1. Skip to navigation
  2. Skip to content
  3. Skip to sidebar

Luis CastaƱeda

Assistant Professor of Art History

Research and Teaching Interests

My teaching focuses on the history of art and architecture in the Americas. My survey courses look at transformations in the broad realms of visual and urban culture in this expansive region across large stretches of time, from the pre-Columbian period to the present, and they pay close attention to the economic, technological, and political conditions that have informed some of these transformations. Other recent courses have explored more specific episodes or topics such as, for example, the dialogue between modern artists and the pre-Columbian cultures of countries like Mexico or Peru, or the relationship between ecological concerns, art and design in the United States since the nineteenth century. All of these courses encourage a close analysis of a wide range of media -"old" media as well as very recent media- and objects -small ones like pottery shards, as well as very large ones, like skyscrapers and cathedrals. They also encourage an awareness of the interconnection between art and other relevant aspects of contemporary society, and they connect past historical scenarios to important issues in the present day. My current research looks at some of the ways in which objects, spaces, and images have influenced social and geopolitical transformations in Latin America across time, especially in the context of global media events like Olympics, urban planning initiatives, and state-sponsored artistic campaigns. In addition, I am intrigued by the disciplinary relationships between art history, anthropology, and archaeology, and by the histories of the museum as a cultural formation in the modern world.


Ph.D., History of Art, Institute of Fine Arts, NYU

M.A. History of Art, Institute of Fine Arts, NYU

B.A. Art History, University of Houston

Courses taught

Literature of Art Criticism

Art and Revolution in Latin America

Survey of Latin American Art I (Pre-Columbian to Colonial) and II (Modern and Contemporary)

"Tropical" Imaginations in Modern Latin American Art & Design

Precolumbiana: Forms, Images, Politics

Art and Environment in American Culture since 1800

(with Dr. Sydney Hutchinson) Buscando América: Salsa and the Latino-Latin American City



Bureaucratic Modernism: Architecture and State Power in Latin America (in preparation) 

Spectacular Mexico: Design, Propaganda, and the 1968 Olympics (University of Minnesota Press, 2014)

Peer-Reviewed Articles

"Cold War Archaeology and The Olmec Periphery" (in preparation)

“Island Culture Wars: Selden Rodman and Haiti” (under review)

“Doubling Time,” Grey Room vol. 51 (Spring 2013)

"Choreographing the Metropolis: Networks of Circulation and Power in Olympic Mexico” Journal of Design History Special Issue: Design Histories of the Olympics vol. 25 no. 3 (September 2012): 285-303.

"Beyond Tlatelolco: Design, Media and Politics at Mexico '68." Grey Room. vol. 40 (Summer 2010):100-126.

"Surrealism and Constructions of National Identity in Mexico: Changing Perceptions, 1940-1968." Journal of Surrealism and the Americas. vol. 3, no. 1-2 (Fall 2009): 9-29

Book Chapters

"Living on Video: Color, Monuments and Light at Mexico 68”, in Dietrich Neumann, Margaret Maile Petty and Sandy Eisenstadt, eds. Cities of Light (Routledge, 2014).

"Pre-Columbian Skins, Developmentalist Souls: The Architect as Politician." In: Helen Gyger and Patricio del Real eds. Latin American Modern Architectures: Ambiguous Territories (New York: Routledge, 2012), pp. 93-114. 

Edited Volumes

With Patricio del Real and Zeuler Lima, Taking Positions: Architects Write in Latin America 1920-1985 - Primary Documents (New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2015).

Book Reviews

Review of Claire Fox, Making Art Panamerican: Cultural Policy and the Cold War (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2013), in Hispanic American Historical Review 94 (1) (Feb. 2014).

Review of Timothy Hyde, Constitutional Modernism: Architecture and Civil Society in Cuba, 1933-1959 (Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press, 2013), in Modernism/modernity 20 (3) (Sep. 2013)

Review of Ellen Landau, Mexico and American Modernism (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2013), in Journal of Surrealism and the Americas (Dec. 2013).

Review of Felipe Hernández, Beyond Modernist Masters: Contemporary Architecture in Latin America (Basel: Birkäuser, 2010), in Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians vol. 70 no. 2 (June 2011): 254-255.

Review of Shelley E. Garrigan, Collecting Mexico: Museums, Monuments, and the Creation of National Identity (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2012), in The Americas 69 (3) (January 2013): 406-408.

Other Writings

“Architectures of a Peaceful Revolution: Containing the Amazonian ‘Green Hell,’” Manifest: A Journal of American Architecture and Urbanism, vol. 1 (October 2013).

Entries for “Zócalo,” “Metro” and “Plaza de las Tres Culturas” in Eric Zolov, ed. Icons of Mexico (Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2013).

"Image-Machine: Felix Candela's Palacio de los Deportes." Pidgin vol. 8 (Spring 2010):246-257.  

Honors and Awards

2013 Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, Publication Grant for Spectacular Mexico

2012 Quadrant Fellowship, Institute for Advanced Study, University of Minnesota

2011-2012 Humanities Initiative Fellowship, NYU (declined)

2005-2011 Erwin Panofsky Multi-Year Fellowship, Institute of Fine Arts, NYU

2009-2011 Morse Academic Plan Graduate Fellowship, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, NYU

2010 Dissertation Fellowship, Alumni Association, Institute of Fine Arts, NYU 

2009 Pinta Fund for Latin American Art award for dissertation reasearch in Mexico City

2008-2009 Connoisseurs Circle Fellowship, Institute of Fine Arts, NYU