Art History Lecture Series: Anna Indych-López (CUNY Graduate Center)
“Cosmic Thing: DIY in CDMX”
Thursday, January 26, 4-5:30pm
More about the lecture:
This talk focuses on Damián Ortega’s Cosmic Thing (2002), a disassembled Volkswagen beetle—a vehicle indelibly associated with the urban fabric of Mexico City—that the artist methodically reconstructed piece by piece as a suspended sculpture. It considers the various ways that Ortega marshals a plethora of diagrammatic modes (including repair manuals) and forms of non-hegemonic knowledge rooted in the streets of Mexico City to submit modernist sculptural practices to the classed, racialized, and mutable geographies of the megalopolis. A visual pun on urban cosmogonies, the work crystallizes a DIY ethos redolent in contemporary artistic practices, which I argue is rooted in the lived realities of Mexico City and speaks to modes of making, knowing, and seeing in the Global South. As a work both of the city and sited in it, Cosmic Thing raises questions about the tensions embedded in precarity aesthetics and the reinscription of the extractive practices of colonialism.
More about Dr. Indych-López:
Prof. Indych-López joined the CUNY Graduate Center faculty in 2007 and teaches courses on modern and contemporary art among Latin American, U.S., transatlantic, Afro-diasporic, and Latinx networks. Her work investigates art in the public sphere, especially in Mexico, as well as Latinx and U.S.-Mexico borderlands contemporary art, focusing on cross-cultural intellectual and aesthetic exchanges, the polemics of realisms, and spatial politics. Her 2018 book on Judith Baca probed the Chicana artist’s aesthetic strategies to activate the contested socio-political and racial histories of Los Angeles in the 1970s and 1980s. She is also the author of Muralism without Walls: Rivera, Orozco, and Siqueiros in the United States, 1927–1940 (2009) and co-author (with Leah Dickerman) of Diego Rivera: Murals for The Museum of Modern Art (2011, for the exhibition of the same name at The Museum of Modern Art, New York). A frequent contributor to exhibition catalogues, such as the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Vida Americana: Mexican Muralists Remake American Art (2020) and The Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Paint the Revolution: Mexican Modernism: 1910–1950 (2016), she was awarded the Stuart Z. Katz Professorship of the Humanities and Arts at City College in 2018-2019 and in Fall 2021 received the Alcaly-Bodian CUNY Distinguished Scholar Fellowship at the Graduate Center’s Advanced Research Collaborative. In Spring 2022 she will take up the Kirk Varnedoe Visiting Professorship at the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU.