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José Leonilson: Autobiography of a Brazilian Artist, Symposium and Launch of the Leonilson Catalogue Raisonné

Americas Society

September 25, 2017


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This event is free and open to the public but registration is required.

Americas Society presents an academic symposium at New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts to celebrate the upcoming exhibition José Leonilson: Empty Man and the international launch of the three-volume Leonilson catalogue raisonné, recently completed by the artist’s estate, the São Paulo-based Projeto Leonilson. 

Speakers include the cocurators of the exhibition, Cecilia Brunson (independent curator), Gabriela Rangel (director and chief curator, Visual Arts, Americas Society), and Susanna V. Temkin (assistant curator, Visual Arts, Americas Society), as well as Yuji Kawasima (PhD candidate, Universidad Complutense de Madrid), Ana Lenice Dias (president, Projeto Leonilson); and professors Jenni Sorkin (University of California, Santa Barbara), and Edward Sullivan (New York University).

Learn more about the exhibition José Leonilson: Empty Man, on view September 27–February 3, 2018.

Event Information: Veronica Flom | | 1-212-277-8367
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Caption: José Leonilson Bezerra Dias, Jogos Perigosos [Dangerous Games], 1990. Courtesy of the collection of Luisa Strina. © Projeto Leonilson

Cecilia Brunson is a curator, critic, author, and the owner of Cecilia Brunson Projects in London. In 2001, she was exhibition coordinator at Americas Society, where she organized the first U.S. show of Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla, and the exhibition, Pictures of You: Contemporary Art from Mexico. Beginning in 2004 she was associate curator of Latin American Art at the Blanton Museum of Austin, Texas, where she was responsible for all Latin American acquisitions for the museum’s collection. In 2005, she founded INCUBO a nonprofit residency program for international curators based in Santiago, Chile. In 2009, Brunson cofounded the AMA Fellowship, an annual grant enabling a Chilean artist to participate in Gasworks Residency Program, London. Other curated exhibitions include Tectonic Shift: Contemprary Art from Chile from the Juan Yarur Collection, the Saatchi Gallery and Phillips du Pury; Claudio Girola, Museo Rufino Tamayo, Mexico; and Luis Camnitzer:1968 Massacre of Puerto Montt, Galería Metropolitana, Santiago, Chile.

Ana Lenice Dias is the president of the Projeto Leonilson and founding councilor of the institution. She graduated in psychology from the Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo in 1976 and undertook graduate studies in family therapy at the Instituto Familiae in 1998.

Yuji Kawasima is a PhD candidate in the Department of Art History at the Universidad Complutense in Madrid, where he works under the direction of Dr. Estrella de Diego. He is a member of the research group coordinated by Projeto Leonilson for the realization of the catalogue raissoné of José Leonilson Bezerra Dias. Kawasima is a frequent contributor to the cultural supplement Babelia of El País (Spain). He is a founding member of the collective, Indisciplinadas, and has realized curatorial projects in collaboration with the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, São Paulo Art Book Fair, Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo, Museo de Arte de Castilla y León y Medialab-Prado.

Gabriela Rangel holds an MA in curatorial studies from the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, an MA in media and communications studies from the Universidad Católica Andrés Bello in Caracas, and a BA in film studies from the International Film School at San Antonio de los Baños, Cuba. She is currently the director of Visual Arts and chief curator at the Americas Society. Prior to this position she was assistant curator of Latin American art and programs coordinator for the International Center for the Arts of the Americas at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. She has curated exhibitions on the work of Marta Minujin, Gordon Matta Clark, Paula Trope, Carlos Cruz-Diez, Juan Downey, and Dias & Riedweg, among others. Rangel has also made catalogue contributions to Arturo Herrera (Transnocho Arte Contacto, Caracas, 2009), Arte no es vida (El Museo del Barrio, New York, 2008), Da Adversidade Vivemos: Artistes d'Amérique latine (Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, 2001) and Liliana Porter (Centro de Arte Recoleta, Buenos Aires), and coedited A Principality on its Own (Americas Society-David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard, 2006).

Jenni Sorkin is associate professor of Contemporary Art History at University of California, Santa Barbara. She holds a PhD in the history of art from Yale University. She writes on the intersection between gender, craft, material culture, and contemporary art, and has received fellowships from the ACLS, the Luce Foundation, and the Getty Research Institute. In 2016, she cocurated, with Paul Schimmel, Revolution in the Making: Abstract Sculpture by Women, 1947-2016, the inaugural exhibition at Hauser & Wirth in Los Angeles. She recently published her first book, Live Form: Women, Ceramics and Community (The University of Chicago Press, 2016), which examines gender and post-war ceramics practice at Black Mountain College and other utopian communities. 

Edward J. Sullivan is the Helen Gould Sheppard professor of art history at NYU 's Institute of Fine Arts. His area of specialization is modern and contemporary art of Latin America and the Caribbean. He is the author of over thirty books and exhibition catalogues. His most recent book Making the Americas Modern: Hemispheric Art 1910-50 will be published this winter by Laurence King Ltd (London).

Susanna V. Temkin is assistant curator at the Americas Society.  She earned her master’s and PhD degrees from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, where her research focused on modern art in the Americas. From 2011 to 2016, she served as the research and archive specialist at the gallery Cecilia de Torres, Ltd., where she assisted in coauthoring the digital catalogue raisonné of Joaquín Torres-García ( Previously, she held positions at El Museo del Barrio in New York and The Wolfsonian-Florida International University in Miami. Her essays and reviews have been published in the Rutgers Art Review and Hemispheres, and she recently authored the chronology of Concrete Cuba: Cuba Geometric Abstraction from the 1950s, produced by David Zwirner Books.