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New Curatorial Assistant for ESCALA

Photo of Andres Montenegro looking away from the cameraAndrés Montenegro Rosero has joined ESCALA as the collection’s part-time Curatorial Assistant until November 2014. Among his duties Andrés will curate an exhibition from ESCALA’s holdings in Southend, where the University of Essex has one of its three campuses. The exhibition, which will be held at the new premises of the Beecroft Gallery, in Southend’s former library building, forms part of the University’s 50th anniversary events. Further details of the exhibition will follow.
Andrés is an alumnus of the School of Philosophy and Art History at the University of Essex where he completed his PhD entitled Politics and aesthetics of the uncanny: Francis Alÿs, Santiago Sierra, and Tania Bruguera.

ESCALA looks forward to working with Andrés.

ISLAA funding awarded

In 2013, ISLAA awarded a $60,000 grant to the School of Philosophy and Art History (SPAH) and the Essex Collection of Art from Latin America (ESCALA) at the University of Essex to support the study of and research into Latin American art. The grant from ISLAA further enhances the University of Essex’s longstanding world-class reputation for the study of Latin American art. Students researching and studying Latin American art will benefit through funding to support their studies, research trips, and for visiting scholars. The funding will also allow the expansion of the public lecture programme and other events centred on Latin American art.

Essex is the first UK university to receive support from ISLAA, which already works in partnership with the Department of Art History at Columbia University, the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University and the Center for Latin American Visual Studies (CLAVIS), in the Department of Art History at the University of Texas, Austin.

About the Recipients

Marina Barsy Janer
Woman standing in front of artwork looks directly at cameraMarina Barsy Janer began her PhD in 2013.My research explores embodied art performances from Latin America that propose alternative spaces of experiences oriented to challenge the existing order of quotidian encounters by questioning the positioning of the public. Focusing on performers such as the Puerto Rican artist Freddie Mercado and the Mexican-Chicano artist Guillermo Gómez-Peña, I will investigate how performance art has been used to question the marginal, the stereotypical and the minorities through their proposal of/with the public.
Marina had previously completed an MA in Curating Latin American Art in the School of Philosophy and Art History at the University of Essex, for which she curated a performative symposium developed in collaboration with ESCALA that was singled out by the external examiner for its quality.

Stefanie Kogler
Stefanie began her PhD in 2012.
My research re-examines the shifting modes of representing Latin American and Latino art in museums and institutions in the USA. Throughout the 20th century, art from Latin America and Latino art accumulated a rich history of exhibitions, publications, and the acquisition of artworks to museum collections. These strategies aimed to increase the awareness of artists and artworks from the Latino community, while also bringing art from Latin America closer to USA audiences.
Since the 1980s, a marked increase in exhibitions, publications, and academic discussions regarding Latin American and Latino art ensued in which the perceptions and approaches toward this field began to be contested and re-visited. The latest efforts include that of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH). Aside from staging exhibitions and producing publications, the MFAH also launched an online archive which holds digitized archival material of Latin American and Latino art. This effort marks a shift in approach in that it seeks to re-establish the contributing role of Latin American and Latino art within traditional Western art history using the archive as a tool to do so.

GEO GLOBAL FOUNDATION

geoglobalfoundation.org

The Geo Global Foundation (GGF) is a US based nonprofit organization that works to support, foster and promote educational projects and initiatives focused on developing and enhancing human capital and culture. To accomplish these goals GGF has embarked on two educational initiatives: the Institute for Global Organizational Effectiveness (IGOE) and the Institute for Studies on Latin American Art (ISLAA).  The mission and activities of each project are independent and they both share the purposes of advancing and supporting educational efforts with a focus on Latin America.

INSTITUTE FOR STUDIES ON LATIN AMERICAN ART (ISLAA)

www.islaa.org

The Institute for Studies on Latin American Art (ISLAA) is an educational initiative of the Geo Global Foundation devoted to the support of advanced research in the field of Latin American Art Studies. ISLAA plays a relevant role in promoting Latin American art through its distinguished grants and support of lectures, conferences and publications. ISLAA facilitates grants to partnering universities and institutions which in turn award them to selected scholars, professionals and specific projects.

 

Curatorial Assistant Andrés Montenegro Rosero relocates to Oxford

Man sat on the floor in art gallery

We are sorry to say goodbye for now to Andrés Montenegro Rosero who has relocated to Oxford. Andrés has been an invaluable member of the ESCALA team during his six months with the collection, co-editing a book and co-curating Collecting through Collecting at the Beecroft Art Gallery in Southend. While helping ESCALA to connect with students and staff at the University of Essex and beyond, Andrés has inspired us with his passion for art and for Latin America to get even more people involved with the collection. We look forward to his return to the Beecroft to guide visitors through the exhibition and to working together again in the future.

Image: Andrés during the installation of Connecting through Collecting

ESCALA and Art History alumni curate 'Radical Geometry' at the Royal Academy

Radical Geometry: Modern Art of South America from the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Collection, the new exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts, curated by two of ESCALA's alumni Dr Adrian Locke and Dr Gabriel Pérez-Barreiro is getting rave reviews.

From radical innovations in the use of colour and form to new materials like neon and interactive, kinetic sculpture, the exhibition reveals some of the most original art of the last 100 years.

The Daily Telegraph said: “The Radical Geometry exhibition of abstract South American work utterly transforms our understanding of 20th-century art.” You can read the Daily Telegraph review here.

Writing in the The Guardian reviewer Paul Laity described the exhibition as “excellent” and “eye opening” packed full of “visual revelations”. He added: “Most people, if asked about Latin American art, think of the Mexican muralists and Frida Kahlo's self-portraits; this show offers a rich alternative.” While the Guardian's Jonathan Jones gave the exhibition five out of five stars. You can read Laity's review here and Jones' review here

Dr Locke is Exhibtions Curator at the Royal Academy, he completed a BA Latin American Studies, MA Latin American Art and PhD Art History at Essex.

Dr Pérez-Barreiro completed his PhD Art History at Essex and was the first curator of ESCALA. He is now Director and Chief Curator at Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros from which the exhibition is drawn.

On Friday 4 July, ESCALA Director Dr Joanne Harwood was in conversation at the Royal Academy with Maestro Carlos Cruz-Diez, a key figure in the Op Art and Kinetic art movements, as part of the programme of related events to mark the opening of the new show.

ESCALA has close links with the artist who donated one of his works and an edition of prints to the Collection in 1996. In 2004, he was invited to mount a two-part exhibition at the University Gallery and firstsite in Colchester as part of the University's 40th anniversary celebrations.
 
You can find out more about Radical Geometry at the Royal Academy and its associated public programme, including a video of Dr Locke talking about the exhibition, here.  

Carlos Cruz-Diez in conversation with ESCALA Director at the Royal Academy

Image of a room with colourful lights in green and pinkCarlos Cruz-Diez will be in conversation with Dr Joanne Harwood, ESCALA Director, on Friday 4 July at the Royal Academy in London. The talk accompanies the exhibition Radical Geometry: Modern Art of South America from the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Collection which runs 5 July to 28 September at the Royal Academy.

Information

Friday 04 July 2014
18.30 — 19.30
Reynolds Room, Burlington House

£16 (includes exhibition ticket). £12 (without exhibition ticket). Concessions available. 
For more information about the talk and to book tickets, please see the Royal Academy website here

Dr Joanne Harwood (ESCALA Director), Carlos Cruz-Diez, and translator Dr Andrés David Montenegro (ESCALA Curatorial Assistant) at the Royal Academy of Arts.

Image: Carlos Cruz-Diez, Chromosaturation at firstsite, Colchester, 2003

 

New ISLAA-Silberrad master's scholarships for Latin American Art

ESCALA is pleased to announce the availability of two scholarships for students taking a Masters in Art History and Theory in the School of Philosophy and Art History, University of Essex. These scholarships are available exclusively for students wishing to focus predominantly on art from Latin America for their Masters.

The scholarships for Latin American Art are available to UK, EU and International students embarking on the taught MA in Art History and Theory. The scholarships are worth £2500 and are supported by the Institute for Studies on Latin American Art (ISLAA) and the Silberrad Fund, a bequest from John Silberrad to the University of Essex for its 50th anniversary. If you wish to be considered for this scholarship you must first have applied and been accepted for a place and complete the SPAH Masters Scholarships application form.

For more information, including the terms and conditions and application form, please see the School of Philosophy and Art History Fees and Scholarships page.

LINKS

GEO GLOBAL FOUNDATION

geoglobalfoundation.org

The Geo Global Foundation (GGF) is a US based nonprofit organization that works to support, foster and promote educational projects and initiatives focused on developing and enhancing human capital and culture. To accomplish these goals GGF has embarked on two educational initiatives: the Institute for Global Organizational Effectiveness (IGOE) and the Institute for Studies on Latin American Art (ISLAA).  The mission and activities of each project are independent and they both share the purposes of advancing and supporting educational efforts with a focus on Latin America.

INSTITUTE FOR STUDIES ON LATIN AMERICAN ART (ISLAA)

www.islaa.org

The Institute for Studies on Latin American Art (ISLAA) is an educational initiative of the Geo Global Foundation devoted to the support of advanced research in the field of Latin American Art Studies. ISLAA plays a relevant role in promoting Latin American art through its distinguished grants and support of lectures, conferences and publications. ISLAA facilitates grants to partnering universities and institutions which in turn award them to selected scholars, professionals and specific projects.

Image: ISLAA funded student, Valeria Paz Moscoso

Essex Art History at the Association of Art Historians annual conference

ISLAA funded students from the School of Philosophy and Art History, University of Essex as well as former ESCALA staff will present their research at the upcoming Association of Art Historians conference at the Royal College of Art, London.

Current ISLAA funded doctoral student Stefanie Kogler and Miriam Metliss, ESCALA's former Learning and Access Officer, will present in the 'Curating Latinamericanismo: Recent Engagements with Latin American Art' session. Their research papers are:

Miriam Metliss 'Recent Discourses of Latin American Art in the UK: Tate and its Acquisition Policy'

Stefanie Kogler 'The Virtual Dimension of ‘Cultural Brokering’ and Digital Documents of Latino and Latin American Art in the USA'

Andrés Montenegro, our recently appointed Curatorial Assistant, will present in the 'Zombie Aesthetics' session on thirty years of the cultural uncanny.

We wish them all the best with their papers!

For more information about the Association of Art Historians conference, please see their conference website here

José Damasceno in conversation with Dawn Ades

Artist José Damasceno will be in conversation with acclaimed academic and curator, Professor Dawn Ades. Join us to hear how his Artangel project, Plot, is woven with threads of thought from the Surrealist imagination.

Date: 6 October 2014
Time: 6:30pm
Swedenborg Hall, 20-21 Bloomsbury Way, London, WC1A 2TH

Please see the Artangel website to book tickets: www.artangel.co.uk

Call for papers ARARA, Art and Architecture of the Americas, No.12 2014

The Poetics and Politics of Humour in Contemporary Art of the Americas

Humour features prominently in the history of contemporary art. From painting to photography, from conceptual to mixed media and performance art, humour has been a common strategy deployed by artists within a wide range of art practices. In spite of the extensive tradition of humorous manifestations in art and the recent upsurge of exhibitions and public discussions on this matter, the topic of humour has been largely overlooked in the study and criticism of artistic productions. The next edition of ARARA, No. 12, aims to contribute to the scholarship around this topic by exploring the relationship between aesthetics and humour in the Americas. Humour is an exemplary practice because, although relative and context-specific, it is a universal human activity. While Sigmund Freud’s view of humour as a release of repressed desires and thoughts played a key role for the avant-garde (André Breton), many contemporary artists have explored a wide range of different possibilities. Some artists have researched the cognitive potential of humour and its relation to language through puns, word games and comical pairings of text and image. Others have used strategies of defamiliarisation to explore how humour shifts the way we perceive reality and ourselves. As proposed by Simon Critchley, the humanity of humour is being able to laugh at oneself, in finding oneself ridiculous. In its ludic dimension, humour introduces an element of uncertainty and disruption which counterbalances the structure provided by ritual (law). Many artists have used the body as a tool to resist dominant culture, often employing the carnivalesque through strategies of the grotesque such as displacement, exaggeration, and the creation of hybrid symbols (Mikhail Bakhtin). The body has also been used in authoritarian regimes, such as dictatorships, to potentiate collective enjoyment against oppression and fear. In this sense, laughter, as a bodily expression of humour, follows an ethical project (Georges Bataille).

Artistic feminist practices have relied on wit, satire, irony and play to challenge and transgress patriarchal hegemony by questioning gender roles, unequal gender representations, and notions of femininity. Furthermore, feminist artists have used humour to question art history’s male dominated discourse and as a form of institutional critique. Similar deployments of humour like the absurd, ridicule, parody, and sarcasm have been used by artists against the formality and elitism of the art world, and to unsettle the acceptable limits of humour within institutional structures. While humour may have a subversive potential, it can also be used as a form of coercion and/or to reproduce power structures. Is humour used to perpetuate the normative system or rather, to defy it? This issue of ARARA aims to explore this and other questions that interrogate how humour may function within contemporary art practices in the context of the Americas. We welcome contributions in English or Spanish in the form of articles, reviews or interviews. Possible topics may include, but are not limited to, the following:

// Humour as an alternative mode of perception and meaning 
// The revolutionary potential of humour: humour as subversive and /or liberating strategy 
// The role of humour in community building or social exclusion
// Humour to critique or unmask authoritarian, colonial, hegemonic, institutional contexts
// Humour in the (re)creation of subjectivity and identity politics
// Masking the humorous/humour as masquerade
// Black humour
// The performativity of humour 
// The body politics of humour
// Gender and humour
// Carnivalesque and the festive 
// The laughing grotesque
// Humour’s therapeutic function
// Play and the ludic in humour
// The relation between ethics and humour

If you would like to contribute to the upcoming issue of ARARA please send a 300-word abstract to arara@essex.ac.uk no later than 15 November, 2014. 

Talk on Regina José Galindo's 'Tierra' at Art Exchange

On Thursday 23 October, Art Exchange curator Jess Kenny will discuss Regina José Galindo's work 'Tierra' which is on display in the gallery until 25 October. This is a great opportunity to see Galindo's powerful film from 2013, where she stands naked in a field while a excavator carves out the earth around her. On the Guggenheim's catalogue entry for the work, they note that this 'alludes to the incident in which innocent citizens were murdered and cold-heartedly buried in a bulldozer-dug mass grave. The stark contrast between the machine’s huge, armored bulk and the artist’s vulnerable body captures the injustice of Montt’s regime, while the abyss that grows around her serves as a poignant symbol of the despair and alienation born of political violence in general, and Montt’s post-conviction acquittal in particular.' (You can find the catalogue entry here.) Galindo refers to José Efraín Ríos Montt, the former President of Guatemala, who was convicted of genocide agains the Guatemalan but the conviction was annulled in 2013. His trial is due to resume in 2015. You can read more on the Amnesty International website here.

Galindo had a residency here at the University of Essex in 2009 which resulted in the work 'Lesson of Dissection' which took Rembrandt's 'The Anatomy Lesson of Dr Tulp' from 1632. The work is now in our Collection and is on show in our current exhibition Connecting through Collecting: 20 Years of Art from Latin America at the University of Essex at the Beecroft Art Gallery, Southend until 6 December 2014.

Two ESCALA internships for University of Essex students

We're looking for two University of Essex students to be our Frontrunners, Essex's paid internship scheme, from January to June 2015.  The two positions are Student Engagement Frontrunner and Collections Care Frontrunner.  

As the Collections Care Frontrunner you will support the Collections Assistant in relation to the care of the collection and documentation, including preparation of artworks for loan, preparation of an inventory and recording of data. In addition, you will help organize and catalogue the ESCALA Archive.

As the Student Engagement Frontrunner you will help us to develop our profile amongst students here at the University. The frontrunner will work with internal stakeholders to promote our resources to students, both in classrooms and through our website and social media.

Both positions are for 8 hours a week and pay £6.50.  To be considered you must be a registered student at the University of Essex and eligible to work in the United Kingdom.  Please see the detailed job descriptions below for more information about the application process.

Deadline for applications is Monday 24 November 2014 at noon.  Late applications will not be considered. Completed application forms and CVs should be sent via email to: frontrunners@essex.ac.uk

Art based enquiry workshops and ESCALA

Two of our interns, Gisselle and Jasmine, helped the Learning and Development team here at Essex with a series of object-based learning workshops aimed at helping students increase their research skills. They used two works by Cecilia Vicuña from our Collection. Here's a short blog post they wrote based on their experience.

Art-based enquiry (ABE) at the University of Essex is an educational program born out of the collective work and endeavour of ESCALA and the department of Learning and Development. As one of the events carried out during the 2013 Latin America Week, which focused on the 40th anniversary of the Coup in Chile, ESCALA organised a mini-exhibition of two collages by Chilean artist Cecilia Vicuña, palabrarma (1974) and eman si pasion/parti si pasion (1974), which she made while exiled in London following the 1973 Coup. The traveling exhibition stopped at various classes from different departments including Government, Human Rights, Art History and Language and Linguistics. The works were taken to each of the classes and a facilitator invited students to share their different readings of the pieces and to motivate them to generate more questions of the Chilean Coup. Dr Kate Dunton and Dr Joanne Harwood saw this exhibition as a jumping board to use the resources at ESCALA as a tool for teaching various academic skills, including the importance of formulating your own questions, referencing, and active discussion. A series of workshops directed to academic staff at Essex were carried out during the 2013-14 academic year. This aimed to motivate lecturers to use art objects in their teaching to train students for academic enquiry. The enquiry process by which every student went through when confronting these pieces seemed effective and able to be transferred and applied to different disciplines. When a biomedical team from the University of Sindh, Pakistan, visited Essex they asked for an ABE workshop and to our surprise they greatly enjoyed of the exercise and commented on how this could motivate their students to gain more confidence towards academic material and this way take ownership over their own questions and findings. The program this year has been re-focused and is now directed to undergraduate and postgraduate students; it aims to ultimately give them the skills and tools necessary to pursue independent research. As of 29th October, Vicuña’s pieces were once again used in workshops which aimed students to identify the differences between effective referencing and plagiarism. Material related to the art pieces was distributed throughout the workshop and students were invited to answer their personal questions regarding the pieces by referencing the material they were offered during the session.

On Gisselle: Gisselle is currently a postgraduate student of History of Art and as ESCALA’s Marketing and Communications frontrunner for the 2013-4 academic year, Gisselle helped developed the ABE project alongside Kate Dunton, from Learning and Development, Joanne Harwood and Sarah Demelo. For her undergraduate research project, Gisselle worked with an art piece from ESCALA, Colombian artist’s Nadín Ospina’s limestone sculpture, Chac Mool (undated) . The rich and unique art collection at Essex was ultimately a determining factor in Gisselle’s decision to continue her studies at Essex.
On Jasmine: Jasmine is currently a postgraduate student of Art History and Theory. As an undergraduate she worked with the Children’s Literacy Project, a Seattle University initiative that places student-volunteers at primary and secondary schools in Seattle’s Central District. Later she was able to establish a connection between an interest in issues of education and her art history coursework as the Museum Education intern at the J. Paul Getty Museum. Whilst at the Getty she assisted in seminars for primary and secondary school teachers on how to incorporate the Getty’s collection into core curriculum classes such as Language Arts and History. This included leading and contributing to workshops, gallery teaching, as well as planning and leading artistic media exploration based on art objects from the museum’s collection.