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Professor Dawn Ades awarded a CBE

Posted: 11 January 2013 by ESCALA in News  

Professor Dawn Ades from the School of Philosophy and Art History at the University of Essex, and Founding Director of ESCALA, has received a CBE for services to higher education and art history in the New Year’s Honours List.

Professor Ades is one of the UK's most influential art historians and curators. She said: "I am very pleased to receive the CBE. I regard the award also as recognition of the wider achievements of Art History at the University, and the success of ESCALA."

Professor Ades has been responsible for some of the most important exhibitions in London and overseas over the past thirty years, including Francis Bacon (Tate, 1985), Undercover Surrealism (Hayward Gallery, 2006), The Colour of my Dreams: The Surrealist Revolution in Art (Vancouver Art Gallery, 2011). In 2012, Professor Ades was Associate Curator of Manifesta 9, curated by Cuauhtémoc Medina, a former University of Essex student.

A Fellow of the British Academy, Professor Ades was a trustee of Tate for a decade until 2005 and remains a member of Tate Modern Council. Her commitment to Latin American art informed Tate’s decision to focus its initial international collecting on this area and to appoint Dr Cuauhtémoc Medina as the first Associate Curator of Latin American Art.

Professor Ades has played a vital role in developing the focus on Latin American art at Essex. After joining the then Department of Art History and Theory in 1968, she pioneered the research and teaching of art from Latin America in the UK, creating the country’s first specialised undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in this field, including modules in pre-contact and colonial art from Latin America.

Professor Ades’ research led, in 1989, to Art in Latin America: the modern era, 1820-1910 at the Hayward Gallery in London and, in 1993, to the founding of UECLAA, now ESCALA. The Collection’s founding donation, by Charles Cosac, was a painting by Siron Franco, about whom Professor Ades has since written the only monograph in English. As Co-Director of the AHRC Centre for the Study of Surrealism and its Legacies, Professor Ades engaged Jorge Macchi as artist-in-residence and has, since 1993, encouraged many students at the University of Essex to work with ESCALA.

ESCALA remains the only public collection in Europe dedicated to modern and contemporary Latin American art and Professor Ades remains actively involved in its development. Recently she has been able to teach University of Essex students alongside artworks in the University Space at firstsite where ESCALA exhibitions have attracted more than 60,000 visitors since the building opened in 2011.

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