El Dorado: Myths of Gold Gallery Tour

By Luisa Leme

Walk through the exhibition with the curators of the show, now on view at Art at Americas Society until May 18.

Through its collection of historical and contemporary works, El Dorado: Myths of Gold at the Art at Americas Society gallery in New York approaches the question how the mineral has shaped the identity of the Western Hemisphere since the times of European explorers until today. In this video, the show's curators explain how the art works tell a story not through chronology, nor Eurocentric history lessons. Rather, they present the El Dorado myth as conceptual, something everyone can understand, explained co-curator Edward Sullivan, Helen Gould Sheppard Professor of Art History at New York University. "You come to the gallery and you're surrounded by fantastic works of art, and you make up your own myths of gold, and you make up your own chronology."

The two-part exhibition, which was co-curated by Aimé Iglesias Lukin, director and chief curator of Art at Americas Society; Tie Jojima, associate curator and manager of exhibitions of Art at Americas Society; and Sullivan and explores the myth of El Dorado from the pre-Hispanic period to the contemporary era. "One of the conversations that we are trying to open in this show is this dialogue between past and present," says Jojima.

The three curators walk through the art works around the myth, explain how gold continues to shape cartography and pictures of the Americas, and discuss its impact on people and their bodies across the region. Iglesias Lukin explains, "This is not a show about gold in itself but a show about the myth of gold, the way in which gold and the search for gold is a metaphor of the different historical ways in which we've been thinking about the Americas."