Claudia Pretelin, New York City, 2016. © Image by Bryan Murray

Hi! Welcome to Instruments of Memory. I’m Claudia Pretelin. I’m a Mexican art historian, independent curator, and arts administrator based in Los Angeles, California. This site is my long-term art history documentation project. It has evolved with time and I find myself now focusing on promoting the work of women in the arts through in-depth conversations, exhibitions, and programming with different community partners. You can learn more about me here.

Thanks for visiting!


Image credit: Photo by Gina Clyne

Visit Instruments of Memory, a group exhibition curated by Mexican art historian, Claudia Pretelin at Studio 203 with work by Dana Funaro, B. Neimeth, Aneesa Shami, and Patricia Yossen. This exhibition features artistic work that explores materiality in relation to history, place, time, and remembrance.

For more info click HERE!


Mara Ahmed (left) Claudia Pretelin (right)

Don’t miss Lost or Found, a conversation between artist and activist filmmaker, Mara Ahmed and Instruments of Memory founder and curator, Claudia Pretelin published by the Mason Street Literary Magazine of Newark Public Library.

In Lost or Found, two women from different parts of the world, find each other in Rochester, New York and begin a long-distance collaboration through personal conversations, stories, and diasporic memories. Read more here


Thank you to everyone that visited and participated in Above and Under the Surface. Our first online exhibition featuring archival and family photographs closed March 15th! For this exhibition photo collectors, photo lovers, and the general public were invited to submit digital images of their photographic objects that memorialize or help trace the history of the image, a moment worth remembering, or a historical occasion for our Online Exhibition & Catalog juried by the Rijksmuseum Photo Conservator, Rosina Herrera and Art Historian, Claudia Pretelin. 

Online Exhibition Dates: October 15, 2021 -March 15, 2022


Alberto Guerreiro (Portugal)
Alicia Shahaf (Israel)
Ana E. Nuñez (United States)
Barbara Justice (United States)
Cristina Béjar (Mexico)
Bruno Bresani (Mexico)
David Torrez Pruneda (Mexico)
Deborah Orloff (United States)
Emma Norman (United States)
Greg Townson (United States)

Hadi Khani (Iran)
Heidi Aguilar (Mexico)
Iyo Kamimura (Japan)
Jane Waggoner Deschner (United States)
Julie Blankenship (United States)
Louise Weinberg (United States)
Lucia Cabrera Flores (Uruguay)
Malú Block Cabrera (Mexico)
Mandy Ware (United States)
Merce Ferrero Pedrosa (Spain)

Mirasol Estrada (Mexico)
Muriel Hasbun (El Salvador/United States)
Nino Memanishvili (Georgia)
Penny Oliphant (United States)
Randall deRijk (United States)
Stacy Morrison (United States)
Temel Yilmaz (Turkey)
Virginia Morant Gisbert (Spain)
Viviana Beltran (Mexico)



Ileana Doble Hernández’s socially conscious practice expands to photography, video, installation and new media.  Her works are part of public and private collections and have been shown in publications and venues  in North America, Europe and Asia. Ileana believes that art has the power to make people care, she  provokes the audience to think about systems of inequality and the effect of gun violence on  children. Through her installations more than 400 postcards have been mailed to U.S. elected officials  advocating for gun control. Her practice is influenced by her perspectives as a mother and as an  immigrant living in the U.S.A. for a decade.


Victoria Savka is an interdisciplinary project-based artist who savors the challenge to present a story waiting to be discovered.  She gravitates towards mediums of paint, printmaking, writing, and ceramics, but is always eager to learn new methods. Victoria’s approach to her work begins with meticulous consideration to process and ends with carefree ebullience.

She dearly admires the simplicity of American Folk Art, the whimsical humor of Staffordshire pottery, the moral and sometimes ethereal nature of fables and tall tales, the twisted humor in Ronald Dahl and Guy de Maupassant’s short stories, and the poetic color palettes of Les Nabis. Victoria holds a BFA in Illustration, BFA in Fine Arts, and a Masters in Art Education from Rochester Institute of Technology.  She has done residencies at Main Street Arts, The Yards, and is happy to say her work is found in happy homes throughout this wide world.  Victoria currently works and teaches in Auburn, New York where she cherishes afternoons with the ducks and geese who greet her with their own unique songs. 

Stay tuned!

Before you go…

Don’t miss:


“I think most of the projects I’ve developed over the years have stemmed from some sort of history of my family, or of New Orleans. I am interested in keeping history alive– while connecting it as much as possible to the present.” – Gabrielle Garcia Steib

In our first interview in 2022, we talked to Gabrielle Garcia Steib, a multidisciplinary artist & educator based in New Orleans with roots in Mexico and Nicaragua. For this interview, we discuss her work documenting Latinx communities through photography and film as well with @imagenesdenicaragua, an Instagram feed featuring vernacular photographs and ephemera connected to the social and political history of the country. Read more…

Gabrielle holds a B.A. in English and Digital Media from Loyola University. Her work has been exhibited at NOMA, the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans, and Museo de la Ciudad and Los 14 in Mexico City. Her films have been screened at New Orleans Film Festival, Taxco International Film Festival, and Baja California International Film Festival. In 2019 she participated in residencies at the UnionDocs, Joan Mitchell Center, and Antenna. She has written and translated for various magazines including Terremoto Magazine, and Antigravity Magazine where she started the first bilingual column about the Latinx community in New Orleans.


Claudia Mandel Katz, PhD.

Claudia Mandel Katz is a professor, researcher, curator and the founder and director of the Women’s Museum in Costa Rica since 2009. Professor of drawing and painting from the Prilidiano Pueyrredón National Academy of Fine Arts, Buenos Aires, Argentina. She received a Bachelor degree in Art History from the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, graduated with a Master of Arts, and a double PhD in History and Society Studies and Culture from the University of Costa Rica. She is the author of the books Map of the female body. A deconstructive reading of visual creators in Costa Rica and Aesthetics of the border Aesthetic practices and violence against women in Latin America.

In 2009, Claudia Mandel Katz created The Women’s Museum in Costa Rica. Established as the first feminist museum in Central America, this online exhibition initiative found its physical space in Mandel Katz’s family home and since then has carried out important work for women’s rights in South America. To speak about the background and mission of this organization that now is part of The International Association of Women’s Museums (IAWM), Instruments of Memory reached out to Mandel Katz to conduct this interview. Read more…


Muriel Hasbun

Muriel Hasbun has established her practice not only as photographer but as an educator and an active promoter of Salvadorian art. She has explored the complexities of identity and the legacy of her family history in an extraordinary body of work that sees through the lens of photography with an intergenerational, transnational, and transcultural perspective.  Learn more about her work in our new interview BETWEEN MEMORIES here

Muriel Hasbun’s expertise as an artist and as an educator focuses on cultural identity, migration and memory. Her work has been internationally exhibited and is in private and public collections: American University Museum, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Centro de la Imagen, Civilian Art Projects, Corcoran Gallery of Art, FotoFest, Lehigh University, Light Work, Maier Museum of Art, Mexican Cultural Institute, Museo del Barrio, Museum of Photographic Art, Rencontres de la Photographie, Smithsonian American Art Museum, University of Texas-Austin, Whitney Museum, 50th Venice Biennale. Building upon her career as a socially engaged artist and a photography professor, Hasbun is currently the founder and director of laberinto projects, a transnational, cultural memory initiative fostering contemporary art practices, social inclusion and dialogue in El Salvador and its U.S. diaspora. She is Professor Emerita at George Washington University and the 2021 Estelle Lebowitz Endowed Visiting Artist at Rutgers University. Her work is represented by RoFa Projects.