Magic Project Students Visit Los Angeles to Explore Latin American Art and “Radical Women”

December 12, 2017
Jot Ranu ’18 observes the “Transpacific Borderlands” exhibit in the Japanese-American National Museum.

Over fall break, students enrolled in “Poisonous Flowers: Radical Women in Latin America” took a trip to Los Angeles to view the art show, “Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960-1975.” The course was co-sponsored by the David A. Gardner ’69 Magic Project Grant in the Humanities Council.

Designed and taught by assistant professor Javier Guerrero (Spanish and Portuguese), “Poisonous Flowers” examines the productions of outstanding Latin American female figures, including politicians, intellectuals, visual artists, writers, filmmakers, musicians, and anthropologists. “The work of these women has challenged our understanding of politics and the arts and had significant impact on lives and histories in the region,” Guerrero said. “This course is an in-depth exploration of the radical technologies that these women have deployed to survive in and transform a world shaped by men.”

The “Radical Women” exhibit illustrates the artistic practices of women artists working in Latin America and U.S.-born women artists of Latino heritage between 1960 and 1985—a key period in both Latin American history and the development of contemporary art. More than 15 countries are represented by over 100 artists, who are exhibiting 260 works of photography, video, and other experimental media.

“These artists have made outstanding contributions to the field of contemporary art, but little scholarly attention has attempted to situate their work within their contexts of production,” said Guerrero. “This groundbreaking exhibition—the first genealogy of feminist and female radical art practices in Latino America—addresses an art historical vacuum and explores the important connections and influences of these artists.”

While in LA, students visited a dozen other exhibitions focused on Latino-American art, were taken on a private exhibit tour with “Radical Women” co-curator Cecilia Fajardo-Hill, and attended a play by a Latino-American artist and a concert.

Students are currently reviewing exhibitions of their choosing and completing a critical report on the relevance of the work of female artists to the exhibitions. The “Poisonous Flowers” course also features an interdisciplinary lecture series with the participation of eight prominent scholars, writers, and artists traveling from Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Venezuela, and the U.S, such as Diamela Eltit, Zayak Valencia and Voluspa Jarpa, among many others.

The course was sponsored by the David A. Gardner ’69 Magic Project Grant in the Humanities Council, the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, the Program in Latin American Studies, and the University Center for Human Values.

By Julie Clack, Office of Communications

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