Spanish Civil War
As a scholar of modernism and the Spanish Civil War, I have long been engaged with others’ ideas about engagement—both modernists and scholars of modernism—questioning the intersection of politics and art. As a scholar at the margins of the academy, I have sought to make sense of where my own work might fit, both into the world of scholarship and the wider world in which scholarship takes shape.
At the 2017 Whitney Biennial in New York City––a show attuned to the intense political divisions and racial tensions in the United States today––one artist stood out for her reuse of images of resistance from various moments in the history of modernity, marked by figures such as Marx and Engels, Muhammad Ali, and the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. Celeste Dupuy-Spencer’s Veterans Day (2016), a large oil painting on linen, stages these images in a domestic interior space with yellow wallpaper speckled with flowers and a vintage stereo emanating visual notes that unfurl throughout the room (fig. 1).