CFP: Latin American panels at the College Art Association annual conference, 2016

Posted: 30 April 2015 by Dr Sarah Demelo

We've compiled a list of the Latin American art focussed sessions at the 2016 College Art Association annual conference.  Proposals are due to the individual session chairs by 8 May 2015.  Please see the CAA website for further details of the submission guidelines:

Proposals for participation in sessions should be sent directly to the appropriate session chair(s). If a session is cochaired, a copy should be sent to each chair, unless otherwise indicated. Every proposal should include the following five items:
1. Completed session participation proposal form, located at the end of this pdf, or an email with the requested information.
2. Preliminary abstract of one to two double-spaced, typed pages.
3. Letter explaining speaker’s interest, expertise in the topic, and CAA membership status.
4. CV with home and office mailing addresses, email address, and phone and fax numbers. Include summer address and telephone number, if applicable.
5. Documentation of work when appropriate, especially for sessions in which artists might discuss their own work.

Sensorial Regimes: Reflections on Postcolonial Art History in Latin America

Jens Baumgarten, Federal University of São Paulo; and Tristan Weddigen, Universität Zürich.
Email: jens.baumgarten@ and

The session addresses the question of colonial art and its appropriation in modernism and contemporary visual culture. Colonial art histories of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries largely follow both traditional historiographical and colonial schemes. This session will elucidate specific case studies that can shape new approaches to an iconological analysis of colonial art and its ongoing appropriation. To focus the discussion, the session concentrates on the early modern period in Latin America and its modern and postmodern manifestations and on the topic of sensorial regimes. We call for papers with a transcultural approach that explore the intercultural and local differentiations of the forms and meanings of the Baroque. How are emotions and the sacred interwoven in sensorial regimes? How can transcultural approaches engage with political, religious, gendered, or material aspects of the artifact and its relations to the senses? We also invite methodological and historiographical analyses. The panel is supported by the Getty Foundation’s Connecting Art Histories initiative.

Visual Representations of Plant Knowledge in Precolumbian, Early Colonial, and Early Modern European Art

Helen Ellis, University of California, Los Angeles,

By 1492 Mesoamericans had domesticated maize and many other plants unknown in Europe. Throughout the Age of Exploration Europeans obtained a vast amount of botanical information from Amerindians, ushering in the rise in scientific inquiry and the concomitant development of the natural sciences. A few preliminary questions emerge: Does Precolumbian plant imagery express scientific information? How does sixteenth-century European plant imagery reflect newly obtained knowledge? This session explores how representations of plants in Precolumbian, early modern European, and/or colonial Latin American art express botanical, scientific, and other related knowledge. One goal is to showcase innovative methodological and theoretical approaches to plant imagery study, including those that take a comparative and/or multidisciplinary approach, present little-explored archival research, or examine how materiality (including analysis of pigments, media, or artistic techniques) yields information. Contributions can focus on how those in one society represented plant knowledge or pursue underexplored comparisons between regions or periods.

Association for Latin American Art: New Geographies of Abstract Art in Postwar Latin America

Ana M. Franco, Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá; and Mariola V. Alvarez, Washington College.
Email: and

Since 2001 the development of geometric abstraction in Latin America, especially from Argentina, Venezuela, and Brazil, has been the subject of much research in the discipline of art history and of several exhibitions across the United States, Europe, and South America. This tendency, focused on concrete, rational, or scientifically oriented approaches to abstraction, has overlooked abstract art produced in other parts of the region, including Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean, and the more expressionistic or spiritual variants of postwar abstraction. This session proposes an alternative history of Latin American postwar art by investigating abstraction in understudied countries such as Colombia, Peru, Costa Rica, and Cuba and the development of marginal forms of geometric and informal abstraction. We invite papers that address the transnational encounter of artists with French art informel, Spanish Tachismo, American Abstract Expressionism, or their engagement with “primitive” and Precolumbian art.

Precolumbia in Nineteenth-Century Art and Science

John F. López, University of Chicago; and Lisa Trever, University of California, Berkeley.
Email: and Ltrever@

The term “Precolumbian,” which describes the periods of the Americas prior to European arrival in the New World, first appeared in academic discourse in the mid-nineteenth century. Alongside the emerging concept of “Latin America,” it was imbued with modern sensibilities of independence, nationalism, Neoclassicism, and Romanticism that bind the ancient New World to the social, political, and cultural theories and events of the Americas and Europe in the nineteenth century. This session will examine the reception and historiography of ancient American forms and subjects in artistic and scientific projects beyond the traditional realms of archaeology and antiquarianism. Topics may include but are not limited to the fine arts, theater, music, fashion, photography, lithography, travelers’ accounts, medical or naturalist inquiry, politics, pedagogy, or world expositions. We invite proposals for papers that address how and why things Precolumbian functioned within visual practices of the nineteenth century.

South to North: Latin American Artists in the United States, 1820s–90s

Katherine Manthorne, The Graduate Center, City University of New York,

Drawing upon inter-American studies, this session examines the cultural presence of Latin Americans in the US from Independence through the Columbian Exposition. It challenges the accepted wisdom that North and South American cultures took their cues from Europe, not from each other. As an art student at Mexico’s Academy of San Carlos, Felipe Santiago Gutiérrez transported lessons from the New World’s oldest academy to San Francisco and New York. Residing in New York City in the 1880s and 1890s, the Cuban poet José Martí impacted US politicians, writers, and artists. The venerable landscapist José María Velasco supervised Mexico’s display in Chicago in 1893. Papers might explore such individual figures; art schools as nexus for hemispheric interactions; artists on US–Latin American scientific surveys; or theoretical implications of Martí’s “Our America.” Collectively they undergird a more nuanced history of art of the Americas and argue that Latin Americans in major US cities provided conduits of aesthetic knowledge that informed and enriched their host’s embryonic art worlds.

Without Borders: The Promise and Pitfalls of Inter-American Art History

Fabiola Martinez, Saint Louis University; and Breanne Robertson, independent scholar.
Email: and breanne@

This panel probes the efficacy of hemispheric ontologies in the study of twentieth-century Latin/American art. Can inter-American perspectives adequately address the power dynamics of a continent marked by racial diversity, and where competing claims of belonging have given shape to national histories? What are the ideological and political implications of an expanded geographical approach? Where and when in the Americas is the discourse of modernism being shaped? Papers may consider any aspect of twentieth-century art in the Western Hemisphere but should aim to highlight underlying conceptual, methodological, or institutional problems that relate to transnational approaches in the study of Latin/American art. Possible topics may include inter-American cultural exchange and appropriation; debates surrounding figuration and abstraction; art-historical periodization and geographical frameworks; the potential for postcolonial and decolonization theory to forge a scholarly discourse beyond value-laden notions like modernism and modernity; and the challenge of uniting novel methodologies with close object-based analysis.

American Society for Hispanic Art Historical Studies: Polychrome Sculpture in Iberia and the Americas, 1200–1800

Ilenia Colón Mendoza, University of Central Florida,

This panel focuses on aspects of polychrome sculpture produced in Iberia and Colonial Latin America from 1200 to 1800 that are specifically related to writing and literature. Of interest is the production and technique of polychrome sculpture in wood, wax, and mixed media through the study of treatises and their relationship to the production of sculpture. Research related to primary-source documentation of contracts and patronage is also welcome. Papers may address how mystical writings and liturgical practices influenced image making and how these images were understood in the context of religious pageantry and procession. Contemporary accounts describing sculpture in literature and plays that reveal the social and cultural status of sculpture are also relevant.

Tragic(al) Realism: Contemporary Afterlives of Magical (Sur) Realism

Andrés David Montenegro Rosero, University College London,

This session investigates how the specters of Surrealism and Magical Realism haunt the production, circulation, and interpretation of contemporary art and visual culture from Latin America. Almost twenty years ago Gerardo Mosquera’s Beyond the Fantastic: Contemporary Art Criticism from Latin America rejected the prevalent understanding of art and culture from Latin America as exotic, Magical Realist, fantastic, and surreal. The edited volume critiqued these tropes as reductive and reflective of Western expectations of how art from Latin America should look like, which role should play in its immediate context, and the terms for its transnational circulation. However, after almost two decades of relative absence, in the last five years there has been a return of these two highly contested methodological frameworks. We invite papers that reconsider the continuities and ruptures between Surrealism and Magical Realism in Latin America, while exploring how, and if, they inform contemporary artistic practices from the region.

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