Touch, Taste, Turn: Unleashing the Senses in the Art of the Americas brought together interdisciplinary and cross-temporal scholarship focusing on objects and practices by makers and artists in the Americas that engage in multisensorial experiences. From art, food, and cannibalism in Brazil to orality in colonial Andean culture, physiological aesthetics of Mexican modernism, and technological style in ancient Colombian goldwork, the symposium explored how social and historical conditions shape epistemologies and multisensorial productions of art and culture in Latin America and the Caribbean. By placing an emphasis on multiple senses and their interrelation, the event drew upon and expanded on the “sensory turn,” an approach more commonly associated with disciplines such as anthropology, history, and cultural studies since the late 1980s. Panelists asked how we might move past the dominance of vision and visual culture in art to include taste, touch, and smell in our understanding of aesthetic-sensorial experience, expanding and perhaps disrupting art historical categories.
With keynote lectures by María Magdalena Campos-Pons, artist and Professor of Fine Arts, Cornelius Vanderbilt Endowed Chair of Fine Arts, Vanderbilt University, and Claire Tancons, writer and curator. The symposium closed with an original work by performance artist Castiel Vitorino Brasileiro.
The symposium was coordinated by Professors Edward J. Sullivan, Helen Gould Sheppard Professor in the History of Art at the Institute of Fine Arts; Anna Indych-López, professor of 20th-Century Latin American and Latinx Art at The Graduate Center, CUNY; Katherine Manthorne, professor of Modern Art of the Americas at The Graduate Center, CUNY; Lisa Trever, Lisa and Bernard Selz Associate Professor in Pre-Columbian Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University; Alexander Alberro, Virginia Bloedel Wright '51 Professor of Art History, Barnard College; and Kellie E. Jones, Hans Hofmann Professor of Modern Art, Columbia University. The symposium was organized by current PhD candidates Francesca Ferrari, Tie Jojima, Horacio Ramos, Julián Sánchez González, and Gwen Unger, and PhD student Juan Gabriel Ramírez Bolívar.
The Fifth Annual Symposium of Latin American Art was organized by the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University; The Graduate Center, CUNY; and Columbia University, with the support of the Institute for Studies on Latin American Art (ISLAA) and the John Rewald Endowment at The Graduate Center, CUNY.
Thursday, April 8
6 p.m.–7:30 p.m.
Welcome and Introductory Remarks
Anna Indych-López, Professor of 20th-Century Latin American and Latinx Art at the Graduate Center, CUNY
Edward J. Sullivan, Helen Gould Sheppard Professor in the History of Art at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University
María Magdalena Campos-Pons, Keynote Talk and Q&A
“Trance/Senses. Performativity: A Conversation with María Magdalena Campos-Pons”
Friday, April 9
11 a.m.–3:35 p.m.
11 a.m.–11:45 a.m.
Panel 1: Taste / Ingestion / Oral Epistemologies
Moderator: Horacio Ramos, PhD Candidate, The Graduate Center, CUNY
Discussant: Susanna Temkin, Curator at El Museo del Barrio, New York
“Tasting the Enemy: Art, Food, and Cannibalism in Brazil,” Rodrigo Brum, Lecturer in Film and Media Installation, German University in Cairo
“Stretchy, Glossy, and 'Disgusting:' Mopa Mopa practice and Orality in Colonial Andean Culture,” Catalina Ospina, PhD candidate, University of Chicago
“On Ayrson Heráclito’s Bori, 2009,” Bernardo Mosqueira, MA student, CCS Bard; artistic director, Solar dos Abacaxis, Rio de Janeiro.
11:50 a.m.–12:35 p.m.
Panel 2: Turn / Movement / Space
Moderator: Tie Jojima, PhD candidate, The Graduate Center, CUNY
Discussant: Katia Maciel, professor, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro
“Palpitaciones telúricas: Mexican Modernism and Physiological Aesthetics in Landscape Painting,” Rebeca Barquera, PhD candidate, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM)
“Ana Teresa Fernández’s Borrando la Frontera, Transborder Touch, and Refusing to Side with Colonialism,” Barbara Sostaita, PhD candidate, University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill
“Through Other Senses: Cildo Meireles’ Eureka/Blindhotland (1970-1975) and Através [Through] (1983-1989),” Caroline Alciones de Oliveira Leite, PhD candidate, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro
2 p.m.–2:45 p.m.
Panel 3: Touch / Haptic
Moderator: Gwen Unger, PhD candidate, Columbia University
Discussant: Ana M. Franco, PhD, associate professor, Department of Art History at Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá, Colombia
“Flesh Made Word: Polysemic Sensation in the Met Feather Mosaic Triptych,” Nathalie Miraval, PhD student, Yale University
“The Distinction between the Senses of Sight and Touch in the Definition of a ‘Mestizo Style,’” Cristóbal F. Barria Bignotti, boursier at the Centre allemand d’histoire de l’art, Paris
2:50 p.m.–3:35 p.m.
Panel 4: Ritual / Embodiment
Moderator: Julián Sánchez González, PhD candidate, Columbia University
Discussant: Maya Jiménez, PhD, adjunct assistant professor of Art History at Pace University and Borough of Manhattan Community College
“Scenting Reparation: Aromas as Ritual Remedies in the Colonial Paintings of Cristo en el aposentillo,” Carolina Sacristán Ramírez, PhD, Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, Campus Puebla
“La danza andina como performance y práctica religiosa para la sanación del duelo,” Antuané de la Flor, MA, University of Engineering and Technology, Lima
“Molten and Modified: Technological Style and Processual Facture in Goldwork from Ancient Colombia,” Eric Mazariegos, PhD student, Columbia University
Saturday, April 10
12 p.m.–2:15 p.m.
Welcome and Introductory Remarks
Katherine Manthorne, professor of Modern Art of the Americas at The Graduate Center, CUNY
Lisa Trever, Lisa and Bernard Selz Associate Professor in Pre-Columbian Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University
12 p.m.–1:30 p.m.
Claire Tancons, Keynote Talk and Q&A
“Mangrove as Muse: Sensing the Skin of the Unseen (Reflections on an African Diasporic Sensorium)”
1:30 p.m.–2:15 p.m.
Castiel Vitorino Brasileiro, Performance and Q&A
“A cambonagem em um incêndio inevitável”