George Flaherty, associate professor in the Department of Art and Art History, has been named as the new director of Center for Latin American Visual Studies (CLAVIS), a physical and intellectual hub at The University of Texas for the advanced understanding of modern and contemporary art from throughout the Americas.
Flaherty previously served as associate director of CLAVIS, and he is also affiliated with the Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies and Center for Mexican American Studies on campus. Flaherty’s research and teaching focus primarily on Latin American and U.S. Latino visual and spatial cultures in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, with an emphasis on Mexico, the U.S.-Mexico borderlands and Cuba. In 2016, the University of California Press published his first book, Hotel Mexico: Dwelling on the ’68 Movement.
In his new role, Flaherty says he will continue the pioneering work of CLAVIS co-founders Dr. Andrea Giunta and Dr. Robeto Tejada and build upon the university’s long history of sponsoring advanced research and teaching related to Latin American art and Latin American studies.
CLAVIS is a nucleus on campus, nationally and internationally, for advancing the study of modern and contemporary art from the Americas. The center is a flexible and portable space for the creation of original art historical knowledge through intellectual rigor and lasting collegiality and collaboration across disciplinary and geopolitical boundaries. CLAVIS leverages the unique, world-class resources at UT, including the Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection, the Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art and scholars of Latin American and Latino studies across the university, to build bridges that allow for the reciprocity of ideas and methodologies with fellow institutions throughout the U.S., Latin America, Europe and elsewhere.
CLAVIS focuses on training the field’s most promising emerging scholars, which includes recruiting students internationally and also creating programming that is inclusive of scholars from throughout the Americas and beyond. The program also fosters programming that emphasizes deep archival research, collaboration with colleagues and creative methodologies with comparative, transnational and interdisciplinary approaches.
Assistant Professor Adele Nelson, a specialist in 20th century Brazilian and Latin American art, will work with Flaherty to organize several large conferences and seminars for scholars in the next couple of years.
Flaherty also hopes to increase undergraduate student participation in CLAVIS programming through a study trip for art and art history majors to Mexico City, lectures by visiting scholars and participation by undergrads in the regular informal workshops of the Permanent Seminar in Latin American Art.
Flaherty and Professor Julia Guernsey will be co-teaching a seminar this fall that explores the art, architecture and urbanism of Mexico City. As part of the course, they are planning a weeklong study trip for students to visit the city to see the monuments covered in the course firsthand and meet with colleagues there. They hope that this will serve as a pilot for an undergraduate survey course in the future.
CLAVIS will also continue to sponsor exhibitions developed by students in the department to aid in their professional training as future curators. An exhibition on Mexican artists’ books is planned this fall in the Visual Arts Center.