Conference | Frenemies in British Art, 1769–2018

Posted in conferences (to attend) by Editor on June 9, 2018

From EventBrite:

Frenemies: Friendship, Enmity, and Rivalry in British Art, 1769–2018
The Royal Academy of Arts, Lecture Theatre, London, 19–20 July 2018

Organized by Georgina Cole, Mark Hallett, Mark Ledbury, and Sarah Victoria Turner

Joshua Reynolds, Colonel Acland and Lord Sydney: The Archers, 1769, oil paint on canvas, 236 × 180 cm (London: Collection of Tate, T12033).

From the earliest histories of art, the friendships and rivalries of artists have been the subject of anecdote and gossip. For that reason they have been associated with the popular storylines of art, rather than with the scholarly discourse of art history. However, the wide-ranging re-evaluation of affect and emotion that is taking place in the humanities, and the increasing recognition of a synchronic, network model of understanding rather than a diachronic, emulative one in art history, have served to suggest that artistic friendships and rivalries are key agents in the production and reception of works of art. This methodological shift has helped art historians perceive the significance of interpersonal relationships to art-making. It has drawn attention to the sociability of artists, and to the entwining of their personal and professional networks. Meanwhile, across other disciplines, the impact of friendship, personal networks and communities of rivalry upon cultural production have been the subject of important studies. Furthermore, the idea of productive or inhibiting enmities (a more awkward but still profoundly important category of affective relationship) is also becoming a fruitful avenue of exploration.

The long history of British art furnishes many examples of complex and productive friendships and bitter, crushing rivalries. The Royal Academy, from its foundation to today, is one major locus of such complex affective networks, as has been its annual summer exhibition. In conjunction with the exhibition The Great Spectacle: 250 years of the Summer Exhibition, to be held at the Royal Academy between June and August of 2018, and curated by the Paul Mellon Centre’s Mark Hallett and Sarah Victoria Turner, this conference seeks to explore the impact of friendships and enmities on subject matter and artistic method, as well as on the formation of artistic careers and on the reception of works of art. We aim to re-evaluate elevate these relationships, shifting them from the peripheral status of cultural gossip to central aspects of making and meaning.

The symposium is funded by the Paul Mellon Centre for British Art and convened by Georgina Cole (The National Art School, Sydney), Mark Hallett, Mark Ledbury (The Power Institute, University of Sydney) and Sarah Victoria Turner.

T H U R S D A Y ,  1 9  J U L Y  2 0 1 8

11.00  Registration and coffee

11.30  Welcome and Introduction

11.45  Session 1: Antagonism in the Academy, Part I
Chair: Georgina Cole (The National Art School, Sydney)
• Martin Postle ‘Alas, Poor Sir Joshua!’: James Barry and the Gentle Art of Making Frenemies
• Esther Chadwick, Mortimer’s Reynolds: Imitation and Independence in the Fifteen Etchings (1778)

12.45  Lunch break

14.15  Session 2: Antagonism in the Academy, Part II
Chair: Mark Ledbury (The Power Institute, University of Sydney)
• Wendy Bellion, Formal Old Fools? Joseph Wilton Sculpts William Pitt
• Zoë Dostal, Alliances, Grievances, and Failed Ambitions in Henry Singleton’s Royal Academicians

15.15  Break

15.30  Session 3: Victorian Networkers
Chair: Sarah Victoria Turner (Paul Mellon Centre)
• Pamela Fletcher, A Victorian Networker: The Case of Augustus Egg
• Robert Wilkes, ‘My quondam friend’: Frederic George Stephens, William Holman Hunt, and the Pre-Raphaelitism Controversy

16.30  Tea break

17.00  Final Panel with Mark Hallett (Paul Mellon Centre) and Georgina Cole

F R I D A Y ,  2 0  J U L Y  2 0 1 8

8.30  Private view of The Great Spectacle: 250 Years of the Summer Exhibition

10.00  Coffee break

10.30  Session 5: Friendship and Difference
Chair: Sarah Victoria Turner
• David Cottington, Affective Relations and Professionalism: Friendship and the Artistic Avant-garde in London and Paris, c. 1888–1915
• Eleanor Jones, Barbara Ker-Seymer and Edward Burra: Staging and Framing Friendship in Interwar British Art

11.30  Break

11.45  Session 6: Formal Relations
Chair: Mark Ledbury
• Benjamin Harvey, The Society of Frenemies: Roger Fry, Walter Sickert, and the Art of Paul Cézanne
• Helen Ritchie, ‘Upholding the Dignity of Pots’ vs. ‘Flash and Bombastic’: Bernard Leach and William Staite Murray

12.45  Lunch break

14.00  Session 7: Family and Friends
Chair: Mark Hallett
• Hester Westley, The Family We Choose: Informing Friendships in the Art School Studio from the ‘Artist’s’ Lives’ Archive
• Hammad Nasar, Cumbrian Cosmopolitanisms: Li Yuan-chia & Friends
• Amy Tobin, Sibling Rivalry in the Women’s Art Movement

15.30  Tea break

16.00  Wrap-up discussion with Georgina Cole, Mark Ledbury, Sarah Victoria Turner, and Mark Hallett

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