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The Birth of the Contemporary Avant-Garde in Guatemala, 1965-1974

Cecilia Fajardo-Hill, PLAS Visiting Fellow; Latin American art historian and curator

February 26, 2020 · 12:00 pm1:20 pm · 219 Aaron Burr

Program in Latin American Studies
Photo: Margarita Azurdia, Las guerreras, Serie Homenaje a Guatemala, 1970-74. Copyright: Milagro de Amor, S.A.

There is no obvious moment or movement that marks the birth of contemporary art in Guatemala; nevertheless, the country has produced one of the most original chapters in twentieth century art. Its artistic production needs to be understood beyond general categories of art history, and in the context of unique cultural, political and social specificities, including its Mayan heritage. This talk will explore artists such as Margarita Azurdia, Roberto Cabrera, Joyce de Guatemala, Luis Díaz, and Grupo Vértebra, whom shaped the inception of contemporary Guatemalan art in four key areas: Experimental art, political art, a dialectical relationship between abstraction and figuration, and art rooted in indigenous and popular culture.

Cecilia Fajardo-Hill is a British/Venezuelan art historian and curator in modern and contemporary art, specializing in Latin American art. Prior to coming to Princeton, she was a Visiting Scholar at the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center. She was the Chief Curator of the Museum of Latin American Art, MOLAA in Long Beach, California, and the Director and Chief curator of the Cisneros Fontanals Arts Foundation (CIFO) and the Ella Fontanals Cisneros Collection. She is co-editor of two tomes on 20th and 21th – century Guatemalan art, an initiative of Arte GT 20/21 and Harvard University. Fajardo-Hill has published and curated extensively on contemporary Latin American and international artists. Most recently, she co-curated with Andrea Giunta the exhibition The Political Body: Radical Women in Latin American Art 1960-1985, a survey of radical artistic practices by women artists in Latin America for the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles that opened in 2017 under the umbrella of the Getty initiative PST LA/LA.

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