Third Annual Symposium of Latin American Art

Super/Natural: Excess, Ecologies, and Art in the Americas

About this Conference

Join us for "Super/Natural: Excess, Ecologies, and Art in the Americas," the Third Annual Symposium of Latin American Art Presented by the Institute for Studies on Latin American Art (ISLAA) and the Rewald Endowment and co-sponsored by the Center for the Humanities at the Graduate Center, CUNY on Thursday, April 19th at the Graduate Center, CUNY, in the Martin E. Segal Theatre from 2:00pm to 5:30pm (reception immediately following in the James Gallery, 5:30-7:3pm) and on Friday, April 20th at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University from 9:30am- to 7:30pm. Featuring keynote lectures by Daniela Bleichmar, Associate Professor of Art History and History, University of Southern California; and Eduardo Kac, artist and Professor of Art and Technology Studies, School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

The recent natural disasters, environmental destruction, and mounting scientific evidence for the immediate dangers of climate change throughout the Americas have inspired this year’s symposium theme: Super/Natural. The supernatural is what exceeds nature and what is excessive in nature through the insertion of human or mystic interventions. Super/Natural, however, is not just the otherworldly, but the critical interstices between the human abstraction of nature, the tangible natural world, and that which exists around it.  

The complex relationship between humanity and its surrounding environment has been amply explored by artists and peoples in the Americas. Examples include pre-Columbian art and architecture embedded in the landscape, such as the Incan fortress of Sacsayhuaman near Cusco, eighteenth and nineteenth-century traveler artist’s tropical fantasies of the land, and contemporary projects in which the human body intervenes directly in the environment. All of these practices demonstrate artists’ and communities’ preoccupation with contesting the often incomprehensible structure of the natural world. By presenting multidisciplinary case studies from a diverse group of scholars, this symposium seeks to open a conversation about the role of cultural production in understanding and complicating our relationship with the environment. The proceedings will historically situate these narratives while keeping in mind current debates on climate change and sustainability throughout the Americas. In what ways do artists engage with and intervene in nature and the land to create extraordinary perspectives? Under what conditions do spiritual practices related to nature and land become visualized in art? When, if ever, are we forced to intervene in the natural world, and what are the risks of such endeavors? 

SCHEDULE 

Thursday, April 19 
The Graduate Center, CUNY 
365 Fifth Avenue 
Martin E. Segal Theatre  

2:00-2:30pm  Welcome and Introduction by Gillian Sneed, Ph.D. Candidate in Art History, Graduate Center and Anna Indych-López, Professor of 20th-Century Latin American Art, The Graduate Center and City College, CUNY  

2:30-4:00pm  Panel 1: Agricultural Imaginaries  

-Paper 1: Lesley Wolff, "Mister Watermelon/Señor Sandía: Fruitful Anxieties in Rufino Tamayo's Naturaleza muerta (1954)", Ph.D. Candidate, Florida State University  

-Paper 2: Javier Rivero Ramos, “Radicalizing Cybernetics: Chilean Nitrate, Talking Forests and Juan Downey’s Ecopolitics,” Ph.D. Candidate, Art and Archaeology, Princeton University  

-Paper 3: Caroline Gillaspie, “Harvesting the Tropics: Representing Brazil's Nineteenth-Century Coffee Plantations,” Ph.D. Candidate, Art History, Graduate Center, CUNY  

-Discussant: Katherine Manthorne, Professor of Art of the United States, Latin America, and Their Cross-Currents, 1750-1950, Graduate Center, CUNY  

4:00-4:30pm  Coffee Break  

4:40-5:30pm Keynote: Daniela Bleichmar, Associate Professor of Art History and History at the University of Southern California  

6:15-7:30pm Reception in the James Gallery at the Graduate, Center, CUNY 

Friday, April 20 
Institute of Fine Arts, New York University 
1 East 78th Street, Lecture Hall   
 

9:30 Coffee  

10:15-10:25am Introductions by Professor Edward J. Sullivan and Ph.D. Candidate Juanita Solano Roa, The Institute of Fine Arts, NYU  

10:30-12:00am Panel 2: Peripatetic Ecologies  

-Paper 1: Mara Polgovsky Ezcurra, "Steps for an Ecological Aesthetics," Junior Research Fellow, Queen's College, Cambridge  

-Paper 2: Kevin Buist, “The Missing Meteorite: The Irreconcilable Subjectivities of People and Rocks,” Master's Student, Kendall College of Art and Design, Ferris State University  

-Paper 3: Emily Sessions, “The White Atlantic of Ramon de la Sagra’s Histoire Physique, Politique et Naturelle de l’Ile de Cuba,” PhD Candidate, History of Art, Yale University  

-Discussant: Mariola Alvarez, Assistant Professor of Modern and Contemporary Latin American Art Tyler School of Art, Temple University  

12-1:00pm  LUNCH  

1:30-3:00pm  Panel 3: Divine Nature (bilingual panel)  

-Paper 1: William T. Gassaway, “On the Edge of Glory: Death, Disease, and Divinity at the Margins of Aztec Art,” Ph.D. Candidate, Art History, Columbia University  

-Paper 2: William Contreras Alfonso, "Talismanes - Sculpture as an spiritual tool in the work of Alicia Barney and Linda Pongutá," Artist, critic, curator, Bogotá, Colombia  

-Paper 3: Agustin Díez Fischer, “El Apocalipsis según León Ferrari: condena divina y guerra de Vietnam en los años 60,” PhD, Art History, University of Buenos Aires  

-Discussant: Ananda Cohen-Aponte, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of the History of Art Department, Cornell University  

3:00-3:15pm  Coffee break  

3:30-5:00pm Panel 4: Extractions and Erosions  

-Paper 1: Gabrielle Greenlee, “Natura in Excelsis: Sacred Mountains as Producers of Culture, Wealth, and the Supernatural in the Colonial Andean Mining Space,” Ph.D. Candidate, History of Art and Visual Culture, UC Santa Cruz  

-Paper 2: Sean Nesselrode Moncada, “Killing the Well,” Assistant Professor, Rhode Island School of Design  

-Paper 3: Marcelo Nogueira, “Sonic Matters: Cildo Meireles' Sound Sculptures,” Ph.D. Candidate, Romance Studies, Duke University  

-Discussant: Rachel Price Associate Professor, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Princeton University

5:00-5:15pm  Coffee break  

5:30-6:30pm Keynote: Eduardo Kac, Professor, Art and Technology Studies, School of the Art Institute of Chicago  

6:30-7:30pm Reception at Institute of Fine Arts, New York University

LIVESTREAM
On the 19th, livestreaming can be accessed at: http://videostreaming.gc.cuny.edu/videos/livestreams/page1/ 
On the 20th, livestreaming can be accessed at: http://www.nyu.edu/gsas/dept/fineart/events/livestream.htm

The symposium is organized by current PhD candidates Brian BentleyGillian SneedJuanita Solano RoaDanielle Stewart, and Madeline Murphy Turner, PhD student Horacio Ramos, and M.A. student Julián Sánchez González; in conjunction with Anna Indych-López,Katherine Manthorne, and Edward J. Sullivan.

Presented by the Institute for Studies on Latin American Art (ISLAA) and the Rewald Endowment and co-sponsored by the Center for the Humanities at the Graduate Center, CUNY and the Grey Art Gallery, New York University.

Archive

Beyond the Symbolic: Art and Social Engagement in the Americas April 14–15, 2017

Part 1 of 5. Watch the entire symposium.

In the aftermath of the 2016 US Presidential Election, Tania Bruguera issued the following call to artists: “The time for the symbolic has ended. Art is now a tool—not to make the system work better, but to change the system.” This symposium interrogates the relevance of merging art and politics in the Americas, especially in works that explicitly seek to resist political oppression, economic imperialism, and legacies of colonialism through public discourse. We aim to address not only contemporary works that marshal “relational aesthetics” at a moment of profound geopolitical crisis, but any intervention that has sought to target the body politic and yield political or social transformation. Less interested in quantifying the efficacy of such works, this symposium hopes to examine larger questions regarding the potential ability of artistic practice to produce concrete results—that is, the compatibility of art and activism. What constitutes success or failure? When, if at all, must art bear the burden of achieving sociopolitical change? For whom is this art produced, and to whom is it responsible? Might failure be a desired outcome?

Organized by Institute of Fine Arts PhD candidates in Latin American art: Brian Bentley, Madeline Murphy Turner, Sean Nesselrode Moncada, Blanca Serrano Ortiz, and Juanita Solano Roa; in conjunction with Edward J. Sullivan.

Agenda

Friday, April 14, 2017

6:00 pm
Welcome and Opening Remarks
Edward Sullivan (Helen Gould Sheppard Professor in the History of Art, The Institute of Fine Arts)

6:15 pm
Keynote Lecture
Andrea Giunta (Tinker Visiting Professor, Columbia University, and Professor of Latin American Art, Facultad de Filosofía y Letras, Universidad de Buenos Aires)
People, Mass, Multitude
Introduced by Sean Nesselrode Moncada (PhD candidate, The Institute of Fine Arts)

7:45 pm
Reception

Saturday, April 15, 2017

9:00 am
Panel 1: Alternative Structures
Moderated by Brian Bentley (PhD candidate, The Institute of Fine Arts)

Pablo Santa Olalla (PhD candidate, Historia del Arte, Universitat de Barcelona)
Not Only Mail Art: From “Inobjetual” Experiences to Performance. Clemente Padín, Performativity and Activism, 1971–1977

Amanda Suhey (PhD, Art, Art History and Visual Studies, Duke University)
Gold Standards/Legacies of Failure

Jessica M. Law (PhD candidate, Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory, University of British Columbia)
All A are B, or No A is B, but what about C? Notes on Amalia Pica’s Diagrams

10:30 am
Coffee and Tea

10:45 am
Panel 2: Art/Action
Moderated by Blanca Serrano Ortiz (PhD candidate, The Institute of Fine Arts)

Mya Dosch (PhD Candidate, Art History, The Graduate Center, City University of New York)
Mobilizing the Aesthetics of Bureaucracy: Grupo Suma’s October 2, 1978 Interventions

Paulina Varas (Researcher and professor, Campus Creativo, Universidad Andrés Bello and Coordinator, CRAC Valparaíso, Chile)
Desobedecer la Escena de Avanzada: Una lectura contextual de CADA en el Chile de los años ochenta

María del Carmen Montoya (Assistant Professor of Sculpture and Spatial Practices, Corcoran School of the Arts and Design, George Washington University)
Ghana Think Tank: Creative Problem Finding on the US-Mexico Border

12:15 pm
Lunch Break

1:30 pm
Panel 3: Distributed Objects
Moderated by Madeline Murphy Turner (PhD candidate, The Institute of Fine Arts)

Philomena López (PhD student, Art History, Theory and Criticism, University of California San Diego)
Señor Suerte: A Critique of Antagonism

Lorna Dillon (Associate Lecturer, Modern Languages, University of Kent)
Textile Art, Collective Memory and Transitional Justice

Manuela Ochoa (Curator, Museo Nacional de la Memoria, Bogotá)
When Memory Surrounded Justice

3:00 pm
Coffee and Tea

3:15 pm
Keynote Lecture
Coco Fusco (Andrew Banks Endowed Chair, College of the Arts, University of Florida)
The Art of Intervention: Performance and the Cuban Public Sphere
Introduced by Juanita Solano Roa (PhD candidate, The Institute of Fine Arts)

4:45 pm
Closing Remarks
Edward Sullivan (Helen Gould Sheppard Professor in the History of Art, The Institute of Fine Arts)

Realisms: Politics, Art, and Visual Culture in the Americas

Part 1 of 4. Watch the entire symposium.

Recent attempts to synthesize and narrativize Latin American art, while instrumental in raising the profile of this field, inherently risk constructing an idealized history of visual culture, in which the realities of art-making in the Americas recede or are otherwise mystified. This conference considers “realism” in the Americas not as a stylistic mode pertaining to figuration, mimesis, or authenticity, but rather as a strategy for critically addressing social, political, and economic conditions. From the struggles for independence circa 1800 to contemporary actions addressing political violence and exclusionary immigration policies, the problem of reality has proven central to representations of life across the hemisphere. At a moment in which “global art history” has gained increasing prominence, and in which Latin American art has moved from the marginal to the canonical, how can we address the specificities of lived experience, both local and hemispheric, while also acknowledging broader connections?

Organized by IFA PhD candidates in Latin American art: Sean Nesselrode Moncada, Juanita Solano Roa, Susanna Temkin, Lizzie Frasco, Blanca Serrano Ortiz, Priscilla Bolaños Salas, Emily Lyver, Brian Bentley, and Madeline Murphy Turner; in conjunction with Edward J. Sullivan.

AGENDA

9:00 am
Welcome and Opening Remarks
Edward Sullivan (Helen Gould Sheppard Professor in the History of Art, Institute of Fine Arts)
Sean Nesselrode Moncada (PhD candidate, Institute of Fine Arts)

9:15 am
Keynote Lecture
José Luis Falconi (Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of History of Art and Architecture, Harvard University)
Reality Lies Elsewhere: One Avatar of Realism

10:45 am
Coffee Break

11:00 am
Panel 1: Photography and Document
Moderated by Juanita Solano Roa (PhD candidate, Institute of Fine Arts)

Rodrigo García Boníllas (MA candidate, Filosofía y Letras, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México)
On Nota RojaConsidered as One of the Fine Arts: Enrique Metinides’ Tragedies

Ileana Selejan (Curatorial Fellow, Davis Museum at Wellesley College)
Incandescent Realisms: Documentary Photography in Central America in the 1980s

Michel Otayek (PhD candidate, Spanish and Portuguese Language and Literature, New York University)
Canaima, Recreated: Photography, Timelessness, and the Economic Conquest of the Venezuelan South—Or, The Splendid Photobook That Never Was

Discussant: Shelley Rice (Arts Professor of Photography and Imaging, Tisch School of the Arts)

12:30 pm
Lunch Break

1:30 pm
Panel 2: Violence and Memory
Moderated by Susanna Temkin (PhD candidate, Institute of Fine Arts)

Devon Zimmerman (PhD Candidate, Art History and Archaeology, University of Maryland) Corroding Geometries: Elsa Gramcko, 1955–1965

Rachel Mohl Duke (PhD candidate, Art History, Rice University)
Displaced Order: Undercurrents of Violence in Eduardo Ramírez Villamizar's Dieciséis torres

Florencia San Martín (PhD candidate, Art History, Rutgers University)
Neoliberalism, Memory, and Temporality in Alfredo Jaar's The Kissinger Project(1984–2016)

Discussant: Kent Minturn (Visiting Assistant Professor of Fine Arts, Institute of Fine Arts)

3:00 pm
Coffee Break

3:15 pm
Panel 3: Body and Performance
Moderated by Madeline Murphy Turner (PhD candidate, Institute of Fine Arts)

Gillian Sneed (PhD candidate, Art History, Graduate Center, City University of New York)
Anthropophagic Assemblages: Identity, Subjectivity, and Resistance in Brazilian Women's Performances-for-Camera

Tie Jojima (independent curator and MA, Art History and Arts Administration, School of the Art Institute of Chicago)
X-Rated: Xerox Art in the Context of Movimento de Arte Pornô

Jez Flores (PhD candidate, History of Art, UC Berkeley)
Chicano Resistance: Asco’s Use of Camp

Discussant: Iván A. Ramos (President’s Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Ethnic Studies, University of California, Riverside)

4:45 pm
Closing Remarks
Edward Sullivan (Helen Gould Sheppard Professor in the History of Art, Institute of Fine Arts)

5:00 pm
Reception