Sacred art in the age of contact: Chumash and Latin American traditions in Santa Barbara, Art, Design & Architecture Museum, University of California, Santa Barbara, until 8 December, 2017.
Sacred Art in the Age of Contact focuses on the relationship between art and religion in both historic Chumash and Spanish traditions in the early Mission period in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, highlighting themes of devotion, sacred space, language and materiality. The exhibition investigates the mutually transformative interaction among these traditions. Twentieth-century and contemporary Chumash visual production will be on view alongside sacred objects. This exhibition brings together, for the first time, a diverse array of approximately 100 objects, from local collections that include the Mission Santa Inés, Mission La Purísima Concepcíon, the Santa Barbara Mission Museum and Archive-Library, the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, and the Repository for Archaeological and Ethnographic Collections at UC Santa Barbara.
Kinesthesia: Latin American Kinetic Art, 1954–1969, Palm Springs Art Museum, 26 August 2017 – 15 January, 2018.
This exhibition is the first in-depth examination of the pioneering role played by South American artists in the international Kinetic Art movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Grounded by scholarly research into experimental art movements of the late 1940s and early 1950s in Buenos Aires, Caracas, and Rio de Janeiro. Kinesthesia begins its survey with the layered “vibrational” works created by Jesús Rafael Soto for the historic Le Mouvement exhibition at Galerie Denise René in Paris (1955) and goes on to explore more than fifty examples by nine artists, including the works of internationally well-known figures, such as Carlos Cruz-Diez, Gyula Kosice, and Julio Le Parc, alongside the less well known Martha Boto, Horacio García-Rossi, Alejandro Otero, Abraham Palatnik, and Gregorio Vardánega. The exhibition like that at Santa Barbara is part of the Getty Foundation supported Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, an exploration of Latin American and Latino art in dialogue with Los Angeles.
Thanks to the generosity of ARTES and Coll y Cortés, I was awarded a Travel Scholarships which gave me the opportunity to carry out field research in Spain during the Spring and Summer Terms of the academic year 2016-2017. Even if I was based in Madrid, my research was often conducted outside the capital and I had the chance to visit several medieval monuments linked to the PhD thesis I am writing at the Warburg Institute (London).
The goal of my PhD research is to demonstrate that the first two Marquises of Villena, Juan Pacheco (1419-1474) and Diego López Pacheco (c.1445-1529), dedicated enormous efforts and energies in organising a complex cultural programme aimed at counteracting the negative image of their family that the Catholic Monarchs had created through a powerful political propaganda. My research includes the analysis of material and written sources, as their combined reading in historical terms is one of the best tools to understand how historical memory could be manipulated through acts of patronage at the dawn of the Early Modern Period.
During my stay in Spain, I visited many cities and villages that belonged to the Marquises of Villena during the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. Some of the most impressive castles I visited were those of Villena, Almansa, Escalona, Garcimuñoz, Chinchilla and Belmonte. Among the religious buildings, the most relevant for my research were the monasteries of Santa María del Parral, Saint Cataline of Siena and St Francis in Belmonte. These trips helped me to answer three fundamental questions of my PhD research: How did the Pachecos insert these buildings in the pre-existent urban landscape? In which way were they used by the Pachecos? And finally, what was their meaning and how were they perceived according to the standards of the visual culture of their time?
Being in Spain not only allowed me to visit and study in situ many buildings and artworks promoted by the Marquises of Villena, it also gave me the opportunity to carry out documentary research in various archives. The majority of the documents linked to the Pacheco family are preserved in the Archive of the Nobility, today in the Tavera’s Hospital in Toledo, a perfect place for all those who are interested in studying the great noble families of the medieval and early modern periods. Nonetheless, I also found interesting documents in the National Archive, the National Library, the Biblioteca Francisco de Zabálburu and the Biblioteca of the Museo Lázaro Galdiano.
While I was in Spain, I also dedicated part of my time in Spain to the drafting of a paper I presented at the Kings and Queens Conference: In the Shadow of the Throne, organised by the Royal Studies Network, which analysed the links between Diego López Pacheco and the inheritors to the Crowns of the Iberian Kingdoms. At the same time, I also had the chance to assist to several lectures and seminars, activities that were a useful platform to interact with scholars who are developing their research in Spanish institutions such as the CSIC, the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, the Museo del Prado, etc.
The Maius Workshop is an interdisciplinary group that brings together graduate students and early career scholars dealing with Hispanic art (broadly considered to include literature, theatre, music, etc.) and history from the Middle Ages to the Early Modern Period. The aim of the Maius Workshop is to encourage dialogue among specialists in different stages of their academic life and to provide a forum for discussing methods of information gathering and research news. The group is kindly supported by ARTES.
The workshop is named after the tenth-century painter of the Morgan Beatus manuscript as it wishes to create an interdisciplinary space where scholars of art and history can interact. Through a series of reading group meetings, the Workshop aims to bring together young researchers tackling the study of Hispanic culture and history and to create a strong network of specialists of Medieval and Early Modern Iberia and Latin America.
Thanks to the new connections that the group will create, the meetings will develop current research rather than present finished projects. The group’s activities are directed to the diffusion of the interest in Iberian and Latin American cultural creations, with the long-term aim of establishing a permanent community open to all students of Hispanic art and history.
The Maius Workshop’s first meeting will take place on Monday 16 October at 6 pm at the Warburg Institute. This will be an informal meeting and an opportunity to meet postgraduate researchers with similar interests, to discuss how these interests can be drawn together in a reading group setting. The meeting is open to MA, PhD and early career researchers. Refreshments will be provided.
If you are interested in the activities of this research group or would like to attend the meeting, please fill in this form
El Greco to Goya – Spanish Masterpieces from The Bowes Museum, 27 September 2017 – 7 January 2018, The Wallace Collection, London
In September 2017, the Wallace Collection presents El Greco to Goya – Spanish Masterpieces from The Bowes Museum: the first London exhibition of Spanish art from The Bowes Museum in County Durham, including works by Goya and El Greco.
This collaborative exhibition between the Wallace Collection and The Bowes Museum celebrates the partnership between these two great museums. Like the Wallace Collection, The Bowes Museum is the product of one family’s obsession with collecting great works of art. John Bowes and Richard Wallace – both illegitimate sons of aristocratic fathers – bequeathed collections of international significance to the nation.
The exhibition spans three centuries and explores one of the largest collections of Spanish art in Britain. The majority of these paintings were acquired by John and Joséphine Bowes between 1862 and 1863 from the collection of the Countess de Quinto in Paris, through the art dealer Benjamin Gogué. This collection was formed in Spain by the Conde de Quinto after the dissolution of the ecclesiastical institutions – known as Desamortización – carried out by the Government from 1835 to 1837.
On display are El Greco’s The Tears of Saint Peter, thought to be the artist’s earliest interpretation of this subject, Goya’s psychologically penetrating Portrait of Juan Antonio Meléndez Valdés and disturbing Interior of a Prison, plus perhaps less well known but outstanding works such as Antonio de Pereda’s Tobias Restoring his Father’s Sight. The works chosen explore a period of huge social, religious and political upheaval in Spain, providing a microcosm of the changes in style and subject matter during this period. The paintings complement works by Velázquez and Murillo on permanent display at the Wallace Collection.
The Wallace Collection’s Director, Dr Xavier Bray, says:
“El Greco to Goya is not only an unprecedented opportunity to see Spanish art of extraordinary power and significance in London, but also the beginning of an exciting relationship between the Wallace Collection and The Bowes Museum. Both institutions share a commitment to making great art accessible to wider audiences and we are looking forward to working closely together to develop a long term connection between London and the North East.”
The Bowes Museum’s Director, Adrian Jenkins, says:
“In 1892, when The Bowes Museum first opened its doors to the public, it had the largest public collection of Spanish paintings in the UK. As we mark 125 years since the creation of the museum, it is highly appropriate that the key works from this collection should be shared with London audiences, in keeping with John and Joséphine Bowes’ belief that great art should be made accessible to all. Neither John nor Joséphine Bowes survived to realise their vision, and they would be delighted to think that the best of their acquisitions would be shown at the Wallace Collection during this anniversary year, recognising that their gift to the people of County Durham is also a gift to the nation.”
The exhibition will be accompanied by a publication, El Greco to Goya: Spanish Masterpieces from The Bowes Museum, produced in collaboration with The Bowes Museum.