Art in Latin America
Art History and Theory
Undergraduate: Level 6
Thursday 06 October 2022
Friday 16 December 2022
14 September 2022
Requisites for this module
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, the Mexican 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
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
At the end of the module, you should have developed skills that enable you to:
1. Critically describe, analyse and interpret works of art and/or architecture featured in the module, considering their production and circulation
2. Engage in independent research by sourcing for and using primary and secondary texts
3. Participate thoughtfully in class discussions and engage constructively with feedback
4. Write in a sophisticated and informed manner on the relationship between works of art and both primary and secondary sources, and to form an argument relating to various aspects of the topic
1. Landscape and colonialism
2. Mexican Revolution and Muralism
3. Geometric Abstraction and Modernity
4. Environmental Aesthetics
5. Conflict, Violence and the Body
There will be a two-hour combined lecture and seminar each week. The lectures will be available on Listen Again.
Week 11 is Reading Week.
Essex Collection of Art from Latin America Collection
(no date). Available at: https://escala.org.uk/home
Ades, D. and Caragol, T. (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. Available at: https://escala.org.uk/ld.php?content_id=33799680
Fraser, V. (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. Available at: https://escala.org.uk/ld.php?content_id=33799680
Holden, R.H. and Villars, R. (2013b) ‘What is Latin America?’, in Contemporary Latin America: 1970 to the Present
. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 5–19. Available at: https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=475001&site=ehost-live&ebv=EB&ppid=pp_5
Ramírez, M.C. (1995) ‘ ’Beyond “the Fantastic”: Framing Identity in US Exhibitions of Latin American Art’, in Beyond the Fantastic: Contemporary Art Criticism from Latin America. London: Institute of International Visual Arts (inIVA), pp. 229–246.
Mosquera, G. (2001) ‘Good-bye identity, welcome difference: from Latin American art to art from Latin America’, Third Text
, 15(56), pp. 25–32. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/09528820108576926
Manthorne, K. (2015) ‘The Latin American Landscape in a Global Context’, in K. Manthorne (ed.) Traveler Artists: Landscapes of Latin America in the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Collection
. New York: Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, pp. 14–23. Available at: http://coleccioncisneros
Pérez Oramas, L. (2015) ‘Landscape and Foundation: Frans Post and the Invention of the American Landscape’, in K. Manthorne (ed.) Traveler artists?: landscapes of Latin America from the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Collection
. New York: Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, pp. 33–39. Available at: http://coleccioncisneros
Traveler Artists to Latin America | Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros
(no date). Available at: http://www.coleccioncisneros.org/collections/traveler-artists-latin-america
Coffey, M.K. (2012) ‘Introduction’, in How a revolutionary art became official culture: murals, museums, and the Mexican state
. Durham: Duke University Press, pp. 1–24. Available at: https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=599788&site=ehost-live&ebv=EB&ppid=pp_1
Leonard Folgarait (1991) ‘Revolution as Ritual: Diego Rivera’s National Palace Mural’, Oxford Art Journal
, 14(1). Available at: https://www.jstor.org/stable/1360275?refreqid=excelsior%3Ae7ff8f8a59479719bccc160f49717d3c
Anreus, A., Folgarait, L. and Greeley, R.A. (2012a) ‘Manifesto of the Syndicate of Technical Workers, Painters, and Sculptors’, in Mexican muralism?: a critical history. Berkeley: University of California Press, pp. 319–222.
Rivera, D. (2012) ‘The Revolutionary Spirit in Modern Art’, in Mexican muralism?: a critical history. Berkeley: University of California Press, pp. 322–330.
Jiménez, A. (2008b) ‘The Challenge of the Times, 1949-1974’, in A. Jiménez (ed.) Alfredo Boulton and his contemporaries: critical dialogues in Venezuelan art, 1912-1974. New York: Museum of Modern Art, pp. 156–170.
Villaneuva, C.R. (2017) ‘Integration of the Arts’, in P. Frank (ed.) Manifestos and polemics in Latin American modern art
. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, pp. 127–131. Available at: https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=1423302&site=ehost-live&ebv=EB&ppid=pp_127
Otero, A. (no date) ‘Part Seven: Document 36: Statements on Colorhythms and Sculpture’, in Manifestos and Polemics in Latin American Modern Art
. Available at: https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=1423302&site=ehost-live&authtype=sso&custid=s9814295
Pérez-Barreiro, G. et al. (2014) ‘Radical Geometry: An Introduction’, in Radical geometry: modern art of South America from the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Collection. [London]: Royal Academy of Arts, pp. 20–31.
Alejandro Otero’s Colorhythms | Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros
(no date). Available at: http://www.coleccioncisneros.org/alejandro-oteros-colorhythms
Ciudad Universitaria de Caracas - UNESCO World Heritage Centre
(no date). Available at: https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/986/
Blackmore, L. (2018) ‘Colonizing Flow’, in Natura: environmental aesthetics after landscape
. Zurich: Diaphanes, pp. 171–198. Available at: https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=1814078&site=ehost-live&ebv=EB&ppid=pp_171
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
||Essay 1 - 1500 words
||Essay 2 - 2000 words
Exam format definitions
- Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
- In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
- In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
- In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary,
for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.
Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Lisa Blackmore, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Lisa Blackmore
Dr Dominic Paterson
University of Glasgow
Senior Lecturer in History of Art / Curator of Contemporary Art
Available via Moodle
No lecture recording information available for this module.
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