February 28, 2007
Presenter: Abby McEwen
On February 28, 2007, Abby presented preliminary research on the Cuban artist Amelia Peláez, focusing on the intercultural context of her mid-career work and on the contingency of modernism in Havana in the early 1930s. Asking how painting can function as a medium of consciousness, the presentation attempted to explain how modernism signified at this time Havana, how its ideology came to embody the boundaries of cultural difference, and how its alienation effect played out aesthetically in Peláez's painting. The discussion focused on the choice and challenges of work in Cuba for an American national, the nature of new and rising interest in "Latin American" art history, and on the particular situation and work of Peláez, both in Paris and in Havana.