Friday, January 31, 2014

#FridayReads: Thirteen Ways of Looking at Latino Art

Out next month, in Thirteen Ways of Looking at Latino Art Paperback, the essayist and cultural commentator Ilan Stavans and the analytic philosopher Jorge J. E. Gracia share long-standing interests in the intersection of art and ideas. Here they take thirteen pieces of Latino art, each reproduced in color, as occasions for thematic discussions. 

Whether the work at the center of a particular conversation is a triptych created by the brothers Einar and Jamex de la Torre, Andrés Serrano's controversial Piss Christ, a mural by the graffiti artist BEAR TCK, or Above All Things, a photograph by María Magdalena Campos-Pons, Stavans and Gracia's exchanges inevitably open out to literature, history, ethics, politics, religion, and visual culture more broadly. 

Autobiographical details pepper Stavans and Gracia's conversations, as one or the other tells what he finds meaningful in a given work. Sparkling with insight, their exchanges allow the reader to eavesdrop on two celebrated intellectuals—worldly, erudite, and unafraid to disagree—as they reflect on the pleasures of seeing.

Ilan Stavans is Lewis-Sebring Professor in Latin American and Latino Culture at Amherst College. He has written, edited, and translated many books, including Spanglish: The Making of a New American Language, The Poetry of Pablo Neruda, and The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature. 

 Jorge J. E. Gracia is Samuel P. Capen Chair and SUNY Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Comparative Literature at the State University of New York at Buffalo. His many books include Painting Borges: Philosophy Interpreting Art Interpreting Literature, Images of Thought: Philosophical Interpretations of Carlos Estévez's Art, and Latinos in America: Philosophy and Social Identity.

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