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3203 SE Woodstock Blvd, Portland, OR 97202, USA

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Chance. Accident. Surprise. It is one thing to search out colonial creations and the histories they can reveal; it’s another when those creations surface in ways that were neither predicted nor predictable. This talk considers how unexpected survivals from colonial Latin America challenge current, interpretive work in art history, museums, and archives. Among the works considered: blocks of wax from colonial shipwrecks, Catholic prints, sculptures of Christ, and Indigenous codices. At issue are the interpretive ethical questions such creations raise and what it means to take loss—not only recuperation—seriously and how chance encounter allows us to come to appreciate that which is (usually) no longer.

Dana Leibsohn, the Alice Pratt Brown Professor of Art at Smith College, researches and writes about colonialism and visual culture in the early modern Americas and Pacific world. Her work has considered Indigenous manuscript painting, the trade between China and Mexico, cartography in Manila, and the art history of shipwrecks. This talk draws on collaborative work she is doing with Aaron Hyman on the concept of “loss” in the early modern Spanish Americas and the ethics of chance discovery.

Sponsored by the art department. Free and open to the public.

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