Symposium Examines Classicism and Buen Gusto in Latin American Art

Posted in conferences (to attend) by Editor on September 7, 2010

On the heels of the exhibition on Charles IV as patron and collector, comes this University of North Texas Symposium. From the conference website:

The Politics of Taste in 18th- and 19th-Century Latin America
Meadows Museum, Dallas, 17 September 2010 (organized by the University of North Texas)

As the Bourbon monarchy took the Spanish throne in 1700, the art, architecture, and visual culture of Latin America began a gradual transformation. A defining moment in this evolution was the establishment of the Royal Academy of San Carlos in 1785 in Mexico City, a time that corresponded to the escalation of the Bourbon Reforms across the Indo-Hispanic Americas. The new academy set standards of neoclassicism and buen gusto (good taste) and sought to impose these protocols on colonial society. In Latin America, however, these two domains existed in an ambiguous relationship to one another. For example, good taste did not necessarily refer to neoclassical style. To complicate matters further, the results of artistic reform were not as expected by the proponents of the Academy. Rather than sweeping transformation in the visual arts, Latin American artists and institutions produced works that reveal cultural hybridity, the persistence and assimilation of traditional colonial styles and genres, as well as the transformation of European neoclassical forms themselves into American expressions.

This symposium poses a number of questions to interrogate this period of stylistic transition. By what processes were academic and/or neoclassical art, conforming to standards of buen gusto in Spain, transformed in Latin America? As the term “neoclassical” is not period language, what can examining period notions of buen gusto tell us about the American assimilation of European academic and/or neoclassical styles and genres? How was possessing buen gusto consciously political in Latin American contexts? What are the issues in contexts beyond Mexico City and New Spain, such as Cuba? How was neoclassicism deployed with respect to forced labor in the countryside? How did American antiquity enter discourses about neoclassicism and taste? How were the arts of taste expressed in early national contexts in Latin America? This symposium seeks more contextual understandings of this complex phenomenon in Latin American art history.

9:00  Introduction
9:15   Susan Deans-Smith, University of Texas at Austin
10:00 Ray Hernández-Durán, University of New Mexico
10:45 Kelly Donahue-Wallace, University of North Texas
11:30 Paul Niell, University of North Texas
12:15 Luncheon
1:30  Charles Burroughs, Case Western Reserve University
2:15  Robert Bradley, University of Texas Pan American
3:00  Magali Carrera, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
3:45  Stacie G. Widdifield, University of Arizona
4:30  Discussion

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