Melissa Quarto

 

Melissa Quarto

Melissa Quarto will be graduating this April with a double major in History of Art & Architecture and Hispanic Languages & Literature with minors in Museum Studies and Studio Arts.  She is primarily interested in the political agency of images and place-making through transnational encounters within the Americas. At HAAARCH, she will present her Honors thesis, Performing Incanismo: Cultural Tourism at Machu Picchu, Peru. In addition, she will share her experience developing Exposure: Black Voices in the Arts, exhibited at the University Art Gallery this past fall.

Her Honors Thesis questions the contemporary use of Inka imagery and monumental architecture by federal agencies in Peru to construct a national identity, and concurrently promote an idealized image of Peru marketable to an international tourist public. The Friends of the Frick Research Award has allowed her to travel to Peru in early March to observe the constructed tourist pilgrimage from Cusco, through the Sacred Valley, and culminating at the iconic site of Machu Picchu. This past summer Melissa was able to travel to London through the Image & Word Field Studies program to conduct research on the methods of display national art institutions utilize to present non-Western cultures. During this trip she was able to briefly visit the UNESCO Archives in Paris, France, where she came across documents by the UNESCO organization warning the Peruvian government of the ecological stress on the Machu Picchu site due to its exhaustive overuse by tourists. This opportunity, along with her past coursework in History of Ethics and Collecting and her studies in the Spanish department, prompted her to focus this site for her Honors Thesis research.

A teaching assistantship for Museum Studies Exhibition Seminar this past semester, which presented Exposure: Black Voices in the Arts, allowed Melissa to share her interests in exhibition development and design and her enthusiasm for socially engaged art with her peers. Her experience at the Society for Contemporary Craft this academic year, thanks to the Frick Fine Arts Award, gave her a crucial opportunity to further develop skills in communications and exhibition planning geared towards community engagement. After graduation she hopes to work in Manhattan at an art gallery, auction house, or design firm for a few years before deciding what studies to pursue for a masters degree. Ideally, she hopes to find a career and course of study that will allow her to combine her interests in both Latin America and the visual arts, while further developing her knowledge or Spanish. 

Categories: 
  • HAAARCH!!! 2016
  • Undergraduate Work
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