Call for Papers | The Baroque in Light of the Cold War

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on January 11, 2015

From H-ArtHist:

Baroque for a Wide Public: Popular Media and Their
Constructions of the Epoch on Both Sides of the Iron Curtain
Barock für ein breites Publikum. Konstruktionen der Epoche

in populären Medien diesseits und jenseits des Eisernen Vorhangs
Humboldt University Berlin, 11–13 June 2015

Proposals due by 15 February 2015

Organised by Prof. Dr. Michaela Marek, Chair of Art History of Eastern Europe at the Institute of Art and Visual History of Humboldt University Berlin

Histories of art and artists have found a mass public, especially since the 1950s, with the rise of magazines and illustrated books, radio, fictional and documentary films as well as large photo and art exhibitions. Intended for a broad public, they allow to detect the ideas of art and cultural heritage, and connected to that, interpretive models of historic developments in the tension of traditional historic interpretations and current interests. Nevertheless, the significance of pop-cultural art histories (Doris Berger) has not yet been researched thoroughly—particularly by comparative studies—against the background of the competing systems.

This is particularly obvious when forms of communicating art historical knowledge on earlier epochs like the Baroque are studied. While its construction as an epoch of absolutism and of Counter-Reformation initially rather strained its perception in state socialism, exhibitions in Austria advertised the Baroque as a national style serving identity policies (Andreas Nierhaus).

The question is what meanings were attached to the term ‘Baroque’. How were art works and buildings of the 17th and 18th centuries—a time characterised by a Europe-wide circulating of creative ideas—presented in exhibitions, illustrated books, films, travel guides, object-related brochures, school books or in literature on local history? How did predominant national paradigms of art historiography find expression in them, how the existence of the ‘Iron Curtain’? What concepts of historiography were constructed in these media, what images of the epoch were outlined? Did the exhibitions and popular literature differ regarding the intended domestic or foreign public? What were the (new) focuses, evaluations, symbolic charges and attributions to integrate or exclude ‘precarious’ monuments? What relation existed between academic and popular art histories, for which not rarely leading members of the discipline had a share of the responsibility? What role played international exchange and cooperation in the Cold War, as e. g. regarding travelling exhibitions? And which influence did current social incidents and developments exert on the communication of Baroque art in the countries in question during the decades of the division of Europe?

The aim of the symposium as well as of the research project Asymmetrische Kunstgeschichte? Erforschung und Vermittlung ‘prekärer’ Denkmälerbestände im Kalten Krieg (Asymmetrical Art History? Research and Communication of ‘Precarious’ Monuments in the Cold War) in the frame of which the conference will take place is to fathom comparative approaches to art histories and their popularizations as an East-Western intertwined history of discourse. In this context, the focus will be intentionally not the preservation of the objects, but the concepts expressed in texts and images of this period of art between ideological role models and creative interpretation.

Please send us a proposal (one A4-page maximum) of your (unpublished) contribution of 20 minutes as well as a short CV by 15 February, 2015. Conference languages are German and English.

Contact addresses for papers and queries:
Prof. Dr. Michaela Marek, michaela.marek@culture.hu-berlin.de
Eva Pluharová-Grigiene, pluharova@culture.hu-berlin.de
Renata Choinka, choinka@hu-berlin.de


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