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Unincorporated Histories: Puerto Rican Art Then and Now
This two-part course explores the art historical context for works on view in no existe un mundo poshuracán: Puerto Rican Art in the Wake of Hurricane Maria. We will consider how works included in the exhibition—from Armig Santos’ processional paintings to Garvin Sierra Vega’s viral protest posters and Gabriella Salazar’s blocks of reclaimed coffee grounds—offer fresh approaches to themes of environment and landscape, performance and formalism, both in Puerto Rico and in the diaspora. The course will also touch on major figures of Puerto Rican art history from the 19th century to the present, illustrating the ways in which the artists included in no existe provide us with the tools to reactivate genre and landscape paintings by Francisco Oller, posters by master printmaker Lorenzo Homar, community-building models emerging from The Nuyorican Poets Café, and more.

As an “unincorporated territory” of the U.S., Puerto Rico both exists within and is purposefully excluded from the empire that claims to possess it. Similarly, Puerto Rican art and art history is often marginalized in favor of European, American, and Latin American art, occupying a nebulous position between the three. This course aims to demonstrate how this limbo has not stymied artists, but rather pushed them to develop new and influential ways of asserting their power and representing their experience—building art historical canons of their own.

Each session includes time for questions from attendees.
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