Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art Home


Document first page thumbnail

In this document, curator and art historian Susana Torruella Leval considers works by several artists whose practices reflect an interest in articulating a particular historical consciousness that is tied to their cultural identity as Latin Americans. Torruella Leval posits this as a form of cultural resistance by which these artists refigure the past in their own terms. The examples she details include The Catherwood Project by Leandro Katz, California Mission Daze by David Avalos, and Monudentro by Regina Silveira, as well as multiple works by Ana Mendieta, Juan Sánchez, and Alfredo Jaar. She argues that these artists serve to link the contemporary moment with events of the past as a means of positing the existence of a perpetually unfolding historical continuum.


Susana Torruella Leval is an art historian and curator of contemporary art. At El Museo del Barrio (a leading Latino museum in the U.S.), she served as executive director for eight years, chief curator for four years, and is now its Director Emeritus. This essay addresses issues of identity with regards to Latin American art, and also argues for recognition of the role of the artist as witness to history and agent of change. Thus, her essay offers a valuable perspective that situates Latin American artists as proactively using identity to change society, and not just reacting to identity politics.

Tere Romo
Chicano Studies Research Center, UCLA, Los Angeles, USA
Courtesy of Susana Torruella Leval, New York, NY