Riding Metro Santiago into the Future Past

Leonardo Portus, Estación Violeta Parra, model, 2013-2014. MAVI Santiago. November 2014.

Leonardo Portus, Estación Violeta Parra, model, 2013-2014. MAVI Santiago. November 2014.

Leonardo Portus’s current exhibition at the Museo de Artes Visuales (MAVI) has been receiving much-deserved praise and attentionEstación Utopía (Utopia Station) has a compelling blend of gorgeous visuals, nostalgia, and history. Naturally, I add myself to that list. Any exhibition that includes dollhouse-like models always wins my heart. Moreover, Portus has accomplished a tremendous feat: transforming Metro de Santiago into an object of admiration. As it is the metro is still struggling to be seen as a comfortable experience since rush hour has the attendants stuffing passengers into the cars like sardines. Perceiving the metro as something beautiful is indeed a utopian fantasy.  Continue reading

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Gossiping Neighbors at the MAVI

Paula Salas, El Barrio del Molino, MAVI Santiago. November 2014.

Paula Salas, El Barrio del Molino, MAVI Santiago. November 2014.

The Museo de Artes Visuales (MAVI) in Santiago is currently exhibiting “El Barrio del Molino,” a research + installation project by the Chilean artist Paula Salas. The barrio in question is Barrio Lastarria, a neighborhood that is hands down the best place in Santiago to spend a weekend. The installation is fairly small, occupying barely three walls of the first gallery space you encounter after entering the MAVI. For me the star of the entire show was the main wall, which featured a map of the neighborhood, colored with gossip. Continue reading

Footnote: The Adventures of Jean Mermoz

I’m going through a pretty mellow moment in my life: tucked away in a small town 120 miles south of Santiago I’ve got loads of time to just sit and write. Despite living in a cave, some of the outside world does trickle in and lately it’s been a name: Jean Mermoz.  Continue reading

Footnote: Bauhaus Smoking Gun

I’ve arrived to the point in my dissertation where I address a frequent question: “so, these architects are like a Chilean Bauhaus?” It’s an indirect way of saying, “relate your group to something established, something from Europe, something I know!” I get it, the unknown is terrifying. But I couldn’t live with myself as a Latin Americanist art historian if I didn’t try to pry you away from that life preserver. There are few life preservers in my dissertation and most of them have been relegated to footnotes. Like this one about the Bauhaus.

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