(on leave Fall 2016)
Helen Gould Sheppard Professor in the History of Art; Institute of Fine Arts and College of Arts and Sciences
My intellectual formation at the IFA in Early Modern art with a concentration on southern Europe was an excellent preparation for my later studies in the art of the Americas. I began teaching at NYU in the early 1980s at the Department of Art History where I also served as Chair for some thirteen years. From 2003 to 2009 I served as FAS Dean for the Humanities while continuing my teaching and research. I was invited to teach at the IFA in 1991, offering a seminar on Mexican art of the twentieth century. The IFA became my principal department in 2010 and I currently teach one undergrad and two graduate courses per year. I have a long-standing interest in the arts and visual cultures of the Americas with a particular concentration in the Spanish and Portuguese speaking countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. Nonetheless what characterizes my work and teaching perhaps more than anything else is my desire to cross borders and look beyond the confines of the places I examine. I am interested in socio-political approaches to art history combined with broader theoretical concerns. In all of my work, however, the object of art is the main focus of interest. My 2007 book The Language of Objects in the Art of the Americas (Yale) may be taken as an example of my dedication to observation, description and analysis of individual works of art.
My scholarship has been based in the arts of the Americas from the later nineteenth century to the present. Although I take a trans-national approach, individual countries such as Mexico, Cuba, Brazil, Argentina, Puerto Rico and Uruguay are of particular importance to me. The Caribbean is an area in which I have concentrated my most recent efforts. My latest book (2014) From San Juan to Paris and Back: Francisco Oller and Caribbean Art in the Era of Impressionism (Yale) is the result of seven years of research in this area. The Francophone nations of the region are also of interest to me.
Throughout my career I have worked as both an academic and a curator. Working in museums in the U.S., Latin America and Europe since the 1980s, I have organized or collaborated on numerous exhibitions of modern and contemporary Latin American art. My latest exhibition (2015), at The Brooklyn Museum, derived its subject from my most recent book (cited above) on nineteenth century art in the Caribbean (a site of cultural convergence for local, European and North American artists).
My teaching varies between lecture courses and seminars. I have co-taught several seminars with colleagues from other disciplines, such as a course on Surrealism in the literature and art of the Caribbean and Mexico and another on the history of collecting Latin American art in the U.S. These team-taught courses have been especially stimulating and successful.
The panorama of Latin American art at NYU is enhanced by many additional activities - lectures and colloquia both uptown and downtown. These include the Latin American Forum, which I began at the IFA in 2012. This is a platform for artists, curators and scholars to come to the IFA and present their work in a seminar format. The Colloquium on Spanish and Latin American Art is an equally important format for discussion of work in a wider variety of areas relating to the Iberian world.
NYU has become a hub of activity in my field and I believe that it has served as a very positive force in the intellectual formation of students from around the world interested in the arts of the Americas.
My next book is a wide-ranging volume on “hemispheric modernities” and examines the phenomenon of how many artistic centers throughout North and South America transformed themselves from provincial to sites of global art production. In addition, I am currently editing a volume for Penn State Press on the subject of collecting Latin American colonial and modern art in the U.S, based on a 2014 conference I organized at The Frick Collection. I am preparing an essay for the forthcoming Whitney Museum exhibition of the work of Cuban-American artist Carmen Herrera (November, 2016). In May 2016 my latest exhibition of the work of contemporary Argentine artist Felisa Gradowczyk, opens at the Centro Cultural Borges in Buenos Aires.
Abstractions in the Americas
Surrealism in the Caribbean and Mexico
Modernism in Latin America
Arts of Brazil
Mexican Painting 1875-1950
Selected Books and Book-length Exhibition Catalogues
||From San Juan to Paris and Back: Francisco Oller and Caribbean Art in the Era of Impressionism (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2014)
||Observed: Milagros de la Torre (New York: Americas Society and Lima, Peru: Museo de Arte de Lima, 2012) curated exhibition and wrote principal essay in catalogue
||Concrete Improvisations: Collages and Sculptures by Esteban Vicente (with Lynn Gumpert) exhibition catalogue (New York: Grey Art Gallery, NYU) 2011
||Nueva York: 1613-1945 (editor and essayist) (New York: Scala Books, 2010)
||Fragile Demon: Juan Soriano in Mexico 1935-1950 (Philadelphia Museum of Art and Yale University Press, 2008)
||Continental Shifts: The Art of Edouard Duval Carrié (editor and author of principal essay) (Miami: Haitian Cultural Alliance, 2008)
||The Language of Objects in the Art of the Americas (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007)
||Emilio Pettoruti (with Nelly Perrazo) (Buenos Aires: LaMarca Editora, 2004)
||Tomas Sánchez (with Gabriel García Márquez) (New York: Skira, 2003)
||Brazil: Body & Soul (editor and principal author) (New York: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Harry N. Abrams, 2001)
“Landscapes of Desire: The Land as Resource in the Caribbean,” in exhibition catalogue From Tierra del Fuego to the Arctic: Landscape Painting in the Americas (Art Gallery of Ontario, May 2015)
" 'La magie de l'authenticité': Deux décennies d'exposition et d'étude de l'art haïtien aux États-Unies et en Grande-Bretagne," Gradhiva. Revue d’Anthropologie et d’Histoires des Arts, number 21, 2015, pp. 207-221
“Artists Before the Lens: Painters and Photographers in Haiti,” in the exhibition catalogue Through the Lens: Haiti from Within and Without, Ft. Lauderdale Museum of Art (June, 2015)
“Du Musée des Origines au Musée Afro-Brasil” Réinventer l’Institution Artistique,” Perspective. Actualités de la Recherché en Histoire de l’Art. La Revue de l’INHA, no.2, 2012-13, pp. 224, 238 (intervention in a debate about Brazilian museums with three Brazilian and French scholars)
“José Gurvich,” exhibition catalogue, PINTA: The Modern and Contemporary Latin American Art Show. Wrote catalogue and curated exhibition, November, 2013
“Gurvich en Nueva York: una relación conflictiva,” in exhibition catalogue José Gurvich. Cruzando Fronteras (Buenos Aires: Museo de Arte Moderno, 2013) pp. 151-167
“Geometry and Gesture: Notes on Abstractions in the Americas,” in exhibition catalogue Pan American Modernism. Avant-Garde Art in Latin America and the United States. University of Miami: Lowe Art Museum, 2013, pp. 25-51
“Information Networks: Collecting and Display of Latin American Art in the United States,” in the exhibition catalogue Order, Chaos and the Space Between. Contemporary Latin American Art from the Diane and Bruce Halle Collection(Phoenix Art Museum: 2013, pp. 105-118
“From the Studio to the Street,” in Juan García de Oteyza (ed.) Laura Anderson Barbata: Transcommunality (Mexico City: Turner Libros), 2012, pp. 9-12
“Displaying the Caribbean. Thirty Years of Exhibitions and collecting in the United States,” in Deborah Cullen and Elvis Fuentes (eds.) Caribbean. Art at the Crossroads of the World (New York: el Museo del Barrio and Yale University Press, 2012), pp. 343-365
“Revelando los inicios de una carrera excepcional,” in Christian Padilla,Fernando Botero. La búsqueda de un estilo (Bogotá, Editorial La Bachué, 2012) pp. 12-13
“Cesar Paternosto: A Celebratory Interchange” and “Edward J. Sullivan Interview with Cesar Paternosto,” in exhibition catalogue Cesar Paternosto. Painting as Object: The Lateral Expansion. New Works (New York: Cecilia de Torres Gallery, 2012), pp. 35-45
“Erasing Borders,” Art in America, September, 2012, pp. 49-52
“Introduction” Bonevardi Works. Bonevardi-Bennett Collaborations (Buenos Aires, Fundación Alón para las Artes, 2012) pp. 9-16ó
“Silent Witness: The Photographic Art of Milagros de la Torre,” in exhibition catalogue Observed. Milagros de la Torre (New York: Americas Society and Lima: MALI, 2012) pp. 10-25
“Mario H. Gradowczyk: Scholar of Modern and Contemporary Art,” in exhibition catalogue Esteban Lisa: Playing with Lines and Color (Long Beach, Ca. Museum of Latin American Art, 2012) pp. 45-56
“Entre la estática y el movimiento: La naturaleza muerta de José Gurvich,” in anthology Los mundos fantásticos de José Gurvich (Montevideo: Museo Jose Gurvich, 2011), pp. 75-89
“Señas de la luz: Caminos de creatividad y significado en la obra de Ada Balcácer,” in the exhibition catalogue Alas y raices: Ada Balcácer (Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic: Centro cultural Eduardo León Jiménez, 2011), pp. 9-39
“The Lives of Objects: Remembering Claudio Bravo,” Art News, November, 2011, p, 60
“The Art of Claudio Bravo (1936-2011)” Confrontation, no. 110, Fall, 2011, pp. 158-170
“Between Two dimensions: Paintings by Isabel Obaldía,” in exhibition cataloguePrimordial: Paintings and Sculpture by Isabel Obaldía Museum of Art/Fort Lauderdale, 2011, pp. 37-45
“Art Worlds of Nueva York” in Sullivan (ed.) Nueva York. 1613-1945 (New York: Scala Publishers, 2010), pp. 173-215
“Rafael Ferrer in the Tropics: Encounters with Caribbean Art,” in exhibition catalogue Rafael Ferrer (New York: El Museo del Barrio), 2010, pp. 53-65
“Navigating Between the Continents: Further Thoughts on Edouard Duval Carrié’s Work,” Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism, 27, October, 2008, pp. 165-174
“Lost in Translation? Juan Luna Between Manila and Madrid” in exhibition catalogue Pioneers of Philippine Modernism(San Francisco: The Asian Art Museum, 2006 pp. 54-82)
“The Black Hand: Notes on the African Presence in Brazil and the Caribbean in the Colonial Period,” in exhibition catalogue The Arts of Latin America 1492-1820(Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2006 pp. 39-55)
“Naturalezas mexicanas: Objects as Cultural Signifiers in Mexican Art c. 1760-1885,” in Stephen Melville (ed.) The Lure of the Object(Clark Studies in the Visual Arts) (Williamstown: Sterling & Francine Clark Art Institute, 2005, pp. 59-71)