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16 March 2022 - 16 March 2022

6:00PM - 7:00PM

Via Zoom

  • FREE

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This research talk considers enconchados, artworks that combine oil painting and mother-of-pearl inlay, created by such artists as Miguel González and others in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries in New Spain.

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Miguel González, Virgin of Guadalupe, c. 1698

Most art historical research to date has focused on the Asian origins of the shell mosaic technique. This lecture addresses other important questions related to the materiality of enconchados. What was the source of the shell used to create these? Can we document period beholders’ engagement with their shimmering surfaces? How did early modern notions of sustainability influence their creation? While this talk focuses primarily on enconchados, comparative examination of tortoiseshell, employed in decorative art objects, enriches our understanding of the entanglements between art, empire, and sustainability.  

Charlene Villaseñor Black is currently the Terra Foundation Visiting Professor of American Art at the University of Oxford (2021-22). She also holds the position of Professor of Art History and Chicana/o and Central American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, editor of Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies, and founding editor-in-chief of Latin American and Latinx Visual Culture (UC Press). She publishes on a range of topics related to the early modern Iberian world and contemporary Latinx art. Her most recent books include The Artist as Eyewitness: Antonio Bernal Papers, 1884-2019 (2022), Renaissance Futurities: Art, Science, Invention (2019); Knowledge for Justice: An Ethnic Studies Reader (2019), the new 2020 edition of The Chicano Studies Reader, and Autobiography without Apology: The Personal Essay in Latino Studies, which she co-edited. Her monograph, Transforming Saints: From Spain to New Spain, is forthcoming from Vanderbilt University Press (July 2022), as is her co-edited volume, Decolonizing Art History, to be published by Routledge (2022). Her 2006 book, Creating the Cult of St. Joseph: Art and Gender in the Spanish Empire, won the College Art Association’s Millard Meiss award. In 2016 she was awarded UCLA’s Gold Shield Faculty Prize for Academic Excellence, in recognition of exceptional teaching, innovative research, and strong commitment to university service. She has held grants from the Terra, Fulbright, Mellon, Borchard, Getty, and Woodrow Wilson Foundations, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the American Council of Learned Societies. Currently, she is Principal Investigator of “Critical Mission Studies at California’s Crossroads,” a $1.03 million dollar grant from the University of California’s Multicampus Research Programs and Initiatives. She was recently awarded an exhibition grant from the Getty Foundation’s Pacific Standard Time: Art x Science x LA initiative for her upcoming show and book (co-authored with Dr. Maite Álvarez, Getty Museum), Verdant Worlds: Art and Sustainability across the Cosmos.