Art in Latin America

The details
Art History and Theory
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 5
Monday 17 January 2022
Friday 25 March 2022
05 October 2021


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BA V351 Curating,
BA V352 Curating (Including Year Abroad),
BA V353 Curating (including Placement Year),
BA V359 Curating (Including Foundation Year),
BA V35B Curating (Including Foundation Year and Year Abroad),
BA L994 Global Studies with Latin American Studies,
BA L995 Global Studies with Latin American Studies (including Foundation Year),
BA L996 Global Studies with Latin American Studies (including Placement Year),
BA L997 Global Studies with Latin American Studies (including Year Abroad),
BA L990 Global Studies and Latin American Studies,
BA L991 Global Studies and Latin American Studies (including Foundation Year),
BA L992 Global Studies and Latin American Studies (including Placement Year),
BA L993 Global Studies and Latin American Studies (including Year Abroad),
BA V305 Curating with Politics,
BA V306 Curating with Politics (including Foundation Year),
BA V307 Curating with Politics (including Placement Year),
BA V308 Curating with Politics (including Year Abroad),
BA V309 Curating with History,
BA V310 Curating with History (including Foundation Year),
BA V311 Curating with History (including Placement Year),
BA V312 Curating with History (including Year Abroad),
BA VV40 Art History, Heritage and Museum Studies,
BA VV41 Art History, Heritage and Museum Studies (including Foundation Year),
BA VV42 Art History, Heritage and Museum Studies (including Placement Year),
BA VV43 Art History, Heritage and Museum Studies (including Year Abroad),
BA V301 Curating, Heritage and Human Rights,
BA V302 Curating, Heritage and Human Rights (including Foundation Year),
BA V303 Curating, Heritage and Human Rights (including Placement Year),
BA V304 Curating, Heritage and Human Rights (including Year Abroad)

Module description

The artistic heritage of Latin America is both as vast as its expansive geography and as rich as its complex history.

Interwoven with the social, political, and cultural realities that have shaped the region, art from Latin America is a diverse and fascinating tapestry of pre-Columbian artefacts and Colonial art; botanical surveys and post-independence paintings; iconographies of social revolution; avant-garde aesthetics; and contemporary engagements with violence and injustice. Artists from Latin America have long made significant contributions to innovating aesthetic forms by reaching beyond geographical boundaries to pioneer and engage with transnational movements, from Geometric Abstraction and Conceptualism, through to the digital interfaces at the frontiers of technological development.

During this module, we will look closely at select artworks that offer insights into key moments in art making in Latin America. We will study artworks in dialogue with the region's socio-political processes, addressing important historical events such as colonisation, theMexican Revolution, modernisation, and political conflict. Within this interdisciplinary approach, we will focus mainly on modern and contemporary works of art to examine them in relation to issues such as nature and the landscape, cultural hybridity, modernity, trauma, and identity. We will begin with an introduction to Latin America, then examine core topics over the following weeks, combining readings of key critical and analytical texts with detailed discussions of specific artworks.

We will engage closely with artworks at the Essex Collection of Art from Latin America (ESCALA), a major research and teaching collection at the University of Essex and a unique university and national resource. Representing 350 artists from 19 countries, ESCALA includes more than 750 artworks mostly produced from the 1960s to the present

Module aims

The aims of the module are:

1. To explore key themes and issues related to Latin America through its artistic heritage
2. To encourage interdisciplinary approaches to studying art
3. To study key artistic movements in modern Latin America
4. To familiarise students with the Essex Collection of Art from Latin America (ESCALA)
5. To contextualise artworks in broader political, social and cultural contexts

Module learning outcomes

At the end of the module, you should have developed skills that enable you to:

1. Discuss works of art in relation to their social and historical contexts
2. Engage in close analysis of artworks considering their production and circulation
3. Read and discuss art historical and critical texts, and relate them to specific artworks
4. Engage in independent research by sourcing for and using secondary texts
5. Participate in class discussions and engage constructively with feedback
6. Formulate and sustain a clear argument in relation to specific works of art and their context, thinking critically and laterally

Module information

ESCALA often organises and shares information about events related to art from Latin America at the University's Colchester Campus or at other venues through its website blog.

We advise signing up to ESCALA's social media and checking the website frequently for information about ESCALA events and opportunities.

ESCALA also has a wealth of resources to support research and learning on its website: and its Vimeo channel

Learning and teaching methods

There will be two-hours of teaching each week, including a lecture and seminar. Week 21 is reading week.


  • Checa-Gismero, Paloma. (2017) 'Realism in the Work of Maria Thereza Alves', in Afterall: A Journal of Art, Context, & Enquiry. vol. 44 (1) , pp.54-63
  • (no date) (Video on Oiticica's work) Cardoso, Ivan. H.O (1979).
  • Traveler Artists to Latin America | Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros,
  • Demos, T.J. (2016) '¡Ya Basta! Ecologies of Art and Revolution in Mexico', in Decolonizing nature: contemporary art and the politics of ecology, Berlin: Sternberg Press., pp.133-166
  • Mónica Amor. (2005) 'Another Geometry: Gego's Reticulárea, 1969-1982', in October: The MIT Press. vol. 113, pp.101-125
  • Coffey, Mary K. (2012) 'Introduction', in How a revolutionary art became official culture: murals, museums, and the Mexican state, Durham: Duke University Press., pp.1-24
  • Frank, Patrick. (no date) 'Document 41: Beasts (Bichos) / Lygia Clark', in Manifestos and polemics in Latin American modern art.
  • Manthorne, Katherine. (2015) 'The Latin American Landscape in a Global Context', in Traveler Artists: Landscapes of Latin America in the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Collection, New York: Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros., pp.14-23
  • Artist website: Eduardo Kac,
  • Breen, Rebecca. (2013) Body-Art Performance from Latin America: Ana Mendieta and Regina José Galindo in Dialogue.
  • Leonard Folgarait. (1991) 'Revolution as Ritual: Diego Rivera's National Palace Mural', in Oxford Art Journal: Oxford University Press. vol. 14 (1) , pp.18-
  • Artist website: Marcelo Brodsky,
  • Rivera, Diego. (2012) 'The Revolutionary Spirit in Modern Art', in Mexican muralism : a critical history, Berkeley: University of California Press., pp.322-330
  • Ades, Dawn; Caragol, Taína. (2014) 'Latin American Art and the UK: An Interview', in Connecting through Collecting: 20 Years of Art from Latin America at the University of Essex, Colchester: ESCALA, Essex Collection of Art from Latin America., pp.57-70
  • Greeley, Robin Adèle. (2012) 'Manifesto of the Syndicate of Technical Workers, Painters, and Sculptors', in Mexican muralism : a critical history, Berkeley: University of California Press., pp.319-222
  • Artist website: Maria Thereza Alves – research back, decolonizing knowledge, strategies of survivance,
  • Oiticia, Hélio. (no date) 'Document 42: My Experiences with Dance', in Manifestos and Polemics in Latin American Modern Art.
  • Munday, Jeremy. (2014) 'Radical Geometry: An Introduction', in Radical geometry: modern art of South America from the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Collection, New York: Distributed in the United States and Canada by Harry N. Abrams, Inc., pp.20-31
  • Fraser, Valerie. (2014) 'Latin American Art from a UK Perspective: Politics, Ethics, and Aesthetics', in Connecting through Collecting: 20 Years of Art from Latin America at the University of Essex, Colchester: ESCALA, Essex Collection of Art from Latin America., pp.71-81
  • Galindo, Regina José; Goldman, Francisco. (2006) 'Regina José Galindo', in BOMB: New Art Publications. (94) , pp.38-44
  • Rebecca Scott Bray. (2011) 'Teresa Margolles's Crime Scene Aesthetics', in South Atlantic Quarterly: Duke University Press. vol. 110 (4) , pp.933-948
  • Artist website: Doris Salcedo,
  • Pérez Oramas, Luis. (c2003) 'Gego, Residual Retículareas and Involuntary Modernism: Shadow, Traces, and Site', in Questioning the Line: Gego in Context, [Austin]: Distributed by University of Texas Press. vol. International Center for the Arts of the Americas, pp.83-116
  • Banwell, Julia. (2015) 'From Social Corpus to Social Corpse: Social Issues in Teresa Margolles's Artwork', in Teresa Margolles and the aesthetics of death, Cardiff: University of Wales Press., pp.5-40
  • Blackmore, Lisa. (c2018) 'Colonizing Flow', in Natura: environmental aesthetics after landscape, Zurich: Diaphanes., pp.171-198
  • Barson, Tanya. (2004) 'Unland: The Place of Testimony', in Tate Papers. (1) , pp.8-8
  • Kac, Eduardo. (2009) 'Art that Looks you in the Eye: Hybrids, Clones, Mutants, Synthetics, and Transgenics', in Signs of life: bio art and beyond, Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press., pp.1-28
  • Mosquera, Geraldo. (2001) 'Good-bye identity, welcome difference: from Latin American art to art from Latin America', in Third Text. vol. 15 (56) , pp.25-32
  • Essex Collection of Art from Latin America Collection,
  • Gullar, Ferreira. (2017) 'Document 40: Neo-Concrete Manifesto', in Manifestos and Polemics in Latin American Modern Art.
  • Artist website: Guillermo Gómez-Peña,

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Essay 1 (1000 Words)  28/02/2022  30% 
Coursework   Essay 2 (1000 words)   05/05/2022  30% 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Giulia Champion, email:



External examiner

No external examiner information available for this module.
Available via Moodle
Of 505 hours, 18 (3.6%) hours available to students:
487 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information
Art History and Theory

Disclaimer: The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its Module Directory is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to programmes, modules, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to modules may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery or assessment of modules and other services, to discontinue modules and other services and to merge or combine modules. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications and module directory.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.