Spectacular Modernity: Dictatorship, Space, and Visuality in Venezuela, 1948-1958


Product Details

University of Pittsburgh Press
Publish Date
6.0 X 8.9 X 0.8 inches | 0.85 pounds

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About the Author

Lisa Blackmore is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Zurich and will join the school of philosophy and art history at the University of Essex as a lecturer in art history and interdisciplinary studies in 2017. She has taught at the University of Leeds, Universidad Simón Bolívar, and Universidad Central de Venezuela, and is coeditor of the forthcoming volume El Helicoide: From Futuristic Mall to Panoptic Prison.


"In a present that scorns the dictatorship of Marcos Pérez Jiménez, the underlying framework of modernization that characterized it retains surprising traction. Blackmore's Spectacular Modernity is a beautiful and engaging text that deploys an aesthetic and political analysis of the dictatorship's transformation of space to explain why this is. She makes an undeniable contribution to studies of Venezuela and modernity more broadly, and offers a sharp warning to those who might turn back the democratic clock in search of an elusive modernity."
--George Ciccariello-Maher, Drexel University
"Spectacular Modernity is an in-depth study of the relationship between dictatorial power and the production of the modern imaginary of Venezuela. Blackmore's book is a groundbreaking contribution to scholarship on mid-twentieth century modernization in Latin America."
--Patricio del Real, Harvard University

"Between 1948 and 1958, Venezuela's modernity, Blackmore argues, was spectacular: it centered on the development of work that visibly expressed progress and innovation while masking coercive and undemocratic dictatorial practices that could hinder what was essential to the development of the nation."

"Blackmore's book offers fresh critical light on modernization and is an engaging, discipline-spanning study of politics, aesthetics, space, and subjectivity that will benefit many audiences and debates."
--Bulletin for Latin American Research
"To tell the story of mid-twentieth century Venezuela, Blackmore stitches together politics, economics, architecture, infrastructure, and visual culture."
--European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies
"Blackwell's monograph Spectacular Modernity analyzes the construction and representation of modernist architecture by post-World War II dictatorial governments. Her narrative is punctuated by a robust set of archival photographs and reproductions that highlight how multimedia facilitated nuanced forms of political suppression."
--Latin American Research Review