Analays Alvarez Hernandez
Ph.D. 2015, Université du Québec à Montréal
Assistant Professor, Département d’histoire de l’art et d’études cinématographiques, Université de Montréal
Analays Alvarez Hernandez is an art historian and independent curator. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Havana (2005), as well as a master’s degree in arts (2010) and a PhD in art history (2015) from the Université du Québec à Montréal. Working across a variety of cultural contexts (Cuba, Canada, France), she has developed expertise in the following fields: public art, art and globalization, postcolonial studies, diasporas and memorials, and exhibition curation. She has previously taught at the University of Toronto and the University of Ottawa. She is presently a member of Culture Montréal’s standing committee on public art. Her current research focuses on “apartment-galleries” in (post)socialist societies.
How are you applying your degree in Art History and what do you value most from your Art History experience?
I have had the great good fortune to be hired as a professor of art history fairly quickly after finishing my degree. Today, I teach contemporary art from a global perspective. To do this, I draw inspiration from many of the seminars that I took during my PhD, especially those that touched on current directions within art history. In parallel to my teaching I also have an independent curatorial practice that has been largely nourished and inspired by the theoretical aspects of my graduate study (postcolonial studies and studies on memorials and diasporas have since shaped my practice), but also by its more concrete aspects. During my PhD I built a professional network (of gallery owners, curators, artists, etc.) and I learned how art worlds function, both at the local and the international levels.
The most precious aspect of my doctoral study are the connections that I made — connections with professors and students who have since become my collaborators and, indeed, my longtime friends.
What advice would you give to someone considering graduate studies in Art History?
I would say that everything is possible. I’m speaking here to those who fear that a career in art history will bring them nowhere, and especially to those from ethnocultural communities who don’t believe that they would be given the chance to succeed in this field. To be sure, it’s hard work. It’s especially hard to get up again when you stumble (and yes, you will stumble often). To do that, you need to believe in yourself and to be open to others and to everything around you. Above all, sieze every little opportunity that comes your way. Be alert!
Times are changing and university programs are changing too. They are increasingly open to other art histories, sensibilities, and knowledges. This is a unique moment to study the history of art and to participate in this change.