Francesc Torres, one of Spain’s most important conceptual artists and the current holder of the King Juan Carlos I of Spain Chair at New York University, will deliver the eighth annual ALBA (Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives)/Bill Susman Lecture on Tuesday, May 16, at 7 p.m. The lecture, entitled “History, Memory, and Coming to Terms with Spain’s Recent Past: An Artist’s Approach,” is free and open to the public and will take place at the Instituto Cervantes, 211-215 East 49th Street, Manhattan.
The Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives, housed in NYU’s Tamiment Library, are the most important collection of documents, images, and artifacts chronicling the lives of the almost 3,000 American men and women who, from 1936 to 1939, volunteered to go to Spain to fight fascism. The lecture series is named in honor of Bill Susman, a U.S. veteran of the Spanish Civil War and one of the founders of ALBA.
Torres, a pioneering figure in the field of installation art, has a long-standing interest in the Spanish Civil War. One of his best known works, currently part of the permanent collection of the Reina Sofía Museum in Madrid, is a vast installation entitled “Belchite/South Bronx.” Like much of Torres’ work, “Belchite/South Bronx,” which juxtaposes images of a Spanish city devastated during the civil war with images of urban blight, is a profound meditation on history, violence, and modern ruins. Torres has recently been involved in several of the projects in Spain that aim to recover the country’s historical memory by exhuming the unmarked mass graves from the time of the Spanish Civil War. His talk will focus on one such project.
Torres will be introduced by James D. Fernández, director of NYU’s King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center, and Antonio Muñoz Molina, director of the Instituto Cervantes. Previous lecturers in this series have included: Bernard Knox, Gabriel Jackson, Baltasar Garzón, E.L. Doctorow, Philip Levine, Grace Paley, and Muñoz Molina. The lecture is co-sponsored by ALBA, the Tamiment Library, the Cervantes Institute, and the King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center.