Call for Papers: Europe’s Academies at AAH Conference

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on July 7, 2011

A selection of panels at the AAH conference addressing the eighteenth century; for further information, visit the AAH website:

Association of Art Historians 38th Annual Conference
The Open University, Milton Keynes, 29-31 March 2012

Proposals due by 7 November 2011

The 2012 AAH Annual Conference will showcase the diversity and richness of art history in the UK and globally over an extensive chronological range. Like The Open University itself, AAH2012 is open to all people, places and ideas. This three-day event will profice a broad scope of geographies and methodologies, ranging from object-based studies, socio-historical analyses, theoretical discourses, visual culture of the moving image, exhibition cultures and display. Sessions and papers will reflect the composition of the wide consituency that is art history today. Keynote events and special interest sessions/workshops will celebrate the strengths and respond to the challenges that face art history now, whilst the book fair, receptions, and visits will provide opportunities for delegates to relax and network.

If you would like to propose a paper, please email the session convenor(s) directly. You will need to submit an abstract of your proposed paper in no more than 250 words, your name and insitututional affiliation (if you have one). You should receive acknowledgement of receipt of your submission within two weeks. Do not send paper proposals to the conference administrator, convenor or AAH office, send them to the Session Convenor(s). Please also read the Conditions of Submission if you are considering submitting a paper.

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Art’s Insiders: New Histories of Europe’s Academies
Keren Hammerschlag (King’s College London) keren.hammerschlag@kcl.ac.uk
Hannah Williams (University of Oxford), hannah.williams@sjc.ox.ac.uk

For centuries, institutions like the Royal Academy in London, the Académie Royale (later the Académie des Beaux Arts) in Paris, and the Accademia di San Luca in Rome were the epicentres of European art practice, theory and education. For artists, having the letters ‘RA’ after their name, or the opportunity to show works at the Salons or the Summer Exhibitions promised elevated social standing and commercial success. As institutions, Academies developed principles and ideals that dominated artistic production throughout the period. In art history, however, the ‘Academy’ has been variously recast as staid, kitsch and archaic. According to critics, ‘academic’ art represents the inert centre against which avant-garde innovation and originality was pitted. But in their time, Europe’s Academies were anything but static or homogenous. Established by groups of artists resisting under-developed or conservative attitudes to art, these communities often began as innovative alternatives; they were home to radical new approaches, and became sites of heated debate in response to political, theoretical and social shifts.

This session seeks a re-evaluation of art’s insiders. What did it mean to be at the centre of these powerful institutions? And how can we effectively revisit the Academy without falling into the trap of reviving dead, white, male, bourgeois artists? We invite proposals for papers that take a new look at the ‘Academy’ and academicians in the period 1600 to 1900. Papers might address issues of gender, social networks, individual and collective identity, educational practices, centre and periphery (eg. regional academies), in-groups and rivalries, competition and emulation, successes and failures. In particular we invite papers informed by sociological, anthropological and cultural theory approaches, which take art objects as their focus.

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Conflicting Art Histories: Dialogues of Cosmopolitanism and Nationalism in Eighteenth-Century British Culture
Freya Gowrley (University of Edinburgh), f.l.gowrley@gmail.com
Viccy Coltman (University of Edinburgh), viccy.coltman@ed.ac.uk

William Hogarth’s traditional position as the stalwart of English nationalism in the arts was drastically re-evaluated in 2007 with the publication of Robin Simon’s Hogarth, France & British Art. Published to coincide with the Tate’s major Hogarth exhibition of 2007, Simon’s text situates Hogarth, a renowned anglophile, within a firmly European context of artistic theory and practice. How does the idea that Hogarth gleefully propagated his anti-Gallic public image, but was in fact greatly indebted to French art and theory, affect our understanding of apparently critical eighteenth-century works of art such as his Marriage-à-la- Mode (c. 1743)? While historians Linda Colley and Gerald Newman prioritised national identity as an evaluative tool for the examination of aspects of eighteenth-century British culture, is it appropriate to apply this label to broad cultural manifestations, notably the consumptive behavioural patterns of the aristocracy and the middling classes alike? This session will consider this intriguing dichotomy of eighteenth-century British art – the underwritten and unresolved conflict between nationalism and cosmopolitanism – and its relation to the artistic practice, material culture and intellectual history of the period. Topics for discussion could include, but are not limited to:
– artistic response to the luxury debates
– landscape and nation
– the connoisseur and the Grand Tour
– the usefulness of labels (exotic, chinoiserie, rococo)
– the reception of Italy
– the creation of a British national school
– consumption & the meaning of goods
– the local and the global/the provincial and the metropolitan
– the issue of -isms (Englishness, Britishness, Scottishness)

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Art History beyond National Boundaries
Emma Barker (The Open University), e.barker@open.ac.uk

Since its inception, the modern discipline of art history has been informed or even defined by the notion of the national school. The belief that works of art manifest a nation’s culture can be traced back to the foundational scholarship of Winckelmann in the eighteenth century and was reinforced by nationalistically-minded scholars in the nineteenth century. Although such notions are now generally discredited, their influence persists in so far as the practice of art history continues to be organized along predominantly national lines. Occasional studies of artistic exchanges between one nation and another and the current interest in the impact of empire and colonization on European art have not fundamentally challenged this state of affairs. As a result, comparatively little attention has been paid to the international dimension of artistic practice in the period before the emergence of modernism as a self-consciously international movement.

Contributions to this session may seek to rectify this omission by discussing the internationalization of art in broad, theoretical terms or by exploring specific artistic developments that transcend national boundaries. In either case, the challenge will be to do so without falling back on the similarly problematic notion of the transnational period style. Papers dealing with any period before 1900 are welcome, though in the interests of intellectual coherence preference may be given to those focusing on the art of the centuries immediately preceding this date.

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Out of Time
Rosalind McKever (Kingston University), rosalind.mckever@gmail.com
James Day (Courtauld Institute of Art), james.day@courtauld.ac.uk

The date an artwork was produced does not seal it off from the rest of time. Indeed historical readings might trace how an artwork intersects different times. Art history presents past art through conservation, exhibition and writing. Artworks are connected diachronically, linking the artist to predecessors, contemporaries and successors. Narratives of art chart traditions and innovations, historians source-hunt for influences and appropriations. Artists are identified as precursors and rebels; periods and movements are labelled as renaissances and avantgardes. The changing interests of art history also affect practice contemporary to it, as research, excavations, restorations, discoveries and exhibitions alter the canon, art education and the sources of appropriation available; they also revise the lens through which we look at the past. This session invites papers addressing art from any period, particularly those which do not belong to that period. In this panel we will interrogate the temporality of art history by focussing on the premature, the belated, and the anachronistic. Topics for papers could include, but are not limited to:
– Precursors and avant-gardes, conservatives and rebels, Post- and Neo Appropriation, translating art of one time into art of another
– Excavations and discoveries, how unearthing disrupts the past and affects the present
– Writing art history: non-linear narratives and creative history
– Chronology in galleries and exhibitions
– Posthumous casts, copies and reproductions
– Art education’s role in artists’ relationships with the past

[NB: This could be a particularly interesting session for those HECAA members interested in any aspect of revivalism in eighteenth-century visual culture]

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Student Session: The Everyday and the Extraordinary, Material Culture and Art History
Gemma Carroll (University College London), gemmacarroll@gmail.com
Laura Bolick (The Open University), l.bolick@open.ac.uk
Elizabeth Moore (University of Birmingham), exm592@bham.ac.uk

Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. –Pablo Picasso

Art objects not only range from the everyday, such as a piece of furniture or a photograph in a newspaper, to the extraordinary, a heavily jewelled illuminated manuscript, but the places these objects are found also differ widely, from our daily encounters on street corners to the singular magnificence of a gothic cathedral. The physical creation of art can also be understood as spanning this chasm from commonplace household objects, ephemera and preparatory sketches to lapis lazuli, gold and exquisitely finished works. In addition critical approaches to art understand it variously as an autonomous agent or as a site of exploration and perhaps intervention in the life praxis. This session will openly investigate art objects from tapestries to performance art and gardens to media studies, readdressing and examining traditional divisions between decorative and fine art and notions of artist, artisan, author, designer and producer. Exploring how everyday items make the transition into art objects and how ‘fine’ art has been brought into the everyday, the session will also examine the idea that the emphasis on the everyday in art means that we no longer place value on the extraordinary. Finally, the concept that the everyday and the extraordinary co-exist within all art objects will be considered. Topics for papers could include, but are not limited to:
– Different stages of Art Production
– Theories of the Everyday
– Museum Studies/ Conservation/ Collecting
– Recycling and Salvaging
– Socially Engaged Art
– Immateriality/ Ephemera
– Shifting boundaries between art and material culture
– Uniqueness/ Transcendence

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