Alice David

PhD Student

Countercultural Print Tactics: Printing Progress and Anti-Progress in Latin America between the 1970s and 1980s

Supervised by Dr Klara Kemp-Welch

Funded by AHRC/CHASE 

In 1982 Mexico became the first Latin American country to default on its sovereign debt. The so-called ‘lost decade’ which followed saw IMF regulations and neoliberal economic policies introduced to varying extents across the region. Both economic and political theories contesting Western notions of progress and ‘global modernity’ acquired a new significance in this context, building upon an earlier body of work which had comprehensibly refuted the relevance and value of Modernisation theory for Latin America. Responding to this paradigm shift, artists across Latin America offered their own visual counter-arguments against developmentalist ideology and rhetoric through the print medium.

My thesis proposes a study of the political and artistic significance of both printing and printmaking within countercultural art scenes across five Latin American cities; while some pushed the limits of new printing technologies such as xerography and offset lithography, many others revisited more familiar processes such as engraving and woodcut. Studying the ways in which artists both responded to and rejected the established conventions of the medium, I am interested in the multiple ways in which the print medium can collaborate with artists in their work by resisting or complicating progressive teleology at a material level.


  • PhD Candidate, The Courtauld Institute of Art (2019 – present)
  • MA History of Art, The Courtauld Institute of Art (2017 – 2018)
  • BA Modern Languages, University of Bristol (2013 – 2017)

Research Interests

  • Printmaking, printing, and alternative print media
  • Countercultural art and politics in the 1970s and 80s
  • Intersections between art and economic processes

Conference Papers and Reviews

‘Semi-Mechanical Print Tactics and Urban Interventions in Mexico City (1971–82)’, AAH Annual Conference, Brighton, 2018.

‘Finding Space to Play: Xerox Art in Brazil, 1980 – 1982’, Virtual Encounters, University of East Anglia, 2021.

‘Performing Prints: Grupo Suma’s Stencil Works’, Emerging Researchers, Durham University’s Zurbarán Centre for Spanish and Latin American art  & Edinburgh College of Art , 2021.

Review of ¡Printing the Revolution!; The Rise and Impact of Chicano Graphics, 1965 to Now, Washington: Smithsonian American Art: Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2020. In Critique d’art Actualité de la littérature critique sur l’art contemporain, Spring 2021.


  • Teaching Assistant, BA1 Foundations, Autumn Term 2020, The Courtauld Institute of Art.
  • Associate Lecturer, BA2 Cold War Cultures: Art in a Divided World 1945 – 1991, Autumn Term 2021-2022, The Courtauld Institute of Art.
  • Associate Lecturer, MA Countercultures: Alternative Art in Eastern Europe and Latin America 1959-1989, Autumn Term 2022-2023, The Courtauld Institute of Art.

Other Activities

  • Teaching Assistant at The Courtauld’s Summer School, 2020.
  • Associate Editor at immediations, 2019 – 2020.