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Hispanic Art and Americas Lecture Series Presents: Exhibiting Non-Places, selling nations: Spanish Art in New York

Professor Alberto Medina will deliver Exhibiting Non-Places, selling nation: Spanish Art in New York. Columbia University.

This lecture focuses on the analysis of some institutional strategies for the exhibition of Spanish art in New York in the last decade, specifically,“Spain Arts Fest” that took place in Times Square for two days in 2011 and“The Real Royal Trip” and exhibition at the PS1 Museum in 2003-2004.

The interaction of both exhibitions with their urban environment is taken as the point of departure to interrogate the dialogue established between a new “System of art” in which issues of urban development and the conception of art as “cultural resource” frame new modes of display and the renovated attempt to circulate a discourse on national cultural identity. The mutual dependency of the global and the local as a conscious premise of any attempt to display a national “image” for the eyes of a potential cultural consumer confronts this new exhibition strategies with the paradox of exhibiting the national “place” in a context that systematically privileges the “non-places” of ephemeral positions and endless circulation. Marc Augé’s distinction between “anthropological places” of memory, continuity and internal coherence versus “non-places” of continuous movement and unstable limits will be a useful but insufficient conceptualization to read these new displays of “nation” as a limited attempt to inhabit a long history of national “promotion” that can be traced to the “Spain is different” touristic campaigns of Francoism. Finally, the analysis of some of the works of art chosen by the curators, reveals possible tensions between the objects of exhibition and its framing, their possible undermining of institutional attempts to privilege a national “place” as the frame and object of cultural consumption.

After studying at the Universities of Salamanca, Saint Andrews, and Southern California, Alberto Medina completed his Ph.D. at New York University. He specializes in XVIIIth-century studies, contemporary Spanish literature and film, and transatlantic studies. He is the author of Exorcismos de la memoria: políticas y poéticas de la melancolía en la España de la transición, and Espejo de sombras: sujeto y
multitud en la España del siglo XVIII. His articles have been published in journals such as Hispania, Bulletin of Hispanic Studies, Revista de Estudios Hispánicos, Iberoamericana and Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies.

Free and open to the public. For more information contact José I. Alvarez Fernández at, or at the phone #617-264-7721.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012 at 4:30pm

Janet M. Daley Library Lecture Hall
Cardinal Cushing Library, 400 Fenway, Boston, MA 02115, USA

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