CFP: Canons and Repertoires: Constructing the Visual Arts in the Hispanic World, Durham University, 20–21 June 2019, deadline 31 March!

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The visual arts in Spain have long been haunted by the spectres of six giants: El Greco, Ribera, Velázquez, Murillo, Goya and Picasso. Still today, these canonical figures tower over all others and continue to shape the story of Spanish art, which has been traditionally told in monographic form. Although the strength of the Spanish canon has informed different disciplines (literature, aesthetics, performing arts), given the recent ‘material turn’, the prosopographical dimension of the visual arts in Spain poses a disciplinary challenge. Similarly, following the ‘global turn’, the visual arts of Iberia pose a geographical challenge, intersecting with the Mediterranean, Arabic, Latin American, British and continental European worlds. The notions of ‘Spain’ and ‘Spanish art’, therefore, are necessarily nebulous and problematic, raising a host of questions: To what extent does Spanish art exist before the establishment of Spain as a nation state? To what extent is the art of the Habsburg and Bourbon empires a Spanish art outside Spain? What is the role of Spain in the wider canon of European art? Who has exploited the visual arts of the Hispanic world, geographically, politically and intellectually? These questions ultimately point to a tension between canons and repertoires; between centres and peripheries; and between consolidating the ‘core’ and expanding the ‘remit’ of the so-called Spanish school.

This conference will explode the disciplinary, material and geographical limits of Spanish art, inaugurating the Zurbarán Centre as a critical and innovative research institution for the study of Spanish and Latin American art in the twenty-first century. Papers may challenge the canonical construction of Spanish art, which can be traced back to writings from Palomino’s Lives of the Eminent Spanish Painters and Sculptors (1724) to Stirling Maxwell’s Annals of the Artists of Spain (1848), to more recent publications by scholars in the field. Papers may also probe the chronological, geographical and material boundaries of the ‘El Greco to Goya’ survey, interrogating the ways in which academics, curators, scholars and teachers narrate this material through various platforms, including publications, museum displays, exhibitions, lectures, gallery talks and academic courses. Speakers are encouraged to address the various ‘terrains’ of Spanish art, from geographical constructions of Iberia as Europe’s frontier or edge, to exchange with all that lies beyond the Pillars of Hercules. Topics for discussion may include, but are not limited to:

  • What is ‘Spanish art’?
  • Who are the cultural stakeholders of Spanish art?
  • What are the discords between regional, national, anti-national and transnational narratives of Spanish art, for example in museum collections and displays?
  • How does Spanish art feature in diplomatic exchanges?
  • Collections of Spanish art as an ‘imprint’ of Spain, and the role of foreign collections in disseminating Spanish art as a distinct school
  • Spain at the intersection of Christian, Jewish and Islamic cultures
  • Copies, quotations and appropriations of Spanish art
  • Languages and literatures: strategies of describing, narrating and translating Spain in word and image
  • Performing ‘Spanishness’ in the arts, including music, theatre and film
  • Spanish discourses in aesthetics
  • Spanish art beyond Iberia
  • Mobility and portability of Spanish art
  • Travel and discovery: geographies, centres, peripheries and liminal spaces
  • Legacies: textual and visual responses to Spain abroad
  • Eschewing binaries: high and low, sacred and secular, medieval and renaissance
  • Writing againstthe canon: filling gaps, promoting underdogs, navigating uncharted territories

Specialists of Spanish arts, artistic communication and exchange, as well as experts of other regions are invited to discuss the role and definition of Spain in their own disciplines. Presentations may be delivered in English or Spanish. Please send paper titles and abstracts of no more than 250 words, together with a CV and 150-word biography, to Dr Edward Payne by 31 March 2019: edward.a.payne@durham.ac.uk.

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Deadline 31 March! Doctoral Scholarship in Spanish Art-Historical Studies: Spanish art of the Golden Age and/or its British/European legacy up to the 19th century, Zurbarán Centre for Spanish and Latin American Art, Durham University


The Zurbarán Centre for Spanish and Latin American Art invites applications for a fully funded doctoral scholarship in Spanish art-historical studies, commencing at Durham University in the academic year 2019/20. The deadline for the application is March 31st. The Zurbarán Doctoral Scholarship for the Study of Spanish Art has been created thanks to the generous support of CEEH (Centro de Estudios Europa Hispánica), in association with ARTES, and will be devoted to art-historical projects on Spanish art of the Golden Age and/or its legacy in Britain and/or Europe up to the 19th century.

Click here for more information, and here to see the activities of the Zurbarán Centre.

Opening on Monday: Sorolla: Spanish Master of Light, National Gallery, London, until 7 July 2019, and National Gallery of Ireland 10 August – 3 November 2019

The first UK exhibition of Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida (1863–1923), Spain’s most prominent Impressionist painter, opens today at the National Gallery, London. Born in Valencia, the artist is known as the ‘master of light’ for his iridescent canvases. From the vivid seascapes, garden views, and bather scenes for which he is most renowned, to portraits, landscapes and genre scenes of Spanish life, the exhibition features more than 60 works spanning Sorolla’s career—many of which are travelling from private collections and from afar.

The exhibition has been organised by the National Gallery and the National Gallery of Ireland, in collaboration with Museo Sorolla. Click here for more informati and to buy tickets.

The exhibition will then travel to the National Gallery of Ireland, 10 August–3 November 2019. Click here for more information

Closing Soon: ‘The Land: Joaquín Sorolla’s Spain’, Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga, Lisbon, until 31 March 2019

This exhibition, curated by Carmen Pena and realised in partnership with the Sorolla Museum, Madrid, brings together 118 paintings by Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida (Valencia, 1863–Cercedilla, 1923) from the museum and from Spanish private collections.


The exhibition explores how Sorolla, the master of the “open air” and the “intense light”, represented the Spanish landscapes at the turn of the 20th century, bestowing it with new meanings and participating in a cultural movement that sought to create a new image for the country. The display also includes works representing scenes on the seashore and the work of fishermen on the coasts of Valencia, two of Sorolla’s signature themes.

Click here for more information, and stay tuned for the National Gallery’s own exhibition on Sorolla, which opens in four days.

CFP: Arts and Models of Democracy in post-authoritarian Iberian Peninsula, University of Huddersfield, 28–29 November 2019

Mural for the commemoration of the Carnation Revolution made by Caos, Add FuelDraw and MAR at the Universidade Nova de Lisboa in 2014

The process of democratisation in Portugal and Spain originated from a similar socio-political context. Besides having an almost identical geographical context, two long authoritarian and military dictatorships shaped the two counties on the basis of a nationalist and deeply catholic identity. From the point of view of popular culture, both dictatorships promoted a disengaged culture, based on songs, football matches, bullfights and the stereotypes of Iberian folklore. In the early 1970s, the illiteracy rate and cultural practices indexes in both countries were still among the highest in Europe. Despite these similar starting conditions, the Portuguese transition to democracy was very different from that of Spain; whereas Portugal created a rupture with the previous institutional context through a military coup, in Spain the post-Franco democratisation was founded on negotiated reform. These two processes of transition to democracy in Portugal and Spain, although dissimilar from each other, led to new ways of both high and popular cultural expressions. As a result, the decade following the two dictatorships was characterised by significant and euphoric experiments in the fields of literature, visual and plastic arts, cinema and music. Scholars have paid scant attention to the ways in which artists thought and put into practice the very notion of democracy in these years. Democracy is a highly contested category, one that has been imagined in many different ways, and any particular realisation of which carries costs as well as benefits. According to the historian of democracy Pierre Rosanvallon (2008), the rise of a democracy entails both a promise and a problem for a society.

This two-day conference aims to innovatively question how artistic practices and institutions formed ways of imagining democracy and by what means arts and culture participate in the wider social struggle to define freedom and equality for the post-Estado Novo and post-Francoist period: how did artistic practices instantiate ideas of democracy in this context? Inversely, how did such democratic values inform artistic practice? How did Portuguese and Spanish artists and intellectuals negotiate between creative autonomy and social responsibility? And more broadly, what is the role of culture in a democracy? The core purpose of the conference is to bring scholars together from different subject areas and exploring any artistic practice (literature, visual and plastic arts, cinema and music). PhD students, early careers and senior researchers are invited to submit an abstract to engage in an interdisciplinary and comparative debate on how the field of culture framed different ideas of democracy in the Iberian post-authoritarian transitions during the 1970s and early 1980s.

Papers will be 30-minutes in length with 15 minutes of discussion time, to enable the fullest exchange. Please submit proposals (300 words) and a short bio to I.ContrerasZubillaga(at)hud.ac.uk and g.quaggio(at)sheffield.ac.uk by the deadline Friday 31 May 2019. The programme will be announced in early July.

Click here for more information.

Bigas Luna Tribute, Manchester, 28–31 March 2019

Bigas Luna (1946–2013) is among Spain’s most influential filmmakers. In the 1990s, his popular comedy/drama Jamón, jamón, was among the most studied texts in Hispanic Studies courses in the UK. He also famously launched the careers of Hollywood stars such as Javier Bardem and Penélope Cruz.

Over a period of four days and in two different venues, the Bigas Luna Tribute Manchester will include four film screenings, two receptions and an exhibition. The exhibition will remain open for the duration of the festival, until April 13th. The event will include the ‘Iberian Portraits’ trilogy in full with introductory presentations by Bigas Luna specialists, a cava reception following the screening of Jamón, jamón (1992), the first UK screening of the posthumous documentary BigasxBigas (2017) – including a Q&A with its co-director Santiago Garrido Rúa – and the videoart exhibition ‘Barbaric Comedies‘, inspired by Valle-Inclán.

THURSDAY 28 MARCH 

Instituto Cervantes Manchester (326-330 Deansgate Campfield, Avenue Arcade, Manchester M3 4FN). 

  • 6.30 PM: Opening of ‘BarbaricComedies’ video art exhibition with an introduction by co-curator Prof Santiago Fouz Hernández (Durham) and wine reception sponsored by the Instituto Cervantes Manchester.
    NB Exhibition will be open until April 12th Mon-Friday 10AM to 8PM. Free entry.
    Viewer discretion is advised. 
  • 7PM: Screening BigasxBigas (2017) – with introduction and Q&A with co-director Santiago Garrido Rúa. TicketsTrailer.
FRIDAY 29 MARCH  

HOME Manchester (2, Tony Wilson Place, M15 4FN Manchester)

  • 7.50 PMJamón, jamón (1992), starring Penélope Cruz, Javier Bardem and Jordi Mollà – with introduction by Prof Santiago Fouz Hernández (Durham University).
  • Followed by cava reception (first drink is included with film ticket), sponsored by Durham University, ¡Viva! Festival and festival sponsors. TicketsTrailer.
SATURDAY 30 MARCH  

HOME Manchester (2, Tony Wilson Place, M15 4FN Manchester)

  • 5.50 PMHuevos de oro / Golden Balls (1993), starring Javier Bardem, Maribel Verdú and Benicio del Toro- with introduction by Prof Santiago Fouz Hernández (Durham University).  TicketsTrailer.
SATURDAY 31 MARCH  

HOME Manchester (2, Tony Wilson Place, M15 4FN Manchester)

  • 5.40 PMLa teta y la luna / The Tit and the Moon (1994), starring Mathilda May, Biel Durán and Miguel Poveda- with introduction by Dr Abigail Loxham (University of Liverpool). TicketsTrailer.
  • Followed by discussion about the ‘Iberian Portraits’ trilogy with Dr Loxham and Prof Fouz Hernández. 

CFP: ‘Imperial Entanglements: Trans-Oceanic Basque Networks in British and Spanish Colonialism and their Legacy’, Museum of Liverpool, Liverpool UK, 9–10 August 2019

Port-cities in Britain are known and studied as crossroads and gateways of empire. People, ideas, goods, money, etc. flowed in and out of these porous urban environments. For many people, port-cities were not only a place of transience, they could also be a home city with a strong sense of community. From the 16th through the 19th centuries, some of those who called port-cities their homes were part of the Anglo-Spanish diaspora. From Cadiz to London or Bilbao to Liverpool, Spanish and British citizens crossed the oceans in order to participate in Anglo-Spanish trade and imperial expansion. These voyages inevitably led to the creation of Anglo-Spanish communities in the littoral regions of both empires. The growth and success of Anglo-Spanish communities in port-cities was driven in part by imperial ventures such as the textile industry, mining, and the slave trade. It is not always easy to reconcile the history of exploitative ventures with the immigrant communities whose creation they facilitated. However, it is important to bring together local and imperial histories in order to understand how Anglo-Spanish communities were built, thrived, and sometimes waned.

This conference seeks to bring together scholars interested in the lives of Anglo-Spanish communities across both the Spanish and British empires. The conference also seeks to address the tensions that investigating family and local history can bring to communities today. The conference will be open to the public in the hopes that those interested in the conference themes will come and engage with the ideas being presented. The themes of this conference were inspired by the histories of two Anglo-Basque families, the Zuluetas and the Larrinagas, both of whom have contentious legacies in London and Liverpool.

The organisers are particularly interested in paper or panel proposals in the areas of family history; literature; art history; business history; food history; urban history; slave-trade history; shipping history; and cultural history. Please click here for more information. Please send individual paper or panel proposals to Dr. Anna Brinkman (a.brinkman@warwick.ac.uk) by midnight on 25 March.