Colonial Mexican art is the most difficult course I teach at University of California, Los Angeles, where I hold a split appointment in art history and Chicana/o and Central American studies. Every artwork and concept I present engages or potentially provokes contested assessments, fraught value judgements, and claims of political bias. It begins with the title of the course itself and extends to other terminology. Should this art be described as colonial, viceregal, or early modern? Were the events of 1519–21, culminating in the fall of Aztec Tenochtitlan to Cortés’s army, a conquest or invasion? How does one ethically teach art created in the service of forced religious conversion and colonization? My thoughts here represent some of my current views on this challenging historical period. At the same time, this editorial commentary is intended to be aspirational, to hold open space for my (and our) thinking to evolve and change....
Editorial Commentary: Decolonial Aspirations and the Study of Colonial Art
Charlene Villaseñor Black is Professor of Art History and Chicana/o Studies at UCLA. She authored Creating the Cult of St. Joseph: Art and Gender in the Spanish Empire (Princeton UP, 2006) and edited Tradition and Transformation: Chicana/o Art from the 1970s through the 1990s (U of Washington P, 2015), among other works.
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Charlene Villaseñor Black; Editorial Commentary: Decolonial Aspirations and the Study of Colonial Art. Latin American and Latinx Visual Culture 1 October 2021; 3 (4): 5–11. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/lavc.2021.3.4.5
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