Natalia Majluf’s research has explored the diverse roles of visual culture in shaping national imaginaries in nineteenth and twentieth-century Latin America. She has attempted to involve art history in broader historical narratives by opening up the discipline to new conversations and areas of study. Her curatorial work, first as Head Curator and later as Director of the Museo de Arte de Lima (1995-2018), expanded the museum’s collections across genres, periods and geographies to broaden the possibilities of art historical studies.
Inventing Indigenism: Francisco Laso’s Image of Modern Peru, forthcoming from the University of Texas Press, builds on a long line of research on Latin American discourses of cultural nationalism, exploring the work of painter Francisco Laso (1823-1869) to trace the modern reinvention of the Indian as cultural concept in literature and the visual arts.
Indigenism is also at the center of the exhibition she recently co-curated with Beverly Adams, The Avant-Garde Networks of ‘Amauta’. Argentina, Mexico and Peru in the 1920s, which explores the journal edited in Lima by Peruvian socialist thinker José Carlos Maríategui. The accompanying catalogue won the Arvey Exhibition Catalogue Award, given by the Association of Latin American Art and Thoma Foundation, as well as the Antonio García Cubas prize for best art exhibition catalogue, awarded by the Mexican National Institute of Anthropology and History in 2020.
Between 2018 and 2019 she was Simón Bolívar Professor at the University of Cambridge. She has also held the Getty Curatorial Research Fellowship, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship, and the Inter-American Development Bank and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Visiting Senior Research Fellowship at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts in Washington D. C.
Since 2020 she directs the digital platform “Historias” on Peruvian art and culture, developed for the Museo de Lima with the support of Fundación Telefónica and the Thoma Foundation. She is currently co-editor of Latin American Research Commons, Latin American Studies Association, and of the digital review Trama, Espacio de Crítica y Debate.
Her current project, which largely draws on a collective research project on painter José Gil de Castro that was funded by the Getty Foundation, explores the performative political functions of material objects in the revolutionary process that shook South America between 1808 and 1825.