Robb Hernández’s Alien Skins: Speculative Arts of the Americas will argue for the political efficacy of science fiction in the modern and contemporary art of the United States and Latin America as a way to reimagine the borders between the cosmos, citizenship, and alternative futurities. This study will examine the speculative arts that cut across aspects of fantasy, horror, the paranormal, and, in the context of Latin America, magical realism and the fantastic⁠. These speculative practices could be seen in his co-curated exhibition, Mundos Alternos: Art and Science Fiction in the Americas. The aesthetic and social justice possibilities of this visual and performance vocabulary offer a rich register to reexamine artists who, through the adornments of cosmic ropa or the adoption of futuristic personae, “drag the future” into the present, finding escape from their stultifying reality by turning skyward. Positioning its standpoint from “the brown side of the moon,” this study centrally asks: “In space, who is the real alien?”

Robb Hernández is an associate professor of Latinx literary and visual culture studies at the University of California, Riverside. His approach combines the study of literature with interdisciplinary approaches in contemporary art, performance studies, museum studies, and queer of color critique. His book, Archiving an Epidemic: Art, AIDS, and the Queer Chicanx Avant-garde (2019) was published in the Sexual Cultures series by NYU Press. Hernández was trained in American studies and received a graduate certificate in Museum Scholarship and Material Culture from the University of Maryland, College Park, in 2011. His essays have appeared in Radical History Review, MELUS, Aztlán, Chicana and Chicano Art: A Critical Reader, Curatorial Dreams: Critics Imagine Exhibitions, and Art AIDS America.