This is the keynote lecture for the conference Tradition and Transition in the Spanish Avant-Garde. View conference schedule.
From the teens to the thirties, Barcelona experienced a golden age of artistic and commercial expansion. Fueled by a growing interest in mass culture and serial publications, artists became immersed in an environment in which they were both fabricators and consumers of mass-market publicity. This presentation tracks some of the unexpected crossings between commercial culture and the artistic avant-garde in Barcelona during a period that was marked by urban strife and political unrest leading up to the Civil War from 1936-1939.
About the conference
Spain’s artistic activity during the first third of the 20th century is truly remarkable for its breadth, quality, and interdisciplinarity. Indeed, Madrid and Barcelona, both hotbeds of creativity, witnessed the nascent careers of Federico García Lorca (1898 – 1936), Luis Buñuel (1900 – 1983), and Salvador Dalí (1904 – 1989), just to name a few of the era’s best known artists. However, other figures, less well known internationally, made vital contributions to the artistic panorama. This conference brings together the research of keynote speaker Jordana Mendelson (Associate Professor, Dept. of Spanish and Portuguese, NYU) and eight graduate students, which explores the complex artistic, political, and commercial facets of the Spanish avant-garde and its trailblazers.
The conference is sponsored by the Department of Romance Languages and Literature, the Department of the History of Art, the Institute for the Humanities, the International Institute, the Museum Studies Program, the Dean’s Strategic Initiative Fund at the Rackham Graduate School, and the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), with additional support from the Department of English and the University of Michigan Museum of Art.