The Museo Reina Sofía’s Juan Antonio Ramírez Chair invites art historian José Emilio Burucúa (Buenos Aires, 1946) to conduct a seminar devoted to the cultural history of hope and a master lecture on man-nature relationships by means of artistic representations of the elephant. The pre-eminent historian returns to the Museo after the postponement of the previous edition, which could only be carried out virtually due to the pandemic, resuming last year’s pending seminar and offering a new in-person lecture.
Burucúa is the author of an art history conceived as cultural history, in which encyclopaedic erudition combines with major transversal lines that endure over time, conjugating the influences of Walter Benjamin’s constellations with surviving images of Aby Warburg to become one of the most original voices of our time.
The Juan Antonio Ramírez Chair looks to reflect on the limits and potential of art history, a discipline being constantly reinvented methodologically, under continual transformation, anti-essentialist, and characterised by its permeability with other subjects. The core idea of the programme, across its ten-plus years of existence, is to disseminate and render an account of different intellectual positions. The Chair’s name pays homage to art historian Juan Antonio Ramírez (1948–2009), one of the founders of the MA in Contemporary Art History and Visual Culture (organised by the Autonomous University of Madrid, Complutense University of Madrid and Museo Reina Sofía), and a firm advocate of the singular and essential nature of art history in our contemporary society.
José Emilio Burucúa holds a degree in Art History and History of Science from the University of Buenos Aires, where he was also head lecturer in Modern History. He has been a visiting lecturer at prestigious centres such as École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris, and the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles, among others. His works explore diverse themes such as art history in Historia, arte, cultura. De Aby Warburg a Carlo Ginzburg (Fondo de Económica, 2003), the history of laughter in Renaissance Europe in Corderos y elefantes. Nuevos aportes acerca del problema de la modernidad clásica (Miño y Dávila, 2001), chronicles of his travels in Diario de Nantes (Adriana Hidalgo Editora, 2019), and the history of perspective and the historical relationship between images and ideas. His latest work, Historia natural y mítica de los elefantes (Ampersand, 2019), written in a collaboration with Nicolás Kwiatkowski, explores the representation of the elephant in different spheres.