, restored and customized, flags
120" x 40" x 32"

Background: Pa-lan-te, neon, 2017
120" x 24"
Miguel Luciano Ride or Die 1952 Schwinn Phantoms, restored and customized, flags
Double Phantom / EntroP.R. (detail), 2017
1952 Schwinn Phantoms, restored and customized, flags
Miguel Luciano Ride or Die
Double Phantom / Entro.P.R. (detail), 2017

Made from the frames of two 1952 Schwinn Phantom bicycles, this work commemorates the year of Puerto Rico’s constitution and the beginning of its Commonwealth status. Unable to move forward without also going backwards, Double Phantom / Entro.P.R. embodies the current state of political dysfunction in Puerto Rico and the paradox of its colonial relationship with the United States.
Miguel Luciano Ride or Die Mixed media on vintage campaign flag of the Partido Popular Democratico (PPD), Puerto Rico's pro-commonwealth party (c.1970s).
Ni Pan, Ni Tierra, Ni Libertad (Nor Bread, Nor Land, Nor Freedom), 2017
Mixed media on vintage campaign flag of the Partido Popular Democratico (PPD), Puerto Rico's pro-commonwealth party (c.1970s).
18" x 18"
Miguel Luciano Ride or Die 1951 Schwinn Hornet, custom platform, LEDs, flags
'51 (Se Acabaron las Promesas /The Promises Are Over), 2012-2017
1951 Schwinn Hornet, custom platform, LEDs, flags
Miguel Luciano Ride or Die Porto Rico U.S. Volunteer Infantry pin, c. 1901; New Era cap
New Era PR"G", 2017
Porto Rico U.S. Volunteer Infantry pin, c. 1901; New Era cap

The Porto Rico U.S. Volunteer Infantry was the first official regiment of Puerto Ricans serving in the U.S. Puerto Ricans joined the military even before they were U.S. citizens. In 1917, the Jones Act granted citizenship to Puerto Ricans and subjected them to mandatory military conscription, while denying them the right to vote. Since WW1, Puerto Ricans have served in every U.S. military engagement, incurring the highest combat mortality rates of any ethnic group in the military.This work connects history to a new generation questioning what Puerto Ricans fight for, past and present. The “G” on the pin stands for the Volunteer Infantry’s G Company. In hip hop parlance, “G” is a gangster.
Miguel Luciano Ride or Die
Ride or Die exhibtion detail at BRIC, 2017
Miguel Luciano Ride or Die 1968 Schwinn Fastback, vintage hangman sissy bar, flags
Estadista (Statehood'er), 2017
1968 Schwinn Fastback, vintage hangman sissy bar, flags

Blue is the color of the Partido Nuevo Progresista (PNP), Puerto Rico's pro-statehood party. This bicycle was made in 1968, the year Puerto Rico elected its first pro-statehood governor.
Miguel Luciano Ride or Die 1968 Schwinn Fastback, restored and customized
Estadista (Statehood'er), detail, 2017
1968 Schwinn Fastback, restored and customized
Miguel Luciano Ride or Die
Estadista (Statehood'er), detail, 2017
1968 Schwinn Fastback, vintage hangman sissybar, flags

The hangman sissy bar was an aftermarket accessory made for American bicycles by the California-based Bill Mathews Company in 1968.
Miguel Luciano Ride or Die
State-Hood, 2017
Klansman hood sewn from the campaign flags of the Partido Nuevo Progresista (PNP), Puerto Rico's pro-statehood party.

The palm tree is a symbol of Puerto Rico's pro-statehood party. State-Hood questions what it means for Puerto Rico to aspire towards statehood, particularly in this new political era, with an administration that has emboldened racist policies and platforms.
Miguel Luciano Ride or Die 72" x 72"
Vulture Brand Yams, 2017
Acylic on canvas, over panel
72" x 72"
Miguel Luciano Ride or Die
RUN-A-BOUT, 2017
1969 Schwinn Run-A-Bout, chrome machete, flags
48" x 60" x 26"

Puerto Rican Flag in Red, Black and Green, 2017
96" x 60"
Miguel Luciano Ride or Die
RUN-A-BOUT (detail), 2017
1969 Schwinn Run-A-Bout, chrome-plated machete, flags
Miguel Luciano Ride or Die 1969 Schwinn Run-A-Bout, chrome-plated machete, flags, beads
RUN-A-BOUT (detail), 2017
1969 Schwinn Run-A-Bout, chrome-plated machete, flags, beads
Miguel Luciano Ride or Die Customized pushcart tricycle, sound sytem, video, LED's
Pimp My Piragua, 2008-2009
Customized pushcart tricycle, sound sytem, video, LED's
Miguel Luciano Ride or Die 1971 Schwinn Cotton Picker, restored and customized, flags
Porto Rican Cotton Picker, 2011
1971 Schwinn Cotton Picker, restored and customized, flags
Miguel Luciano Ride or Die 1971 Schwinn Cotton Picker, restored and customized, flags
Porto Rican Cotton Picker (detail), 2011
1971 Schwinn Cotton Picker, restored and customized, flags

From 1970-1971 Schwinn produced a bicycle called the "Cotton Picker". Here, the bicycle becomes an homage to the Puerto Rican families recruited to work in Arizona's cotton fields during the 1920's - one of the earliest labor migrations of Puerto Ricans to the U.S.
Miguel Luciano Ride or Die
Freedom Rider (homage to Felícita Mendez), 2011
Emboidered leather vest, vintage buttons

Felícita Mendez and her family migrated to Arizona from Puerto Rico in the 1920s for work in the cotton fields. After protesting working conditions in Arizona, they moved to California where her and her husband Gonzálo would fight against segregation laws in public schools. Mendez v. Westminster was a landmark civil rights case as California became the first state to desegregate public schools (1947).
Miguel Luciano Ride or Die 1969 Schwinn Fastback, restored and customized
Young Lord, 2017
1969 Schwinn Fastback, restored and customized
Miguel Luciano Ride or Die 1969 Schwinn Fastback, restored and customized
Young Lord, 2017
1969 Schwinn Fastback, restored and customized
Miguel Luciano Ride or Die Wood, urethane enamel, vinyl
Health, Food, Housing, Education (after the Young Lords), 2015
Wood, urethane enamel, vinyl
72" x 34" x 3"
Miguel Luciano Ride or Die Flocked iron-on letters, paper
Right-On Be Free (after the Voices of East Harlem), 2015
Flocked iron-on letters, paper
18" x 24"
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