The Fifth Annual Symposium of Latin American Art:
Touch, Taste, Turn: Unleashing the Senses in the Art of the Americas
April 8–10, 2021
Full Symposium Program
Keynote lectures by María Magdalena Campos-Pons and Claire Tancons
Performance by Castiel Vitorino Brasileiro
This symposium will be held entirely online. Speakers will share short pre-recorded presentations three weeks before the event so that attendees can view the presentations on their own time. Panel discussions on April 9th will be dedicated to Q&A only. The keynote talks and performance will be presented live with reserved time for Q&A. In order to access the presentations and to receive the link for the symposium events, advance registration is required.
About the Fifth Annual Symposium
Cultural and artistic practices that engage with multiple senses (e.g. sight, smell, hearing, taste, touch, and beyond) have a long history in the Americas. Indigenous civilizations and Afro-diasporic communities have developed artifacts and practices that promote forms of knowledge grounded in presence, materiality, and sensorial perception. Examples include Andean quipus or knotted cords used to communicate information, Haitian Vodun visual and ritualistic practices summoning sensorial and spiritual energies, and seventeenth-century Tupinambá ceremonial feather capes. These legacies continue to inspire artists today, such as Cecilia Vicuña, who produces environments that evoke quipus; María Magdalena Campos-Pons, whose mixed-media works incorporate bodily interventions and soundscapes; and Guadalupe Maravilla, whose performances explore movement and the experience of migration.
Inspired by the rich and diverse artistic production of the Americas, this event revolves around questions such as: What does a multisensorial approach bring to the understanding of Latin American, Caribbean, and Latinx art? Conversely, what does the production of those regions bring to the understanding of multisensorialism? What strategies can artists and scholars adopt to complicate the sense of sight? How are sensorial experiences conditioned by social, cultural, and historical variables, and how can they help us understand those variables? How does a multisensorial model put pressure on art history? How can museums and cultural institutions promote experiences that go beyond visuality?
With keynote lectures by María Magdalena Campos-Pons, artist and Professor of Fine Arts, Cornelius Vanderbilt Endowed Chair of Fine Arts, Vanderbilt University, and Claire Tancons, writer and curator. The symposium will close with an original work by performance artist Castiel Vitorino Brasileiro.
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, CUNY; Katherine Manthorne, Professor of Modern Art of the Americas at the Graduate Center, CUNY; Lisa Trever, Lisa and Bernard Selz Associate Professor in Pre-Columbian Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University; Alexander Alberro, Virginia Bloedel Wright '51 Professor of Art History, Barnard College; and Kellie E. Jones, Hans Hofmann Professor of Modern Art, Columbia University. The symposium is organized by current PhD Candidates Francesca Ferrari, Tie Jojima, Horacio Ramos, Julián Sánchez González, and Gwen Unger, and PhD Student Juan Gabriel Ramírez Bolívar.
The symposium is organized by the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University; The Graduate Center, CUNY; and Columbia University, with the support of the Institute for Studies on Latin American Art (ISLAA) and the John Rewald Endowment at The Graduate Center, CUNY.