"Love with Obstacles (Amor Rojo)": Book Launch + Conversation

Program October 14, 2020, 1 p.m.
Virtual Program

To mark the release of Dora García’s publication, Love with Obstacles (Amor Rojo), we invite you to join us for a virtual book launch and conversation exploring the rich legacy of Alexandra Kollantai. Kollontai (St. Petersburg, 1872–Moscow, 1952) was an October revolutionary, social activist, feminist, and intellectual who was a key agitator for the sexual and social emancipation of women.

Moderated by Senior Curator-at-Large Ruth Estévez, Dora García will be joined by contributing writers Rina Ortiz and Anna-Sophie Springer, and by Assistant Professor of African and African American Studies & Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Brandeis University, Shoniqua Roach. Tune in for a lively discussion on Kollantai’s contributions towards protecting women’s rights, the importance of fiction and private correspondence in the construction of political thought, and how Kollantai’s ideas on radical social change continue to inspire and mobilize a new generation of feminist thinkers and activists.

The conversation will be hosted online via Zoom Webinar. Please send questions for García and program panelists in advance to elizabethmoy@brandeis.edu



RUTH ESTÉVEZ is a Spanish-born writer and curator. She is the Artistic Director of Amant Foundation in New York and Co-curator of the 34th Sao Paolo Biennale. She also organizes with Pablo Martínez the annual performance program “Idiorritmias" at MACBA in Barcelona.  Ruth served as Senior Curator at Large for the Rose Art Museum from 2018-2020, where she curated the exhibitions; Dora Garcia; Love with Obstacles, Gordon Matta-Clark; An Anarchitect. Prior to her work at the Rose Art Museum, Estevez was director and curator at REDCAT/CalArts in Los Angeles from 2012 to 2018. REDCAT was founded by CalArts, an interdisciplinary contemporary arts center for innovative visual, performing, and media arts in downtown Los Angeles, located inside the Walt Disney Concert Hall complex. Before leading REDCAT, Ruth served as chief curator of the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Carrillo Gil in Mexico City from 2007 to 2011. She has organized exhibitions with a roster of international artists, including Pablo Bronstein, Allora & Calzadilla, Joao Maria Gusmao, and Pedro Paiva, Mark Manders, and Guy Ben-Ner, among others. In 2010, Estevez co-founded LIGA, Space for Architecture, the first space in Latin America devoted to the critical reflection and presentation of public art, architecture, and urbanism. Ruth has written extensively for various exhibition catalogs and art publications and holds a BA in fine arts from the Basque Country Public University, an MA in art history from Mexico’s National Autonomous University, and a Ph. D. candidate UCLM University in Cuenca, Spain. Her most recent exhibition on the Argentine artist Leon Ferrari was part of Pacific Standard Time and received wide critical acclaim. It was presented at REDCAT in Los Angeles, Perez Art Museum in Miami, and also traveled to the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid.

DORA GARCÍA is an artist, teacher, and researcher who draws on interactivity and performance in her work, using the exhibition as a platform to investigate the relationship between artwork, audience, and place. García transforms spaces into sensory experiences by altering perceptions and creating situations of interaction, often using intermediaries (professional actors, amateurs, or people she meets by chance) to enhance a critical look at things. By engaging with the binary of reality vs. fiction and dwelling in questions of time (real, historical, cyclical, fictional), visitors become implicated (knowingly or not) as protagonists, either in the construction of a collective fiction or in the deconstruction of conventions. In this context, she has also always been interested in anti-heroic and marginal personae as a prototype to study the social status of the artist, and in narratives of resistance and counter-culture. Dora García has participated in numerous international art exhibitions, including Münster Sculpture Projects (2007), Venice Biennial (2011, 2013, 2015), Sydney Biennial (2008), São Paulo Biennial (2010), dOCUMENTA 13 (2012), Gwangju Biennial (2016). In 2019, she participated in osloBiennalen, Art Encounters Timisoara (Romania), and AICHI Triennale, Japan. She has also published various books over the years, including a 2018 cooperation with K. Verlag entitled On Reconciliation / Über Versöhnung, and a bilingual publication dealing with the unlikely relationship between Hannah Arendt and Martin Heidegger that was awarded the book art prize “25 Most Beautiful German Books” by Stiftung Buchkunst in 2019. She lives in Oslo and Barcelona.

RINA ORTIZ studied history and obtained her Ph.D. at the Institute of Universal History of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Until her retirement in 2017, she was a senior researcher at the National Institute of Anthropology and History (Mexico). In her work, she investigated social and political history, with a focus on Russian-Mexican cultural exchange, which she spent many years researching in various archives in Russia. She translated into Spanish the testimonies of Russian travelers to Alta California from the first half of the nineteenth century and other documents linked to the communist movement. Her focus of the more recent years has been on the life and work of Alexandra Kollontai, whose diary about her time in Mexico (1926–27) she translated as well. Also, as a translator, she has moreover contributed to several exhibition catalogs, including The Russian Avant-Garde: The Vertigo of the Future (2015) and Kandinsky: Small Worlds (2018), both published by Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (National Museum of Fine Arts), Mexico City. Her own authored publications include books and book chapters dealing with Kollontai as well as the relations between other Mexican and Russian communists. Born in Mexico City, she lives and works in Coatepec.

SHONIQUA ROACH is Assistant Professor of African and African American Studies & Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Brandeis University. Her research and teaching focus on Black Feminisms, Queer Studies, and Black Literary and Visual Cultures. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Women and Performance, Feminist Theory, The Black Scholar, Signs: journal of women in culture and society, Journal of American Culture, and differences: a journal of feminist cultural studies. She is currently at work on her book manuscript, Black Dwelling: Home-making and Erotic Freedom, which explores the possibilities for black women’s sexual citizenship and erotic freedom within overlooked or dismissed domains such as privacy and domesticity.

ANNA SOPHIE SPRINGER is an exhibition maker, writer, editor, and publisher. Since 2011, she directs the boutique publishing atelier K. Verlag in Berlin, advancing new forms of the book as an exhibition format. Previous projects produced and published by K. Verlag have engaged themes of naturecultures, post/colonialism and ethnography, geopolitics, contemporary history, and environmental violence, as well as visual culture, literature, and feminism. Historical archives, libraries, and museums, are assayed via intersectional approaches and hybrid methodologies to explore important issues of our times. With this unique approach to publishing, K. pushes the boundaries of the traditional exhibition catalog, developing publications that open independent and/or adjacent aesthetic and discursive spaces. Titles prior to Love with Obstacles (Amor Rojo) include Dora García’s On Reconciliation / Über Versöhnung, which was named one of the Most Beautiful Books by the German Stiftung Buchkunst in 2019, as well as the intercalations: paginated exhibition series, co-edited by Anna-Sophie and co-published with the Haus der Kulturen der Welt as part of “Das Anthropozän-Projekt.” Most recently, in Spring 2020, K. Verlag was named a recipient of the prestigious Deutscher Verlagspreis (German Publishing Prize), which is awarded annually to honor outstanding independent publishers by the Federal Ministry of Culture.


This program is in conjunction with Dora García: Love with Obstacles. While our physical galleries are currently only open to the campus community, you can explore the exhibition virtually through online materials and installation images.