El Dorado: A Reader cover page


Hyperallergic Includes El Dorado: A Reader on Its March Book Recommendations List

By Elaine Velie

The online arts magazine highlights that the publication "is as thorough as the exhibition and its backing research."

Few myths are as inescapable as that of “El Dorado,” the evasive city of gold hidden deep within the South American jungle. Nearly two dozen scholars hailing from fields ranging from art history to philosophy collaborated over the course of three years to explore the legend and its consequences, ultimately conceiving three exhibitions in Puebla, Mexico, Buenos Aires, and NYC, where the latter half of the two-part El Dorado: Myths of Gold is on view at the Americas Society through May 18. This show’s companion book is as thorough as the exhibition and its backing research. Contemporary essays and historic texts (including excerpts from famous figures such as Marco Polo and Edgar Allen Poe) probe El Dorado’s origins, iterations, means of dissemination, and impacts on resource extraction, colonialism, and internal and external conceptions of the Americas. The reader exposes just how pervasive the myth of El Dorado truly is; its glimmering insights only scratch the surface of the indelible legend’s effects. As curator Aimé Lukin notes in the introduction, the book is “destined for failure,” just like the scores of explorers who set out to find the city of gold and the ensuing colonialist projects that solidified wealth in the hands of a few.

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