Eros Ideologies

Writings on Art, Spirituality, and the Decolonial

Book Pages: 304 Illustrations: 49 Published: October 2019

Author: Laura E. Pérez

Art and Visual Culture > Art Criticism and Theory, Chicanx and Latinx Studies, Gender and Sexuality > Feminism and Women’s Studies

In Eros Ideologies Laura E. Pérez explores the decolonial through Western and non-Western thought concerning personal and social well-being. Drawing upon Jungian, people-of-color, and spiritual psychology alongside non-Western spiritual philosophies of the interdependence of all life-forms, she writes of the decolonial as an ongoing project rooted in love as an ideology to frame respectful coexistence of social and cultural diversity. In readings of art that includes self-portraits by Frida Kahlo, Ana Mendieta, and Yreina D. Cervántez, the drawings and paintings of Chilean American artist Liliana Wilson, and Favianna Rodriguez's screen-printed images, Pérez identifies art as one of the most valuable laboratories for creating, imagining, and experiencing new forms of decolonial thought. Such art expresses what Pérez calls eros ideologies: understandings of social and natural reality that foreground the centrality of respect and care of self and others as the basis for a more democratic and responsible present and future. Employing a range of writing styles and voices—from the poetic to the scholarly—Pérez shows how art can point to more just and loving ways of being.


“Laura E. Pérez renews the precepts of 1950s Third World liberation and extends the contemporary politics of women-of-color freedom fighters into the future. She speaks with many voices—the learned scholar, the analyst, the teacher, the maker of new aesthetics, the poet, the dreamer, and the guide—and offers her readers a multitude of routes for crossing academic and subjective terrains to find new possibilities for thinking, doing, and being. An outstanding work of decolonial writing by one of the great Chicana feminist philosophers of our time, Eros Ideologies is exactly the book I have needed to best teach my undergraduate and graduate students.” — Chela Sandoval, author of Methodology of the Oppressed

“Laura E. Pérez’s newest book is a tour de force that integrates the mind-body-spirit through a series of writings that weave together the theoretical and poetical within the context of decolonization. She explores the works of artists like Gloria Anzaldúa, Ester Hernández, and Consuelo Jiménez Underwood as she crosses disciplines to bring the embodied psyche to bear on questions of the erotic and the spiritual.” — Amalia Mesa-Bains, Professor Emerita, California State University, Monterey Bay

"Pérez eloquently reflects on activism, art, philosophy, poetry, politics, and selfhood. She offers radical reappraisals of the art of Frida Kahlo, Ana Mendieta, Esther Hernández, and Liliana Wilson, among many artists whose histories have been obfuscated by Eurocentric ideas and whose praxes she creatively reexamines. This cross-disciplinary study powerfully recombines theoretical and literary sources that speak to academic practice, lived experience, and poetic meditation. Writing in multiple authorial voices, Pérez shatters the high/low art dichotomy that has often segregated Latinx art history from mainstream US culture. Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty." — L. Estevez, Choice

"Readers unfamiliar with Latina, especially Chicana, art and politics are treated to eye-opening beauty mixed with expressions of suffering and resistance. Readers already immersed in the culturally rich world of protest art foregrounding gender and eroticisim will find new ways into the multilayered visionaries featured here." — Marjorie Mandelstam Balzer, Religion

"Eros Ideologies is a teacherly text: Pérez shows us not only how to look at, but also how to be with, art of the Americas.… Certainly, the use of personal prose in scholarly publications is not unprecedented in the discourses of ethnic studies, anthropology, history, literature, art, and cultural studies; but Pérez's approach is tactical as readers enter her classroom—a space of 'heart and hearth'—where she interweaves decades of close study of theoretical and spiritual texts, lifelong contemplations of artwork, and the conversations she has maintained with the many artists who made them." — Ella Maria Diaz, Latino Studies


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Laura E. Pérez is Professor of Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, and the author of Chicana Art: The Politics of Spiritual and Aesthetic Altarities, also published by Duke University Press.

Table of Contents Back to Top
List of Illustrations  xi
Preface  xv
Acknowledgments  xxi
1. The Social Body of Love: Crafting Decolonial Methodologies  1
2. Eros Ideologies and Methodology of the Oppressed  17
3. Long Nguyen: Flesh of the Inscrutable  24
4. Hidden Avant-Gardes: Contemporary U.S. Latina/o Art  27
5. Freedom and Gender in Ester Hernández's Libertad  34
6. 'Ginas in the Atelier  40
7. The Poetry of Embodiment: Series and Variation in Linda Arreola's Vaguely Chicana  52
8. Art and Museums  56
9. The@-Erotics in Alex Donis's My Cathedral  70
10. Con o sin permiso (With or without Permission): Chicana Badgirls: Las hociconas  77
11. Maestrapeace: Picturing the Power of Women's Histories of Creativity  82
12. Decolonizing Self-Portraits of Frida Kahlo, Ana Mendieta, and Yreina D. Cervántez  91
13. Undead Darwinism and the Fault Lines of Neocolonialism in Latina/o Art Worlds  112
14. The Inviolate Erotic in the Paintings of Liliana Wilson  126
15. The Performance of Spirituality and Visionary Politics in the Work of Gloria Anzaldúa  133
16. Daughters Shaking Earth  147
17 Fashioning Decolonial Optics: Days of the Dead Walking Altars and Calavera Fashion Shows in Latina/o Los Angeles  155
18. On Jean Pierre Larochette and Yael Lurie's Water Songs  174
19. Prayers for the Planet: Reweaving the Natural and the Social: Consuelo Jimenez Underwood's Welcome to Flower-Landai  179
20. "Undocu Nation," Creativity, Integrity  192
21. Writing with Crooked Lines  201
Notes  211
References  245
Index  263
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Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-6938-7 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-6921-9
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