In 2014, while I was literally printing my dissertation, I received an email saying I had been awarded a travel grant to attend the upcoming CAA Annual Conference. I had applied to the grant without any real expectations. I was so happy, yet so busy, so I replied to the email without even looking at the dates. I was in the middle of a lot of excitement—years of work were becoming printed words.
The conference had a lot of meaning to me. My tutor, Laura Malosetti Costa, had spoken about it several times, and nothing says “important academic event” than something your beloved tutor recommends. There was something mystical about receiving the grant at that specific moment in time!
I could say many things about my participation in the conference and the preconference colloquium in 2015, but I want to write about the experience of returning to the conference in 2016. I attended, along with three other former CAA-Getty grantees, and had the opportunity to present a paper.
I spoke on the Emerging Scholars in Latin American Art panel. Sounds like a big deal, right? I was so incredibly nervous. The other speakers were also excited, happy, and shaking. I delivered the paper, without collapsing, during the longest twenty minutes I have ever experienced at an academic event. Fortunately, I liked my paper and thought it was well-constructed, so I knew I was speaking with true passion—and commitment—about my topic.
The waiting was the hardest part. After I had finished, I lifted my eyes from the printed sheets in front of me and stared at the audience. I thought no one would ask me any questions and was prepared for that outcome, so I was surprised by the many questions I was asked. I have never received so many questions after delivering a paper. These were not your everyday pro-forma questions. The people expressed sincere interest, and their questions were all remarkably interesting. I answered. Some people asked follow-up questions. I stopped shaking. I talked.
When everything was over, I sat down and took notes of the questions and comments. I still keep those notes as a memento of speaking at a CAA conference. If I had not been lucky enough to be invited to the conference in 2015, I would not have been ready to present my work there a year later. And for that, I feel thankful.
The sixteenth conference of the Centro Argentino de Investigadores de Arte (CAIA) took place in Buenos Aires from October 1 to 3, 2015. The CAIA was founded in 1989 by art historians working in the University of Buenos Aires. Its purpose is to encourage debates in art history through its conferences and editorial program, which publishes anthologies and the conference proceedings. In 2013, the CAIA started another project: a peer-reviewed online journal, Caiana.
The 2015 conference was devoted to the relationship between images and desire. More than twenty art historians from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, and Uruguay gathered in the Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires to discuss the multilayered connection between art, pleasure, devotion, and reception in a series of panels, a roundtable, and two lectures.
The opening lecture was Laura Malosetti Costa’s “Cartografías del deseo,” in which she addressed nineteenth-century iconographies of desire and sexuality, as well as their fin-de-siècle reception in Buenos Aires. The closing lecture was María Angélica Melendi’s “La canción de las locas. Una historia sudamericana,” which was devoted to a rereading of Pedro Lemebel and the Yeguas del Apocalipsis work in Chile. These two activities framed three days of debates with nine panels dealing with different aspects of the conference theme. The topics ranged from the representation of desire to art collecting, including the cult of images and the allure of publicity. Although most of the delivered papers engaged with the visual arts, some addressed other media, such as cinema and dance.
The roundtable, organized by Viviana Usubiaga, called attention to the work of two remarkable artists: the writer Néstor Perlongher and the visual artist Liliana Maresca. This event, which attracted a wide audience, featured scholars and journalists discussing the legacies of Perlongher and Maresca. Daniel Molina, a noted art critic, offered insights into the lives and works of these two individuals through a personal recollection of the troubled decades of the 1970s and 1980s.
Traditionally, the CAIA has organized one conference every two years. These conferences are aimed at both emerging and established scholars, but the CAIA board hopes to engage undergraduate and young graduate students as well. For this reason, on even years the CAIA organizes a smaller conference for researchers who are just beginning their own projects. The call for papers for this event, which will take place from October 12 to 14, 2016, is open until May 30. The conference is open to art historians from around the world, and submissions are accepted in Spanish, Portuguese, and English For more information, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the CAIA’s website (http://www.caia.org.ar/).