As far as the construction of modernity in Latin America is concerned, the conception of historical avant-garde movements alters when surveyed historically and from Latin American contexts. The sense of primitivism, the role of popular culture, the presence of historicism, the connection between different national spheres and the desire for social revolution lend a radically novel meaning that differs to that of European avant-garde movements. Thus, these variables are all explored in a tour around the exhibition The Avant-Garde Networks of Amauta: Argentina, Mexico, and Peru in the 1920s, led by the show’s curators, Beverly Adams and Natalia Majluf. In addition, art historians Martín Bergel, Renato González Mello, Ana Longoni and Natalia Majluf will hold a round-table discussion to debate indigenism in the theory and art criticism of Peruvian intellectual José Carlos Mariátegui (1894–1930), and its reverberations around Mexico and Argentina.
With the aim of addressing the reappearance of indigenousness as a rupture from modernity in the crisis of the 1970s and 1980s, a lecture will be conducted by Mexican artist and theorist Mariana Botey, who will engage in dialogue with Peruvian researcher and activist Elisa Fuenzalida. The neo-avant-garde movements and experimental art from these decades would re-write Latin America’s past as a history of violence and the colonial domination of bodies, territory and ideology. The figure of the other — represented in indigenisms, Negritude, the woman, the lesbian, the feminist, the queer, the poof, the transsexual – gives rise to a reconsideration of aesthetic and cultural practices in the region from the association between art and social and identity movements.
Lastly, the contemporary approach to indigenism as an ensemble of knowledge linked to animist, decolonial and naturalist thought, articulating other relationships between subject and world, is analysed in a conversation between Colombian sociologist and cultural theorist Santiago Castro-Gómez and Spanish philosopher Montserrat Galcerán. The focus of the debate will thus rest on indigenism as a system of intersubjective, natural and universal knowledge, and on the way in which indigenist thought can construct a new logic of affection, care and relationships outside the expansion of colonial reason, which is rooted in the exploitation and conquest of the other, be it nature, society or territory.
Beverly Adams is an art historian. She has been the curator of Latin American art in the Blanton Museum of Art, at the University of Texas, since 2013, and, with Natalia Majluf, she is the curator of The Avant-Garde Networks of Amauta: Argentina, Mexico, and Peru in the 1920s. From 1989 to 1995 she was in charge of the Diane and Bruce Halle Collection (Scottsdale, Arizona).
Mariana Botey is an artist, theorist and curator. She holds a PhD in Visual Studies from the University of California, Irvine (2010), and is a professor of Modern/Contemporary Latin American Art History in the Visual Arts Department at the same university in San Diego. Her experimental documentaries have been screened in the Guggenheim Museum and The Anthology Film Archives (both in New York), Museo Carrillo Gil (Mexico City), the RedCat Theater (Los Angeles), and Museo Reina Sofía, among other art centres, galleries and festivals. She is also the co-editor of Fantasma, Fetiche, Fantasmagoría: Ensayos en Estética y Emancipación (Siglo XXI, 2014) and the author of Zonas de Disturbio: espectros del México indígena en la modernidad (Siglo XXI, 2014). Since 2009, she has worked as a founding member of the editorial and curatorial committee of El Espectro Rojo, an international network that studies the critical intersections and contemporary presence of indigenism.
Martín Bergel is a historian and researcher in the Argentinian organisations the National Scientific and Technical Research Councul (CONICET) and the Centre of Intellectual History at the University of Quilmes, and guest researcher at the Ibero-American Institute of Berlin and Harvard University. Moreover, he is a professor of Contemporary Latin American History at the University of San Martín (UNSAM). He is the author of El Oriente desplazado. Los intelectuales y los orígenes del tercermundismo en Argentina (Universidad Nacional de Quilmes, 2015) and Los viajes latinoamericanos de la Reforma Universitaria (HyA ediciones, 2018), and is currently putting together an anthology of texts by Mariátegui, to be published by Siglo XXI.
Santiago Castro-Gómez is a philosopher. He is a professor of Philosophy at the University of Javeriana and the University of Santo Tomás, both in Bogotá, and has lectured at Duke University and the University of Pittsburgh, in the USA, and at the University of Frankfurt, Germany. His numerous publications include La hybris del punto cero. Ciencia, raza e ilustración en la Nueva Granada (1750-1816) (CEJA-Centro Editorial Javieriano, 2005), El giro decolonial: reflexiones para una diversidad epistémica más allá del capitalismo global (Siglo del hombre, 2011), Crítica de la razón latinoamericana (Siglo del hombre, 2011) and La poscolonialidad explicada a los niños (Universidad del Cauca, 2005).
Elisa Fuenzalida is a researcher, writer and activist. Her work analyses the relationships between sexuality, gender, violence and colonialism, in addition to the ties and displacements between memory and diaspora in different ‘sudaka’ (South American) collectives in Madrid. Her publications include Buscando la felicidad de manera equivocada (Honolulu Books, 2013) and Parásitos (Libros del Autoengaño, 2014).
Montserrat Galcerán is a philosopher and teacher. She is a professor of Philosophy at the Complutense University of Madrid, an activist, and has been a councillor for Madrid City Council since 2015. She is the author of La bárbara Europa. Una mirada desde el postcolonialismo y la decolonialidad (Traficantes de sueños, 2016), Deseo y libertad. Una investigación sobre los presupuestos de la acción colectiva (Traficantes de sueños, 2007), Innovación tecnológica y sociedad de masas (Síntesis, 1997), La invención del marxismo, (Iepala, 1997) and Filosofía para Bachillerato (Akal, 1998), among other works.
Renato González Mello is an art historian. He holds a PhD in Art History from the Autonomous University of Mexico, where he is a lecturer, and, since 1992, a researcher in its Institute of Aesthetic Research. His publications most notably include José Clemente Orozco. La pintura mural mexicana (Conaculta, 1997), José Clemente Orozco in the United States, 1927-1934 (with Diane H. Miliotes, Norton, 2002), Orozco, ¿pintor revolucionario? (UNAM, 2005) and La máquina de pintar. Rivera, Orozco y la invención de un lenguaje, emblemas, trofeos y cadáveres (UNAM, 2008).
Ana Longoni is an art historian and currently director of Public Activities at the Museo Reina Sofía. Moreover, she is a founder and member of the Southern Conceptualisms Network, and author of a wide-ranging corpus of written and exhibition work on the relationships between art, activism and memory in Latin America, for instance Del Di Tella a “Tucumán Arte”: vanguardia artística y política en el ´68 argentino (with Mariano Mestman, El cielo por asalto, 2000), El siluetazo (with Gustavo Bruzzone, Adriana Hidalgo, 2008), Roberto Jacoby: el deseo nace del derrumbe (Museo Reina Sofía, 2011), Óscar Masotta: la teoría como acción (MUAC, UNAM, Mexico, and MACBA, Barcelona, 2017) and Losing the Human Form. A Seismic Image of the 1980s in Latin America (inside the Southern Conceptualisms Network, Museo Reina Sofía, 2012).
Natalia Majluf is a curator and art historian who currently occupies the Simón Bolívar Visiting Chair at the University of Cambridge. Her studies focus on the history of Latin American art, from the period of independence until the mid-twentieth-century. From 1995 to 2018 she was head of Collections and later director at the Museo de Arte de Lima (MALI). She has directed the shows Fernando Bryce. Dibujando la historia moderna (2011), Sabogal (2013) and Chambi (2015), and, with Beverly Adams, she is the curator of the exhibition The Avant-Garde Networks of Amauta: Argentina, Mexico, and Peru in the 1920s.