Researcher ORCID Identifier

Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Art History

Second Department

Latin American Studies

Reader 1

Rosalía Romero

Reader 2

Marina Perez de Mendiola

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Rights Information

2021 Alexandra J Branscom


Even though the canon of Western Art History has attributed the Pop movement to the US and the UK, artists from around the world have made significant contributions to pop art and formed their own Pop movements. This includes the Latin American pop artists Felipe Ehrenberg (Mexican), Antonio Henrique Amaral (Brazilian), and Juan Dávila (Chilean), who, between the years 1968 and 1974, fled right-wing political unrest of their respective home countries and gained artistic education in dominant, imperialistic countries. These artists subvert the capitalistic, adverting language of pop art to promote the localized political sensibilities of their home countries and forge their pathways towards decolonizing art.

Decades before the emergence of the pop art movement in Latin America, the Uruguayan artist Joaquín Torres-Garcia challenged modernism, an inherently European epistemological and aesthetic system. Torres-Garcia’s art and approach to selfhood allows us to consider him as one of the precursors of a “decolonial” intervention: one that questions the outside pressures of modernity’s colonialism and imperialism. He sowed some of the seeds of pop art’s budding “transmodernity”–an approach to thinking about modernity through the voices of the sub-ontological.

Ehrenberg, Amaral and Dávila’s subversive uses of materiality, the grid, and iconography create a unifying thread that connects them back to Torres-Garcia. The inclusion of the three pop artists’ localities and experiences in their work creates the unique diversity necessary for transmodern work. As Torres-Garcia shares some of their aesthetic qualities, his legacy provides a valuable framework a decolonizing alternative to modernism’s homogenizing universality.