Erasures: Excision and Indelibility in the Art of the Americas

Thursday, April 11-Friday April 12, the Ph.D. Program in Art History, The Graduate Center, CUNY and The Institute of Fine Arts, NYU for “Erasures: Excision and Indelibility in the Art of the Americas,” a two-day symposium of Latin American and Latinx art! 

The fourth annual Symposium of Latin American Art, “Erasures” is organized by current PhD candidates and students Ana Perry (Graduate Center), Brian Bentley, and Madeline Murphy Turner (IFA), and PhD students Francesca Ferrari (IFA), Sonja Elena Gandert, and Tie Jojima (Graduate Center). The keynote speakers are Barbara Browning, Professor, Department of Performance Studies at Tisch School of the Arts, NYU, and Ken Gonzales-Day, artist and Professor of Art, Scripps College.

What can and cannot be erased? This question emerges when monuments are destroyed, cultural artifacts vanish, or the faces of the disappeared continue to interrogate government violence and corruption. Though the recent fire at the Museu Nacional in Rio de Janeiro resulted in the devastating loss of approximately twenty million objects, the impact goes beyond physical destruction. Marina Silva, Brazil’s former Minister of the Environment, went so far as to call the fire a “lobotomy of the Brazilian memory.” Alternatively, this past October Israeli artist Yael Bartana demonstrated the power of the void with her Monumento a la ausencia, in which footprints left in cement attest to lives erased and commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the Tlatelolco Massacre in Mexico City. Observable in these examples as well as countless others, is that the excision—willful or unwitting—of objects and histories can be both destructive and productive, open and heal wounds, obfuscate and expose memory, and challenge and reinforce the permanence of indelibility.

Tragedies such as those noted above and subsequent actions to confront them shape this year’s symposium theme.

The symposium is coordinated by Professors Edward J. Sullivan, Helen Gould Sheppard Professor in the History of Art at the Institute of Fine Arts; Anna Indych-López, Professor of 20th- Century Latin American and Latinx Art at The Graduate Center; and Katherine Manthorne, Professor of Modern Art of the Americas at The Graduate Center.

Thursday, April 11, 2019
The Graduate Center, CUNY
365 Fifth Avenue
The Skylight Room
Livestream available here.

Friday, April 12, 2019
The Institute of Fine Arts, NYU
1 East 78th Street
Lecture Hall
No livestream is available for Friday’s session

Presented by the Institute for Studies on Latin American Art (ISLAA) and the John Rewald Endowment

For the symposium full schedule, see the Center for the Humanities website.