Returning in 1966 to his “On the Colonial Extinction of the Motifs of Pre-Columbian Art” of 1961,1 George Kubler noted, “I thought that American antiquity was ‘extinct beyond recall.’ I still believe this.”2 This idea, laid out at length in the earlier essay, has for many years been criticized as ignoring the material evidence that Indigenous forms were still deployed in the colonial period. The rapid growth of the discipline of colonial Latin American art history in anglophone circles during the 1980s and 1990s followed or coincided with turns to social history and to feminist, material/visual-culture, and postcolonial approaches. These focused on recovering voices lost to the violence of regimes of power, thereby rectifying (art) historical silences. Kubler’s essay—which seems to insist upon “extinction,” even in its title—was thus bound to be contested.

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