Thursday, January 06, 2011

CALL FOR PAPERS Encuentros: Artistic Exchange between the U.S. and Latin America

October 6–7, 2011
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.

Paper submissions from senior and emerging scholars are invited for this two-day symposium, which will examine artistic exchange between Latin America and the United States from the nineteenth century to the present. The symposium will consider how artists and artworks have crossed the border separating the United States and Latin America (defined as Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean), creating new artistic dialogues and influencing each other’s work in meaningful ways.

The histories of U.S. and Latin American art have until recently been viewed as largely independent of each other. Transnational narratives have instead privileged exchange with Europe. But as recent exhibitions and scholarship indicate, today there is a growing desire to dissolve the rigid borders that separate the history of art of the United States from that of Latin America.

This symposium seeks to bring together original, innovative scholarship that crosses several time periods, geographies, and approaches. Papers are solicited that couch artistic interchange between north and south within its historical moment or political conditions, examining the role of individuals, institutions, publications, and exhibitions in the exchange and promotion of art and ideas. Proposals that consider the special relationship between Latino artists from the United States and their distant or recent Latin American cultures of origin (and vice versa) are also welcome. We invite papers that engage with all media of visual art, including craft, architecture, and the moving image, and take into consideration issues of class, race, gender, patronage, art markets, and popular culture. Proposals may consider various modes of artistic engagement including the exchange of ideas and techniques, artistic collaboration, appropriation, and counteraction.

“Encuentros: Artistic Exchange between the U.S. and Latin America” is being organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum as part of a five-part series on American art in a global context with funding from the Terra Foundation for American Art.

To submit a paper, please send a two-page, double-spaced abstract (300-500 words) and a short C.V. to Amelia Goerlitz, Research and Scholars Center, Smithsonian American Art Museum, P.O. Box 37012 MRC 970, Washington D.C. 20013-7012. Proposals may also be submitted via e-mail to

Proposals must be received by January 15, 2011. Confirmed speakers will be required to submit the text of their 20-minute symposium presentations by September 1, 2011. The symposium will be available for viewing in a simultaneous and, later, an archived webcast.

Antonio Frasconi, The Storm Is Coming, 1950. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

El Dia de Reyes, January 6

Ever since I can remember, my family has celebrated El Dia de Reyes, or the Epiphany, on January 6. This is the day Mexican families remember the arrival of the Three Wise Men in Bethlehem, bearing gifts for Baby Jesus. Although the tradition was not celebrated in the United States, my parents drove us across the border to Ciudad Juarez, to my aunt's house to partake of the goodies and Rosca de Reyes, an oval-shaped, sweet bread decorated with candied fruit, and tamales and hot chocolate mix called Champurrado. It was the day my cousins opened their Christmas gifts and the rest of us received brown bags filled with candy, peanuts and fruit, and a small gift. As a young child, I looked forward to this day because it meant we could open more gifts and visit with our cousins in Mexico. It also meant that whoever bit into the Rosca de Reyes and found a miniature, plastic Baby Jesus doll that had been inserted into the bread, would have to host a party on February 2nd, El Dia de la Candelaria, or Candlemas, extending the Christmas Holidays even more.

Now that I have my own family, I celebrate El Dia de Reyes. Luckily, the tradition is spreading across the border and now I can find the Rosca de Reyes at my local supermarket and bakery. At seven o'clock, on January 6, we gather around the Nativity scene to eat Rosca bread and sip hot chocolate. It is a time of storytelling and New Year resolutions. My children love the tradition, and look forward to biting into a piece of Rosca, hoping they will find the Baby Jesus doll. I can always look forward to our version of Candlemas party of peanut butter sandwiches and kool-aid treats!

To find out about El Dia de Reyes, visit:

contributor: Maria Miranda Maloney, poet and writer living in El Paso, Texas.