Community Voices Series

Date(s) - Thursday, February 24, 2022
6:30 pm

NSU Art Museum


NSU Art Museum is partnering with multiple community organizations on a variety of programs as part of the Community Voices Series, NSU Art Museum’s new initiative supported by the Community Foundation of Broward, that focuses on exploring social and racial inequalities and challenging social structures, including representation in museums.

Plasticity and Reproduction: Tarsila’s A Negra

Brazilian Tarsila do Amaral (b. 1886, d. 1973) is one of the leading Latin American modernists. Although she gained first-hand experience of Cubism, Futurism, and Expressionism while studying in Paris in 1929 with André Lhote, Fernand Léger, and Albert Gleizes, she sought to forge a distinct Brazilian modernist style. It was in Paris that Tarsila painted one of her most famous paintings A Negra (1923), a black nude figure later echoed in her famous “anthropophagous” (cannibalist) phase of the late 1920s. While most studies of this painting reference its modernist painting style and Tarsila’s foregrounding of an African-Brazilian woman as her subject, this talk by art historian Irene V. Small, PhD considers A Negra from the perspective of the afterlives of slavery. Small draws from psychoanalytic and juridical articulations of the body to suggest that A Negra is a hieroglyph of actualized social relations—a “structural painting” writ large.

Irene V. Small, PhD is associate professor of Contemporary Art & Criticism at Princeton University, where she is also affiliated with the programs in Media & Modernity and Latin American Studies. Her research concerns how critical, insurgent dialogues with legacies of modernist and avant-garde art map the coordinates for global contemporary art today. The author of Hélio Oiticica: Folding the Frame (University of Chicago Press, 2016), she has written for October, Res: Anthropology and Aesthetics, ARTMargins, Artforum, and Texte zur Kunst, among other publications. Her work has been supported by a number of fellowships and grants including the Graham Foundation, the Getty Research Institute, the Dedalus Foundation, the Creative Capital and Andy Warhol Foundation, and the Lemann Institute of Brazilian Studies. She is currently a Clark/Oakley Humanities Fellow at the Clark Art Institute, where she is working on a book that takes as its point of departure the Brazilian artist Lygia Clark’s concept of “the organic line.”

The Annual Stanley and Pearl Goodman Lecture in Latin American Art is named in recognition of the couple’s promised gift to NSU Art Museum of over 90 works by Latin American artists.

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