Preview 1/2014 | Jesús Pedro Lorente: Modern utopias in suburban meadows

Urban civilizations have often historically attributed particular symbolism to some kind of peripheral greens not properly part of the countryside or the city, but in a limes where common patterns of both categories merge. In the early-twentieth century these suburban prairies became favourite scenarios for the idyllic dreams of visionaries aspiring to amalgamate artists/scholars with museum/exhibition centres and monuments/public art. They were never fully achieved and therefore can be regarded as utopias. Yet, museums and sculptures placed in outer parks, or even amidst rural surroundings to be reached by citizens in motor vehicles, would become a modernist paradigm after World War II; particularly during the Cold War, as a cultural stereotype of the American Way of Life exported worldwide.


Jesús Pedro Lorente is Professor of Art History at the University of Saragossa (Spain), where he graduated in 1986 after which he pursued his training with research grants at the Spanish Academy of Rome (1988), the Università Internazionale dell’Arte, Florence (1989/90), the École du Louvre, Paris (1990/91) and the University of Leicester University, UK (1991/96), where he submitted his PhD at the Department of Museum Studies (supervisor: Prof. Eilean Hooper-Greenhill) and was researchfellow at the Centre for Urban History Studies (supervisor: Prof. Peter Clark) thanks to a postdoctoral EU Grant. Since 1996 he works at the University of Saragossa, where he is academic coordinator of the MA in Museum Education, and teaches topics related to Museology, 19th-century art, Spanish Contemporary Art, etc.  He is the coordinator of the research team “Observatorio Aragonés de Arte en la Esfera Pública”,  and leader of several research projects related to museums, public art and art criticism. He is also an art critic, member of AICA (International Associations of Art Critics), member of the board of AECA (Spanish Association of Art Critics) and secretary of AACA (Aragonese Association of Art Critics), being director of its quaterly journal, AACA Digital.

Among his most recent Publications figure the anthology Historia de la crítica del arte. Textos escogidos y comentados. Zaragoza, Prensas Universitarias de Zaragoza, 2005, and the book  Los museos de arte contemporáneo: noción y desarrollo histórico, Gijón, Trea, 2008 (translated into French: Les musées d’art moderne et contemporain : une exploration conceptuelle et historique, París, l’Harmattan, 2009; also available in English: The Museums of Contemporary Art. Notion and Development, Farnham & Burlington, Ashgate Press, 2011).