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Durham University

Zurbarán Centre for Spanish and Latin American Art

Hot Art, Cold War The Spanish Reception of US Art

Focusing on Spanish art writing on US art in the Cold War period, this research is part of a larger collaborative research and translation project led by Claudia Hopkins and Iain Boyd Whyte (University of Edinburgh), with funding by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

The project, which started in 2015, has thus far produced two linked text anthologies, Hot Art, Cold War - Southern and Eastern European Writing on American Art 1945-1990 and Western and Northern European Writing on American Art 1945-1990, edited by Claudia Hopkins and Iain Boyd Whyte and published by Routledge in the autumn 2020.

The two volumes are the outcome of a vigorous and very fruitful collaborative process with many advisors. Researchers with expertise on the reception of American art in different European local contexts were asked to recommend texts suitable for translation and inclusion in the anthology. The individual translations are introduced by short texts explaining their significance, and each section of the volumes is prefaced by a research essay, setting the evolving debates about American art over the Cold War period in the local political, social, and cultural contexts.

The Spanish section of the book was developed in collaboration with Javier Ortiz-Echagüe (Universidad Rey Juan Carlos) and Miguel Angel Hernández Navarro (Universidad de Murcia)

Instead of privileging any particular viewpoint or any particular geographies, the volumes offer readers for the first time the possibility to compare how European cultural brokers—journalists, art historians, philosophers, politicians, curators—translated American art into terms and idioms that could be understood by their respective audiences. This publication, therefore, is both a project about cultural translation and a major translation initiative in its own right. Whilst many readers might speak at least one or even several foreign languages, hardly anyone would be able to read in the twenty-five European languages represented by the texts across the two volumes. They offer the reader a unique opportunity to compare how European art writers introduced and explained contemporary American art to their many and varied audiences.

The anthology will be followed by a series of workshops on the Spanish/Portuguese reception of US art and the Eastern reception of US art, 2022. Details to follow.