Call for Papers | CAA in New York, 2017

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on July 8, 2016

105th Annual Conference of the College Art Association
New York, 15–18 February 2017

Proposals due by 30 August 2016

The 2017 Call for Participation for the 105th Annual Conference, taking place February 15–18 in New York, describes many of next year’s sessions. CAA and the session chairs invite your participation: please follow the instructions in the booklet to submit a proposal for a paper or presentation. This publication also includes a call for Poster Session proposals. Also, bear in mind that with the changes to next year’s schedule, some sessions have already been fully formed at the time of acceptance; a schedule of those will appear in the coming weeks.

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Charting a New Course: Reorienting the Discourse of Early African American Art History
Mia L. Bagneris (Tulane University) and Anna Arabindan-Kesson (Princeton University), mbagneri@tulane.edu and akesson@princeton.edu

Since the 1943 publication of James Porter’s Modern Negro Art formally inaugurated the field, the study of twentieth- and twenty-first-century artists has dominated African American art historical scholarship. However, Porter’s seminal text began with three important chapters chronicling a history of African American artists and artisans before 1900; likewise, the pioneering scholars of early African American art largely engaged in a heroic sort of recovery project, rescuing the names, biographies, and works of forgotten artists from obscurity, and, to some extent, situating them within the larger context of American art history. With the publication of Lisa Farrington’s new survey text earlier this year and with much—though, importantly, not all—of this rescue mission completed, what new concerns, perspectives, paradigms, and methodologies will inform the direction of early African American art history? This panel seeks to take account of the shifting terrain of the field by beginning to articulate such new approaches and their implications for expanding the study of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century African American art. Possible themes include (but are not limited to) concepts like ‘movement’ or ‘exchange’ as useful lenses of critical analysis, a consideration of African American artists within their very local contexts or the greater diaspora, and how reappraising the place of enslaved artisans and artists reorients the larger field. We invite papers that directly re-imagine the field itself from a theoretical point of view, as well as those that are engaged in unearthing material that can lead to new directions in early African American art historical scholarship.

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Early Modern Objects and the Boundaries of Materialities
Lauren R. Cannady (Clark Art Institute) and Valérie Kobi (Universität Bielefeld), lcannady@clarkart.edu and valerie.kobi@uni-bielefeld.de

This session will explore objects situated at the boundaries of materialities, such as plaster painted to resemble terracotta, wax portraits or specimens reproducing the properties of flesh, glass and porcelain flowers, tapestries framed as paintings, and gardens designed as grottoes. These are just a few examples of the ambivalent materiality of certain early modern artifacts. One might say that these are equivocal art objects—things that resist precise classification. Questions we are interested in pursuing include: what might it mean to substitute one material for another, to translate an object or concept into a different medium? How do we reconcile the mutability and instability of things? How were such objects theorized then and how are they now? How does an object’s materiality—and the questions of likeness, illusion, allusion, metonymy, and metaphor potentially associated with it—substantiate and/or complicate the interdisciplinary claims of art historians and material culture specialists? In addition to addressing the creation, reception, and categorization of such objects, this panel will be an opportunity to question the intersections between the arts and other fields including but not limited to the sciences or landscape and garden studies. We invite contributions that introduce new historical and methodological approaches. Proposals that seek to go beyond the case study are especially encouraged.

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Historians of Netherlandish Art (HNA)
The Netherlands and the Global Baroque, 1580–1750
Caroline Fowler (Yale University), covertonfowler@gmail.com

For the Kochi-Muziris Biennale (in Kochi, Kerala, India) in 2012, seventeenth-century Dutch warehouses built by the Dutch East India Company (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie, or VOC) became sites for contemporary art installations. Many of these works engaged with the history of the VOC in the region of the Indian Ocean and its continuing in uence in economics, trade and urbanism. Following in the footsteps of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale and the more recent exhibition Asia in Amsterdam (Amsterdam and Salem, MA), this panel seeks to explore the architectural, artistic and urban imprint of the Dutch in the regions of their global trade centers, as well as the in uence of the Indian and Atlantic regions and their cultures on Dutch artistic practice and theory. This panel will examine the economic, environmental and visual impact of both the VOC and the WIC (De Geoctroyeerde West-Indische Compagnie, or West India Company) in early Dutch colonial enterprises. Papers will explore a visual archaeology of how ideas and objects from Dutch trade and territorial enterprises in uenced concepts of art, material culture, and religion in the Netherlands, as well as the impression of the Dutch on the landscapes of trade partners such as Brazil, India, Indonesia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Suriname, and the United States in architecture, material culture, and urbanism in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

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Graphic Growth: Discovering, Drawing, and Understanding Nature in the Early Modern World
Catherine Girard (Williams College) and Jaya Remond (Max Planck Institute for the History of Science), catherine.girard@yahoo.com and jremond@mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de

This panel explores how drawing and related graphic media were used to gain insight into nature during the early modern period. Naturalists and artists faced a natural world in expansion, which they sought to describe in detail as new realms of natural history emerged, facilitated by a conjunction of events ranging from geographic explorations to the invention of the microscope. As rich scholarship in the history of science and of art has shown, images could function as powerful instruments of knowledge and as repositories of newly gained information about plants, animals, and minerals. Addressing the epistemological encounter between artists, scientists, and the natural world, this panel zooms in on how this moment of intersection called for innovative strategies of visualization and shaped new graphic conventions in the production of images. It interrogates how techniques of up-close observation, connected to technological progress, informed innovative modes of depiction and vice-versa, as exemplified by figures as diverse as Robert Hooke, Claude Aubriet, and Maria Sybilla Merian. When exposed to lush tropical botany or seemingly hybrid organisms (such as polyps and corals), how did naturalists and artists use drawing to stabilize nature? What were the operations that transformed observation into a graphic act? How did experienced observers respond to this abundance of information and translate into lines the sensorial overload triggered by unfamiliar morphologies? Papers using interdisciplinary approaches and with a focus on France and Northern Europe in a global context are particularly welcome.

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Methods for the Study of Colonial Visual and Material Culture
John F. López (Skidmore College), jlopez1@skidmore.edu

With the turn towards visual and material culture, art and architectural historians have put to task the periphery-metropole binary, questioning the applicability and validity of art historical categories such as ‘artist’, ‘art’, and ‘genius’ in colonial artworks. Inherent in this binary was the belief that hermetically sealed ‘superior’ civilizations bestowed culture upon socially backward and morally corrupt societies in far away places. The discipline has already acknowledged that this unidirectional movement of culture is more myth than fact and that the periphery was not just a passive receptor of metropolitan models, but rather, a mutually constitutive body in a global network of artistic ideas, material exchanges, and aesthetic concerns. Attuned to the asymmetrical and incongruent relationship between colonial artworks and canonical art historical categories, scholars have offered a myriad of models, such as ‘mestizaje’, ‘prime object’, or ‘mutual entanglement’ to name but three, as methodological inroads for locating and scrutinizing the production of art and architecture in a colonial context.

Open to any geographic location and time period, this panel aims to engage in a trans-regional discussion about the interpretative frames employed in the study of colonial African, Asian, and Latin American art and architecture. In doing so, the session chair welcomes papers that examine historical and historiographical themes, concepts, or problems from a methodological standpoint that aid understanding strategies for considering colonial visual and material culture.

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Biographies of Early Modern Works of Art
Anita Moskowitz (Stony Brook University) and Virginia Brilliant (Ringling Museum of Art), anita.moskowitz@stonybrook.edu and virginia.brilliant@ringling.org

Museum-goers looking at art within gallery spaces view, frequently unbeknownst to themselves, not the pristine state of new-born objects, but rather their mature state– that moment akin to the cosmeticized appearance of a successful adult’s public body. While the didactic information generally shared with visitors on wall displays tends to be more transparent now than in the past, the complex vicissitudes of an object’s life history remain difficult to fully perceive. Most scholars know, however, that a huge percentage of Old Master museum objects have undergone restoration and conservation treatments throughout the centuries and particularly during the golden age of collecting and the art market during the decades before and after 1900. This panel seeks papers that o er case studies of painting, sculpture and decorative art demonstrating the additions, subtractions, and alterations made, for purposes of religious efficacy, aesthetic pleasure, conservation and, not least, successful marketing, during the course of an object’s life history. In addition, papers are welcome that confront the legitimacy, social context, and theoretical framework of such interventions, as well as proposals for viewing and display strategies that promote a more informed encounter between the museum object and the visitor. Is it possible to view a work in a gallery space with a dual vision: the object’s present material state as well as—based on visual clues within or didactic information auxiliary to the object—its life history, in order to appreciate both the authentic, i.e., original and the less than authentic elements before one’s eyes?

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History through Things / Things through History: Design Objects in the Museum
Emily Orr (Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum) and Christine Guth (Independent Scholar), orrem@si.edu and cmeguth@gmail.com

At a time when many museums are reevaluating their collection and display practices, this panel proposes to explore how exhibitionary culture has been and may be productively informed by object based design historical thinking. Design history has challenged canonical categories and hierarchies and blurred the boundaries between art and commerce. It has promoted a new focus on how things materialize the past and brought to their study interpretive strategies that emphasize processes of production, circulation, and consumption and their global interconnectedness. Things ranging from Tupperware to iPhones have been analyzed as valuable repositories of socio-cultural, historical, and technological information. In so doing the discipline has contributed to critical awareness and preservation of previously overlooked objects whose use, appeal, and impact shape the modern world. What has been and is now the placeof design objects in the museum and what display practices and interpretive approaches are best suited for fostering public engagement with the messages their materiality may convey? What narratives about past and present have they and can they serve to construct? How does their collection and display help the public make sense of the contemporary world and also prompt a reevaluation of history? How have collecting and exhibition practices shifted over time and what roles have gender and nationality played? This panel invites proposals from scholars in any discipline that consider the relationship between design history and the collection, circulation, and the display of objects in the museum context. Papers may focus on any historical period or geography.

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Taking Place: Renegotiating Art and Ecology from the Eighteenth Century to Today
Kelly Presutti (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and Monica Bravo (Yale University), kelly.presutti@gmail.com and monicacbravo@gmail.com

‘Place’, a concept that remains loosely defined, suggests an inalienable relationship between an individual person or object and a particular, delimited locale. Since the discipline’s inception, art historians—often following their artists’ leads—have been taking place: claiming or deploying geographical origin as an integral part of the art makers’ and objects’ identity and character. For Johann Joachim Winckelmann the Laocoön’s majesty could be attributed to its Mediterranean climate; Heinrich Wölfflin took the concept to an extreme in his formulation of the German Renaissance. But are environmental factors or the relations between an individual and physical surroundings such strongly determining factors, especially at a moment when the connection between artwork and place seems increasingly tenuous or non-existent? How might we reconsider the sitedness of artistic production at a moment when humanity’s negative impact on the environment is becoming increasingly inescapable? And how might a theory of autochthony meaningfully engage with issues of art and ecology? Beyond serving as an explanatory mechanism, place holds potential for the critically-minded art historian to engage issues of environment, ecology, and nation today. This panel uses ‘place’ as a lens to reconsider the ecological networks—in both a biological and political sense—of art making over a long period of time, in order to reframe the relationship between art and context for a more environmentally responsible history.

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Modernism’s Craft Discourse
Kay Wells (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee), wellsk@uwm.edu

Over the past ten years, the emerging field of craft studies has emphasized the hierarchical and antithetical relationships between modernism and craft. By treating craft as the theoretical limit or dialectical other to modern art, this scholarship has contested earlier assumptions about the need to elevate craft or incorporate it into the modernist canon. But in what ways have modernists historically understood their own work in painting, sculpture, photography, or collage as craft practices? And how have the discourses defining craft—notions of process, medium, labor, and reform—contributed to the development of modernist art and its criticism? In what ways can we understand modernism itself as a craft discourse? This session invites papers that investigate the overlaps, intersections, and correspondence between modernist and craft discourses from the late- eighteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries. Topics can include the appropriation of craft media and historical considerations of modernist media as crafts; the appropriation of an artisanal or craftsperson persona; definitions of professionalism versus amateurism; preoccupations with hand labor or anonymity; the legacy of workshop modes of production; changes in art education; the development of medium specificity and its relationship to the doctrine of truth-to-materials; and shared commitments to Marxism or social praxis. T’ai Smith, author of Bauhaus Weaving Theory: From Feminine Craft to Mode of Design, will serve as respondent.

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Art and Caricature
Phoebe Wolfskill (Indiana University), pwolfski@indiana.edu

Caricature, from the Italian caricatura, essentially meaning, ‘a loaded picture’, is a form of figurative distortion used for comic, political, and sometimes derisive purposes. Although caricatures may target individuals, they also function to categorize specific social groups in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and other identity formations. The caricatured ‘type’ is intended to be immediately recognizable, or to use Barbara Johnson’s words, “an already read text.” Foundational caricaturists in Western art include William Hogarth and Honoré Daumier; their tradition is continued in the work of twentieth and twenty-first century cartoonists, as well as artists including Reginald Marsh, Palmer Hayden, Betye Saar, Roger Shimomura, Robert Colescott, Kara Walker, and John Currin. Cultural critic Kobena Mercer applauds the subversive power of caricature within the visual arts, writing that it can, “subvert the monologic voicing of institutional authority.” The adoption of caricatured types can be explosive, however, depending on its application. For some audiences, the difficulty and pain associated with stereotype can arguably undermine an artist’s attempt to challenge it. Contributors to this panel may deal with any aspect of historical or contemporary use of caricature or figurative distortion. Papers might address the cultural politics of caricature and stereotype, the use of expressive distortion as a modernist device, or the ways in which caricature may be used to subvert or, by contrast, advance existing representational and power structures. Topics may include a discussion of an individual artist and/or media or more theoretical discussions of the politics of figurative distortion.


V&A Named ‘Art Fund Museum of the Year’ for 2016

Posted in museums by Editor on July 8, 2016

From The Art Fund:

The southern entrance of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London (Photo by David Iliff, 24 March 2014, Wikimedia Commons)

The southern entrance of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London (Photo by David Iliff, 24 March 2014, Wikimedia Commons)

On Wednesday evening [6 July], the Victoria and Albert Museum was announced as the £100,000 winner of the Art Fund Museum of the Year 2016 by HRH The Duchess of Cambridge at a dinner and ceremony at London’s Natural History Museum.

Stephen Deuchar, Art Fund director and chair of the judges, said: “The V&A experience is an unforgettable one. Its recent exhibitions, from Alexander McQueen to The Fabric of India, and the opening of its new Europe 1600–1815 galleries, were all exceptional accomplishments—at once entertaining and challenging, rooted in contemporary scholarship and designed to reach and affect the lives of a large and diverse national audience. It was already one of the best-loved museums in the country: this year it has indisputably become one of the best museums in the world.”

The winner was chosen from five remarkable finalists, including Arnolfini (Bristol), Bethlem Museum of the Mind (London), Jupiter Artland (West Lothian), and York Art Gallery (Yorkshire). Art Fund awards the Museum of the Year prize annually to one outstanding museum, which, in the opinion of the judges, has shown exceptional imagination, innovation and achievement across the previous twelve months. It is the biggest museum prize in the world and the largest arts award in Britain.

2015 saw a remarkable transformation for the V&A. It attracted nearly 3.9 million visitors to its sites, 14.5 million visitors online and 90,000 V&A members, the highest in the museum’s 164-year history. December 2015 saw the Europe 1600–1815 galleries opening to great acclaim. 2015 also heralded one of their most popular exhibition programmes. Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty became the V&A’s most-visited exhibition, attracting a record breaking 493,043 visitors from 87 countries, while the India Festival of exhibitions engaged visitors in the rich and varied culture of South Asia. Also, a major fundraising appeal reunited four angels originally created for the tomb of Cardinal Wolsey, one of the most powerful men in Tudor England.

Martin Roth, director of the V&A, said: “We are truly honoured to be awarded the Art Fund Museum of the Year 2016. It is fantastic to be recognised for our many achievements last year, from the Europe 1600–1815 Galleries—the  £12.5m project which completed the restoration of the entire front section of the museum—to the cutting edge public programme, headlined of course by the record-breaking Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty exhibition. Winning this award is a perfect way to thank everyone who has made these successes possible: our staff, visitors, funders, and our many partners and colleagues across organisations around the world. I would like to thank the judges for acknowledging the V&A during this truly exciting period of our growth, and I congratulate all the other shortlisted museums who so ably demonstrate the richness and variety of the UK’s unique arts and culture scene. The V&A is thriving as a world-class museum and centre of excellence for research and expertise. This award not only allows us to celebrate our achievements over the past year, but it will progress our ambitions to continue to transform our building and make our unparalleled collections of art and design accessible to the widest possible audiences in the UK and overseas. With this prize we plan to revive the Museum’s legendary Circulation department, which collected and shared the best of contemporary design with regional museums, galleries and art colleges, but which closed in 1976. We will ‘re-circulate’ our collections, taking them beyond our usual metropolitan partners and engaging in a more intimate way with the communities we reach so that we can continue to deliver on our ambition to be both a national museum for a local audience and a local museum for a national audience.”

Among the 370 guests at the ceremony were artists Antony Gormley, Grayson Perry, Michael Craig-Martin, Cornelia Parker, Mat Collishaw, Gavin Turk and Yinka Shonibare; museum directors Nicholas Cullinan, (National Portrait Gallery), Sir Nicholas Serota (Tate); Martin Roth (V&A); Sir Michael Dixon (Natural History Museum); Charles Saumarez-Smith (Royal Academy of Arts); Axel Rüger (Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam); and Ed Vaizey, Minister of State for Culture, Communications & Creative Industries.

The judges for Museum of the Year 2016 were Gus Casely-Hayford, curator and art historian; Will Gompertz, BBC Arts editor; Ludmilla Jordanova, professor of History and Visual Culture, Durham University; Cornelia Parker, artist; and Stephen Deuchar (chair of the panel), director, Art Fund.