Evening Lectures: Anna Wieck

Evening Lectures: Anna Wieck at

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From Galas to Gutters: Maruja Mallo in Madrid (1927-1932)

Anna Wieck, PhD, curatorial research associate, Department of Photographs, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

This lecture focuses on the early work of painter and ceramicist Maruja Mallo (1902-1995). She counted the triumvirate of Salvador Dalí, Federico García Lorca, and Luis Buñuel among her friends. Though she was an active participant within Madrid’s artistic culture, the vital role Mallo played there is relatively unknown due to both her status as a woman and her prolonged exile to Argentina (1936-61) as a result of the Spanish Civil War. Although most celebrated for her colorful fairground scenes (the Verbenas or “Festivals” series, 1926-27), Mallo’s interests also veered into darker territory, leading her beyond the city’s limits to Vallecas, where she found inspiration not in sublime nature, but in trash heaps (the Cloacas y campanarios or “Sewers and Belfries” series, c. 1929-32). This presentation will introduce key works from Mallo’s oeuvre, drawing attention to the artist’s interactions with the material culture of the fair as well as the detritus found in Madrid’s outskirts. These exchanges ultimately betray the artist’s ambivalent attitude toward high culture and modernity’s homogenizing effects.

Free; priority seating for members until 5:40 p.m.
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