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"Touched Bodies: The Performative Turn in Latin American Art"

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Online Reading Session # 9 Mara Polgovsky Ezcurra "Touched Bodies: The Performative Turn in Latin American Art"

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Online Reading Session # 9

Mara Polgovsky Ezcurra "Touched Bodies: The Performative Turn in Latin American Art"

In this session, we will discuss with Mara Polgovsky Ezcurra the introduction, chapter 1 and the conclusion of her book "Touched Bodies: The Performative Turn in Latin American Art", published by Rutgers in 2019.

Abstract of the publication:

What is the role of pleasure and pain in the politics of art? In "Touched Bodies", Mara Polgovsky Ezcurra approaches this question as she examines the flourishing of live and intermedial performance in Latin America during times of authoritarianism and its significance during transitions to democracy. Based on original documents and innovative readings, her book brings politics and ethics to the discussion of artistic developments during the “long 1980s”. She describes the rise of performance art in the context of feminism, HIV-activism, and human right movements, taking a close look at the work of Diamela Eltit and Raúl Zurita from Chile, León Ferrari and Liliana Maresca from Argentina, and Marcos Kurtycz, the No Grupo art collective, and Proceso Pentágono from Mexico. The comparative study of the work of these artists attests to a performative turn in Latin American art during the 1980s that, like photography and film before, recast the artistic field as a whole, changing the ways in which we perceive art and understand its role in society.

Shortlisted for the 2020 Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present Book Prize and winner of the 2019 Art Journal Prize from the College Art Association.

Additional reading material: Mara Polgovsky Ezcurra (2018) "Beyond Evil: Politics, Ethics, and Religion in León Ferrari’s Illustrated Nunca más", Art Journal, 77:3, 20-47

About the author:

MARA POLGOVSKY EZCURRA is an art historian and cultural theorist. She joined the History of Art Department at Birkbeck, University of London in 2018, after finishing her PhD and holding a Junior Research Fellowship at the University of Cambridge. Her research focuses on contemporary Latin American Art and Intellectual History, with a particular emphasis on the politics of aesthetics, the body, and dimensions of agency and "liveness" in ecological and feminist artistic practice. She is the recipient of the 2019 Art Journal award and she is currently a Leverhulme Research Fellow. Her publications include the monograph "Touched Bodies: The Performative Turn in Latin American Art" (Rutgers University Press, 2019, shortlisted for the 2020 Book Prize of the Association for the Study of the Art of the Present), the forthcoming essay collection "Marcos Kurtycz: Corporeality Unbound" (Fauna-Jumex, 2021), and the edited volumes "Sabotage Art: Politics and Iconoclasm in Contemporary Latin America" (I.B. Tauris, 2016, edited with Sophie Halart), "Eugenio Polgovsky: Poetics of the Real/La poética de lo real" (Ambulante-Tecolote Films, 2020), and "Re-Public: The New Public Art in Mexico" (under review).

Coordination and moderation: Katerina Valdivia Bruch

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