CUNY Graduate Center Conference: Figuring Magic Realism

When and Where

Friday, April 09, 2021 9:30 am to 5:30 pm
Online via Zoom


Figuring Magic Realism – International Interpretations of an Elusive Term

Held via Zoom on April 9, 2021
9:30 am to 5:30 pm EST

Register in advance for this meeting at the event website or use the Register button at the top of this page.

This one-day interdisciplinary conference features papers on the international artistic and literary idiom of Magic Realism that arose in interwar Europe and has since spread around the world. This elastic term, coined by German art critic Franz Roh in 1925, has been routinely applied to characterize representations of the real world in various media marked by strange or supernatural qualities that speak to psychological, social, and political alienation or to transcendental states. Presentations will explore the indeterminacy of the category of Magic Realism, and how it intersects with questions of identity, agency, and power from the 1920s to the present.

9:30–9:45am: Introduction
Organizers Stephanie Huber, Viviana Bucarelli, and Chloe Wyma, PhD candidates, Art History, The Graduate Center, CUNY

9:45–10:45am: Keynote Address- Franz Roh and Georg Scholz: Magic, Dämonie, and Kitsch, or, Verism Answers Back
Andrew Hemingway, Professor Emeritus of Art History, University College London

10:45–11:00am: Break

11:00am–12:30pm: Panel 1 – Politicized Bodies in Magic Realism

  • Jennifer Griffiths, Independent Art Historian (PhD Bryn Mawr, 2012), "Felice Casorati and the Sleeping Nude"
  • Sinan Goknur and Max Symuleski (PhDs in Computational Media, Arts, and Cultures, Duke University, 2021), Presentation of their recent collaborative installation queerXscape at the Rubenstein Arts Center, Durham, NC
  • Lyn Di Iorio (Professor of Literature of the Americas, City College of New York and The Graduate Center, CUNY), Presentation on the short story “By the River Cibuco”

Discussant: Michael Lobel, Professor of Art History, Hunter College and The Graduate Center, CUNY
Followed by Q & A

12:30–1:30pm: Lunch Break

1:30-3:00pm: Panel 2 – Magic, Realism, and the State

  • Sergio Schargel Maia de Menezes (PhD candidate in Literature at São Paulo University and PhD candidate in Media at Rio de Janeiro State University), "A Nova Orden (The New Order) and Look Who’s Back: Political-Literary Expressions of Magical Realism in Times of Global Democratic Fragilization"
  • Janis Oga (Postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art, University of Latvia), "Latvian Prose Writers and Magic Realism under the Soviet Occupation"
  • Patryk Tomaszewski, (PhD candidate in Art History, The Graduate Center, CUNY), "Labor Embodied: The Realism of Felicjan Szczęsny-Kowarski’s Pstrowski Coal Miner (1948)"

Discussant: Romy Golan, Professor of Art History, The Graduate Center, CUNY
Followed by Q & A

3:00–3:30pm: Break

3:30–5:00pm: Panel 3 – The Magic of the Object

  • Jeffrey Richmond-Moll (Curator of American Art, Georgia Museum of Art, PhD, Delaware, 2019), "Exhibiting Magic Realism: Curating the “Extra Ordinary” at the Georgia Museum of Art"
  • Joseph Semkiu (PhD student in Art History, University of Southern California), "Is the Sharp Focus Clear?”: John Atherton’s Invasion Series, War, and Advertising in the Forties"
  • Joseph Henry (PhD candidate in Art History, The Graduate Center, CUNY), "The Suture and the Needle"

Discussant: Angela Miller, Professor of Art History and Archaeology, Washington University in St. Louis
Followed by Q & A

5:00pm: Closing Remarks
Emily Braun, Distinguished Professor of Art History, Hunter College and The Graduate Center, CUNY

Contact Information


PHD Program in Art History (CUNY), The James Gallery/The Center for the Humanities at The Graduate Center (CUNY)