Visual Culture Studies

A Section of the Latin American Studies Association

Section Annual Reports

Annual Report LASA 2021-2022

1. A summary of the business meeting including the number of people that attended, topics discussed and conclusions.

The VCS business meeting was held via Zoom on May 6, 2022 and attended by 12 members. It was co-chaired by Ernesto Capello and Meghan Tierney. As the Secretary/Treasurer was unable to attend, Ernesto Capello delivered the report on our section balance, which is $ 3,708.04. This number reflects the minimal expenses for in-person meetings in the past several years due to the Coivd-19 pandemic. Most of our expenses have been linked to our prizes as well as defraying the costs of memberships and attendance at LASA for participants in our sponsored panels.

The results of the section’s prizes were then announced (see below for full information).

The meeting then turned to a discussion of our activities at the current LASA congress. This included an announcement of an ongoing screening event titled “Between a Flower and a Bomb: Latin American Short Films / BAMPFA Collection.” This was organized by Jessica Gordon Burroughs in collaboration with the San Francisco Cinematheque and BAMPFA and included virtual screenings of three films from the BAMPFA collection.

We also recapped the section sponsored roundtable “Activismo visual: el movimiento chicano en las fotografías de La Raza” which was organized by Ed McCaughan and coincided with the inauguration of Galería de la Raza’s new space in San Francisco as well as an exhibit about the newspaper “La Raza” at the Galería. Besides Ed McCaughan, the roundtable featured Carmen Cebreros Urzaiz, Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana; Katynka Z. Martinez, San Francisco State University; Ani Rivera, Galería de la Raza; and Devra Weber, University of California, Riverside. Luis Garza unfortunately was unable to attend.

Finally, Meghan Tierney shared details of the upcoming session that she had organized entitled “Transnational Collecting & Collections of Latin American Visual-Material Culture” which also included the participation of presenters María José Jarrín, Aix-Marseille Université; Allison Caplan, University of California, Santa Barbara; Andrew Roddick, McMaster University; and Donna Yates, Maastricht University. Lori B. Diel, Texas Christian University acted as a discussant.

The Co-Chairs, Ernesto Capello and Meghan Tierney, then reported on a series of conversations that have been developing within the broader world of LASA sections concerning questions of governance within LASA. These have led to congresses of section chairs as well as an ongoing dialogue with the LASA executive council. They have also fostered discussion about transparency in LASA’s use of its funds as well as the desire to foster a more inclusive and anti-racist culture across the association. They also reported on the possibility of LASA developing an “Amigos de LASA” pseudo-membership category still under development that could be more flexibly applied at lower costs. Attendees noted that this could add to the potential for greater collaboration with artists, curators, and visual culture practitioners in the future.

Finally, the Co-Chairs announced that the early date of the LASA congress led us to decide to hold our elections virtually and called for participants to self-nominate by May 23rd, at which point elections would be held. As noted below, these were held at that time.

2. The results of the Section’s elections.

As noted above, we issued a call for nominations virtually with a deadline of 23 May for the positions of Co-Chair, Secretary/Treasurer and two at large positions. We received one nomination for the co-chair position and two for open council member positions and Bethany Wade agreed to move into the Secretary Treasurer position for the remainder of her term on the council (2022-2023). Instead of holding a full elections, the co-chair (Lorna Dillon) and at-large committee members (Stephanie Pridgeon and Jessica Gordon-Burroughs) were confirmed automatically, being the sole nominees for the positions. The resulting Council is listed below:

VCS Council members:

Co-chair: Meghan Tierney/Ursinus College (2021-2023)

Co-chair: Lorna Dillon/ University of Cambridge (2022-2024)

Secretary/Treasurer: Bethany Wade/Emory University (2022-2023)

Council Members: Sara Garzón/University of Vermont (2021-2023); Jessica Gordon-Burroughs/ University of Edinburgh (2022-24); Stephanie Pridgeon/ Bates College (2022-24)

3. A review of the activities and plans for the coming term.

As in previous years, the VCS section aims to continue to organize a pre-conference workshop and sponsor at least two section panels at LASA, given the success of both formats of section activity. The VCS section will also continue to award a prize for the best book and best essay in Latin American Visual Culture Studies and to collaborate with the Association of Latin American Art on the Afro Latin American/Afro-Latinx Scholarship Prize for Best Article. Building on the success of our networking events in 2020-2021, we are planning further opportunities for section members to informally meet and network which unfortunately were not extensively pursued in 2021-2022 due to ongoing pressures from the Covid-19 pandemic. We were excited to learn about the possibility of the Amigos de LASA initiative and hope this can lead to new options for practitioner collaborations.

4. The names of the Section’s grantees:

The Visual Culture Studies Section Prize Committee, which this year consisted of Tamara Walker (University of Toronto), Ernesto Capello (Macalester College), Meghan Tierney (Ursinus College), and Bethany Wade (Emory University), worked with members of ALAA (Association of Latin American Art) and previous winners Jessica Gordon-Burroughs (University of Edinburgh) and Carolina Rueda (University of Oklahoma) to determine the following awards.

Inaugural Association of Latin American Art / LASA-Visual Culture Studies Afro Latin American/Afro-Latinx Scholarship Prize for Best Article

Valerio, Miguel A. “Architects of Their Own Humanity: Race, Devotion, and Artistic Agency in Afro-Brazilian Confraternal Churches in Eighteenth-Century Salvador and Ouro Preto.” Colonial Latin American Review, vol. 30, no. 2, 2021, pp. 238–271.

Best Book in Latin American Visual Culture Studies

Presented by the Visual Cultures Studies Section

Finalists:

Fattal, Alexander L., and Doris Sommer. Shooting Cameras for Peace: Youth, Photography, and the Colombian Armed Conflict. Translated by Andy Klatt and Ramírez María Clemencia. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Peabody Museum Press, 2020.

Pridgeon, Stephanie. Revolutionary Visions: Jewish Life and Politics in Latin American Film. Latinoamericana. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2021.

Winner:

Mazadiego, Elize. Dematerialization and the Social Materiality of Art: Experimental Forms in Argentina, 1955-1968. Foro Hispánico, Volume 62. Leiden: Brill Rodopi, 2021.

Elize Mazadiego’s Dematerialization and the Social Materiality of Art analyzes a post Pop-art moment in Argentina that showed the advent of a new age of dematerialization in the 1960s¬ –understood as new art appearances neighboring the “ephemeral qualities of ‘real experience’” and new experiences with the changing material status of the object– in the context of the discontinuous process of the country’s modernization. The book begins with the last years of Perón’s government before the coup that would overthrow him, showing how artists opposed the isolation of art from life by actively engaging the world around them, and ends in 1968, a year that shows a transition into a more politically charged art.

The book establishes a dialogue between these new practices in synchrony with other international artistic developments, highlighting the changing status of the art object internationally, thus, helping to effectively reposition Latin American art into a less peripheral plane.

Dematerialization and the Social Materiality of Art is a thorough study that traces and analyzes the trajectory of developments, interpretations, and debates regarding art dematerialization and includes an impressive selection of pictures from that time. It is a welcomed contribution to the study of these art practices and experiments that emerged in Argentina in the 1960s in particular and to the scholarship written about Latin American visual culture in general.

- Dr. Carolina Rueda, Associate Professor of Film and Media Studies at the University of Oklahoma

Best Essay in Latin American Visual Culture Studies

Presented by the Visual Cultures Studies Section

Honorable Mention:

Lapin Dardashti, Abigail. “Abstracted Resistance: Third-Worldism in Rubem Valentim’s Afro-Brazilian Symbolism, 1963–66.” Art Journal 80, no. 3 (2021): 56-77.

Winner:

Flores, Tatiana. ““Latinidad Is Cancelled”: Confronting an Anti-Black Construct.” Latin American and Latinx Visual Culture 3, no. 3 (July 2021): 58–79.

Tatiana Flores “‘Latinidad Is Cancelled’: Confronting an Anti-Black Construct” is a tour de force in the reconceptualization of the geopolitical framing of Latinamericanism, in broad terms, and its counterpart of “latinidad,” more specifically. Flores redefines the limits of “Latin America” in relation to (and against the discursive framing of) current anti-racist movements, which, in her argument, replicate, if unintentionally, an internalized national frame rooted in US exceptionalism. At the same time, she detects a parallel, if inverse, movement in which “latinidad” has likewise historically erased blackness with equal force. Building on an important scholarly tradition informed by Walter Mignolo, Mauricio Tenorio-Trillo, Julio Ramos, among others, in Flores’ brilliant essay, Latin America’s outlines and conceptual reach are redrawn within a hemispheric model operating in the shadow of the legacies of transatlantic slavery and the plantation societies that it engendered and sustained.

Flores hereby reframes the stakes of the discussion surrounding the intellectual tradition of Latin Americanism but also of North American anti-racist movements. She astutely illuminates their respective blind spots and limitations, but also reassesses their enduring power, breathtakingly illustrated through key readings and re-readings of works by Afro-Latinx artists and their corresponding politics of representation. As such, in this key essay, in which art history, visual culture, and multiple intellectual histories and traditions intersect and intertwine, Flores boldly reads with and against the grain of the tumultuous epoch in which we find ourselves as scholars and citizens. Opening up new horizons of critical possibility, Flores’ essay marks a significant, and, in this committee’s view, disciplinarily redefining, contribution to the field of Latin American visual culture.

Dr. Jessica Gordon-Burroughs, Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Latin American Studies and Visual Culture, University of Edinburgh (UK)

Annual Report LASA 2020-2021

1. A summary of the business meeting including the number of people that attended, topics discussed and conclusions.

At the VCS business meeting, which was attended by 23 members, the election of the new VCS executive committee members were made by acclamation and the prizes of the VCS section were announced. The Council reported on activities over the previous year, including virtual member social/networking events as well as an initiative to develop a new prize in collaboration with the Association for Latin American Art of the College Art Association. Finally, the assembled members considered possible future activities including expanding collaborations with artists and practitioners alongside expanding our web presence and marking the 10th anniversary of our initial organizing meeting at next year’s congress in San Francisco.

2. The results of the Section’s elections.

VCS executive committee members:

Co-chair: Ernesto Capello/Macalester College (2021-2022)

Co-chair: Meghan Tierney/Ursinus College (2021-2023)

Tamara Walker/U Toronto (2021-2022)

Giuliana Borea/University of Essex (2021-2022)

Bethany Wade/Emory University (2021-2023)

Sara Garzón/Cornell University (2021-2023)

There was one nomination for the co-chair position (2021-2023) available on the section’s executive board and one nomination for an at-large committee member (2021-2023). Instead of elections, the co-chair (Meghan Tierney) and at-large committee member (Sara Garzón) were confirmed by acclamation at the VCS business meeting during the virtual LASA congress in May.

3. A review of the activities and plans for the coming term.

As in previous years, the VCS section aims to continue to organize a pre-conference workshop and sponsor at least two section panels at LASA, given the success of both formats of section activity. The VCS section will also continue to a prize for the best book and best essay in Latin American Visual Culture Studies. Building on the success of our networking events in 2020-2021, we are planning further opportunities for section members to informally meet and network. We are also hoping to expand our web presence by developing a more intricate website to build on our already existing social media presence (our Facebook group currently has over 1,400 members and regularly serves as a locus for announcements and networking). We are also hoping to be able to bring more of our network formally into the section, perhaps through developing new options for practitioner collaborations.

4. The names of the Section’s grantees.

The Visual Culture Studies Section Prize Committee, which this year consisted of Ernesto Capello (Macalester College), Meghan Tierney (Ursinus College), Tamara Walker (University of Toronto), and Talía Dajes (University of Utah) worked with previous winners Jennifer Jolly (Ithaca College) and Lesley Wolff (Texas Tech University) to determine the following awards.

Best Book in Latin American Visual Culture Studies

Presented by the Visual Cultures Studies Section

Finalists:

Karen Benezra. Dematerialization: Art and Design in Latin America. Studies on Latin American Art, 2. Oakland, California: University of California Press, 2020.

Carolina Rueda. Ciudad Y Fantasmagoría: Dimensiones De La Mirada En El Cine Urbano De Latinoamérica Del Siglo Xxi. Santiago: Editorial Cuarto Propio, 2019.

Winner:

Ángeles Donoso-Macaya.

The Insubordination of Photography: Documentary Practices Under Chile's Dictatorship. Reframing Media, Technology, and Culture in Latin/o America. Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 2020.

The Insubordination of Photography demonstrates the power of scholarship to bring a field into being. Far more than a study of documentary photography in Chile during the Pinochet dictatorship, this book animates the diverse practices of photography, from photographic production and distribution to efforts to archive, copy, even reembody photos of disappeared loved ones. Ángeles Donoso-Macaya’s efforts to reconstruct the field of Chilean photography—a field that its very practitioners at times doubted—brings together a range of archival, oral history, and photocopied publications to create a testimony to Chilean photographers’ use of their art as a tool of resistance. Even blank-space placeholders for photographs in censored journals are reinvested with significance, as we are led to understand the importance of Chilean photography, as much for its visible absences as its persistence under conditions of censorship, surveillance, and deprivation. Ángeles Donoso-Macaya draws readers in with her highly engaging and at times surprising account of this period and has made a welcome contribution to the literature on Latin American and Chilean visual culture, history, photography and art history. -- Dr. Jennifer Jolly, Professor of Art History at Ithaca College

Best Essay in Latin American Visual Culture Studies

Presented by the Visual Cultures Studies Section

Finalists:

Cole Rizki. “Familiar Grammars of Loss and Belonging: Curating Trans Kinship in Post-Dictatorship Argentina.” Journal of Visual Culture 19, no. 2 (August 2020): 197–211. https://doi.org/10.1177/1470412920941905.

Alena Robin. “Antonio Enríquez, Felipe Pastor Y San Ángel Predicando: Un Cuadro Desconocido En La Colección Del Museo Regional De Guadalajara.” Anales Del Instituto De Investigaciones Estéticas 42, no. 117 (Sept 2020): 259-87. https://doi.org/10.22201/iie.18703062e.2020.117.2733.

Winner:

Jessica Gordon-Burroughs.

“The Pixelated Afterlife of Nicolás Guillén Landirán: Migratory Forms.” JCMS: Journal of Cinema and Media Studies 59, no. 2 (2020): 23 42. doi:10.1353/cj.2020.0001.

This article exemplifies and innovates the field of visual culture studies through subject and methodology alike. Gordon-Burroughs provides a rich history of Afro-Cuban film maker Nicolás Guillén Landirán and adeptly interrogates the material life and agency of film and video in the aftermath of the Cuban revolution. She complicates current understandings of the Cuban-diasporic film archive by examining the production and reception of his final video work, Inside Downtown (2001), in terms of the video’s digital materiality and transnational memory. Gordon-Burroughs situates this discourse within the complex dynamics of race as it informs Guillén Landirán’s subjects and reception in the Cuban diaspora, where Afro-diasporic subjects are frequently erased or silenced. This article thus amplifies racial tensions in the Cuban diaspora and problematizes their intervention into cinematic memory and archives. While she raises important complexities within Cuban and Cuban-diasporic cinema, Gordon-Burroughs’s rigorous material and visual analysis also opens up new understandings of these previously invisibilized subjects. Gordon-Burroughs poignantly focuses her analysis on a video, Inside Downtown, in which Guillén Landirán interviews Miami-based artists in exile—a condition that echoes his own position as a Cuban exile. Layers of erasure, diaspora, memory and struggles for visibility thus dynamically intersect in this article, presenting an exciting model for not only cinema studies, but also visual culture writ large in terms of her treatment of subjects, objects, materials, and identities.

-- Dr. Lesley Wolff, Assistant Professor of Latinx and Latin American Art History at Texas Tech University

Annual Report LASA 2019-2020 

1. A summary of the business meeting including the number of people that attended, topics discussed and conclusions.

At the VCS business meeting the election of the new VCS executive committee members were made by acclamation and the prizes of the VCS section were announced.

2. The results of the Section’s elections.

VCS exec comm members:

Co-chair: Tamara Walker//U Toronto  (2019-2021)

Co-chair: Ernesto Capello/Macalester College (2018-2021)

Talía Dajes/University of Utah  (2018-2021)

Giuliana Borea/University of London (2019-2021)

Meghan Tierney/University of Minnesota (2019-2021)

Bethany Wade/University of Pittsburgh (2019-2021)

There was one nomination for the co-chair position available on the section’s executive board. Instead of elections, the co-chair was confirmed by acclamation at the VCS business meeting during the virtual LASA congress in May.

3. A review of the activities and plans for the coming term.

As in previous years, the VCS section aims to continue to organize a pre-conference workshop and sponsor at least two section panels at LASA, given the success of both formats of section activity. The VCS section will also continue to a prize for the best book and best essay in Latin American Visual Culture Studies. Finally, in response to a member survey completed in May 2020, the VCS section has initiated attempts to bring our membership together outside of annual conferences and create opportunities to learn more about one another’s research activities. To that end we held a virtual networking event in July, and an online teaching workshop in August, and re-introduced our newsletter. Plans for more installments of the aforementioned activities are in the works for the upcoming academic year progresses.

4. The names of the Section’s grantees:

The Visual Culture Studies Section Prize Committee, which this year consisted of Ernesto Capello (Macalester College), Meghan Tierney (Ursinus College), and Tamara Walker (University of Toronto)

Best Book in Latin American Visual Culture Studies

Presented by the Visual Cultures Studies Section

Winner
Jennifer Jolly

Ithaca College

Creating Pátzcuaro, Creating Mexico: Art, Tourism, and Nation Building Under Lázaro Cárdenas (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2018)

Best Essay in Latin American Visual Culture Studies

Presented by the Visual Cultures Studies Section

Winner
Sara Garzón

Cornell University

"Manuel Amaru Cholango: Decolonizing Technologies and the Construction of Indigenous Futures." Arts 8, no. 4 (2019): 163

Honorable Mention
Lesley A. Wolff

Texas Tech University

“From Raw to Refined: Edouard Duval-Carrié’s Sugar Conventions (2013),” African and Black Diaspora: An International Journal 12, no. 3 (2019): 355-374

 

Annual Report LASA 2018-2019 

 1. A summary of the business meeting including the number of people that attended, topics discussed and conclusions
 
At the VCS business meeting the election of the new VCS executive committee members were made by acclamation and the prizes of the VCS section were announced. 7 members of the VCS section attended the business meeting.
2. The results of the Section’s elections
Co-chair: Liliana Gómez/University of Zurich (2018-2020)
Co-chair: Tamara Walker/U Toronto (2019-2021)
Council Members:
Ernesto Capello/Macalester College (2018-2020)
Talía Dajes/University of Utah (2018-2020)
Giuliana Borea/University of London (2019-2021)
Meghan Tierney/University of Minnesota (2019-2021)
Bethany Wade/University of Pittsburgh (2019-2021)
Since there were three nominations for the three positions available in the section’s executive board, all three of them have been selected as new council members. Instead of elections, they were confirmed by acclamation at the VCS business meeting during the LASA congress in Boston.
3. A review of the activities and plans for the coming term
 
 
As in previous years, the VCS section aims to continue to organize a pre-conference workshop and sponsor at least two section panels at LASA, given the success of both formats of section activity. Also, the VCS section will organize for the next term a prize for the best book and best essay in Latin American Visual Culture Studies. The Visual Culture Studies Section Prize Committee is TBD.
4. The names of the Section’s grantees
 
 

The Visual Culture Studies Section Prize Committee, which this year consisted of Ernesto Capello (Macalester College), Barbara Mundy (Fordham University), and Meghan Tierney (University of Minnesota).

Best Book in Latin American Visual Culture Studies

Presented by the Visual Cultures Studies Section

Winner

Maria de Lourdes Ghidolli

Universidad de Buenos Aires

Estereotipos en negro: Representaciones y autorrepresentaciones visuales de afroporteños en el siglo XIX. Rosario: Prohistoria Ediciones, 2016

Honorable Mention

Michele Greet

George Mason University

Transatlantic Encounters: Latin American Artists in Paris Between the Wars. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2018.

Best Essay in Latin American Visual Culture Studies

Presented by the Visual Cultures Studies Section

Winner

Tatiana Reinoza

Dartmouth College

The Island Within the Island: Remapping Dominican York. Archives of American Art Journal 57.2 (Fall 2018), 4-27