Lois Parkinson Zamora of the University of Houston explores the relationship between the visual arts movements of the twentieth century and the Latin American literary arts movement of magic realism. Her lecture, Sword and Silver Rings: Objects and Expression in Magic Realism and the New World Baroque, breaks into three fascinating essays (with accompanying art).
The first, Franz Roh's Magical Objects, is a study of Franz Roh, the art critic who coined the term "magic realism" in a 1925 essay to describe Post Expressionist art, and later discarded it in 1958 as "one of those retardations which history likes to throw in as a breathing spell when we have experienced too many innovations."
The second lecture, Borges Poetic Objects, examines Jorge Borges' participation in the early Argentine avant garde movement and his reinterpretation of Roh's term. Zamora argues that magic realism raised questions about the nature of represented objects which would come to represent "not only themselves but also the potential for some kind of alternative reality, some kind of "magic" (from the Introduction). For Borges the term described a particular kind of magic idealism, locating magic in a "secondary" Platonic "poetic objects."
The final lecture, Garcia Marquez's Baroque Objects, explores Gabriel Garcia Marquez's work -- as a contrasting choice, since Borges and Marquez seem to be at the opposite ends of the magic realist spectrum. While Borges expresses a magic idealism, Marquez offers a visible world of palpable magic. (Great quote from Marquez here: "Household objects, in the fullness of their poetry, flew with their own wings through the kitchen sky.")
These are wonderful lectures, and the accompanying art is really illustrative. (I am particularly fond of the Xul Solar paintings used in conjunction with the Borges lecture.) The site as a whole also contains additional galleries of art -- including a very fine selection of 30 works by Remedios Varo.