Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard
Visual Representation, Materiality, and the Medium Seminar
Chair: Ewa Lajer-Burcharth
October 21st, 6PM EST
David Pullins and Vanessa K. Valdés
"Juan de Pareja, a Conversation around an Exhibition in Progress”
"Since arriving at The Met in 1971, Diego Velázquez’s Portrait of Juan de Pareja has been heralded as a landmark in European art, but today it calls us to present a revisionary account of the Spanish Golden Age through the story of its Afro-Hispanic sitter who was enslaved by the Velázquez family for two decades before becoming a painter in 1660s Madrid. Co-curators David Pullins (The Met) and Vanessa K. Valdés (CUNY) will discuss their engagement with Pareja’s story in a forthcoming exhibition at The Met. Theirs will be the first exhibition to address enslaved artisanal labor in the Iberian Peninsula, Pareja as a painter in his own right and the artist’s many after-lives, notably as told by the Harlem Renaissance intellectual Arturo Schomburg and through the visual culture of the twentieth- and twenty-first century African diaspora. Emphasizing the degree to which this is an ongoing discussion, the presentation will take the form of a dialogue between the co-curators that encourages participation from those attending."