The Getty Center
Date: Saturday, November 4, 2017
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Location: Museum Lecture Hall
Past Event

Artist Cecilia Vicuña, a seminal figure in Latin American art and poetry, discusses her poetic and artistic exploration of indigenous forms of knowledge. Her presentation addresses a materiality beyond the tangible object and gold as an embodiment of dialogue, connectivity, and responsiveness. This talk is the keynote address of the symposium Encounters, Utopias, and Experimentation: From Pre-Columbian Tenochtitlan to Contemporary Buenos Aires, at the Getty Center, November 3–5, 2017.

Cecilia Vicuña is a poet, artist, filmmaker, and activist. Her work addresses pressing concerns of the modern world, including ecological destruction, human rights, and cultural homogenization. Born and raised in Santiago de Chile, she has been in exile since the early 1970s after the military coup against elected president Salvador Allende. Vicuña's work began in the mid '60s in Chile, as a way of "hearing an ancient silence waiting to be heard." Her multi-dimensional works begin as a poem, an image that morphs into a film, a song, a sculpture, or a collective performance. These ephemeral, site-specific performance installations in nature, city streets, and museums combine ritual and assemblage. She calls this impermanent, participatory work lo precario (the precarious): a bridge between art and life, the ancestral and the avant-garde. In Chile she founded Tribu No in 1967, a group that created anonymous poetic actions in Santiago. In 1974, exiled in London, she co-founded Artists for Democracy to oppose dictatorships in the Third World. She was appointed Messenger Lecturer 2015 at Cornell University, an honor bestowed on authors who contribute to the "Evolution of Civilization." Her visual art has been exhibited at The Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de Santiago; The Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) London; The Whitechapel Art Gallery in London; The Berkeley Art Museum; The Whitney Museum of American Art; and MoMA, The Museum of Modern Art in New York. It was included in Documenta 14 in Athens and Kassel, Germany, 2017. Her itinerant exhibition Cecilia Vicuña: About to Happen, opened at the Contemporary Arts Center of New Orleans in March 2017 and will travel to various museums in the U.S. Vicuña has published twenty-five art and poetry books, including About to Happen (2017), Read Thread, The Story of the Red Thread (2017), and Kuntur Ko (2015). She co-edited The Oxford Book of Latin American Poetry, 500 years of Latin American Poetry (2009). Spit Temple, The Selected Performances of Cecilia Vicuña (2012) was runner-up to the 2013 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation. Her Selected Poetry is forthcoming from Kelsey Street Press. She divides her time between Chile and New York.

This event is part of Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, a far reaching and ambitious exploration of Latin American and Latino art in dialogue with Los Angeles, taking place from September 2017 through January 2018 at more than 70 cultural institutions across Southern California. Pacific Standard Time is an initiative of the Getty. The presenting sponsor is Bank of America.

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