Call for Papers | CAA 2020, Chicago

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on July 10, 2019

In the following list, I’ve maintained CAA’s ordering of the panels, but please pay close attention to the HECAA session on ‘Race Beyond the Human Body’, chaired by Danielle Ezor and Michael Feinberg, and to the ASECS session on ‘Rulers, Consorts & Mothers: Queens in the Long 18th Century’, chaired by Kristin O’Rourke. Also note that CAA’s employment of alphabetical order doesn’t disregard definite or indefinite articles. And finally, the full list is available here. CH

108th Annual Conference of the College Art Association
Hilton Chicago, 12–15 February 2020

Proposals due by 23 July 2018

The CAA Annual Conference is the largest gathering of visual arts professionals that celebrates and advances the accomplishments of members and provides opportunities to share research and creative work. Each year the conference offer a full breadth of sessions representing the vast range of scholarship and practice of our members, as well as professional development and art-making workshops, meetings, receptions, and more.

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Archive Unsettled: Indigenous Materials as Travellers, Ancestors, and Cultural Belongings
Gloria J. Bell (McGill University), gloria.bell@mcgill.ca

Drawing inspiration from Seneca historian Arthur Parker who described First Nations wampum as an “ancient archive” for Indigenous peoples in 1916, this session proposal invites historical and theoretical papers investigating Indigenous materiality and archival relations, beyond the colonial settler frame. Shifting from the margins of the art historical discipline, this panel will center Indigenous art and visual culture. How does engaging with Indigenous materials as ancestors as beyond-human kin, as travellers and cultural belongings, as mobile and sentient things, reframe our relationship with Indigenous artworks in colonial archives? For Indigenous and allied scholars, writing archival experiences into scholarship helps unsettle the expectations of colonial institutions and encourages respectful engagement with material things for Indigenous and settler communities. This session welcomes papers from a variety of disciplines with an engagement in Indigenous arts, Indigenous histories, and archival dynamics.

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Assembling a Mexican Past
Delia A. Cosentino, dcosent1@depaul.edu; and Barbara E. Mundy (Fordham University), mundy@fordham.edu

More than any other nation in the Americas, Mexico has confronted the enduring artistic legacy of past eras—be they Zapotec sculptures unearthed in Oaxaca, sorrowing Virgins in side chapels of Baroque churches, or Porfirian-era public monuments—and from this has built narratives about the past. The selection and sequence takes on particular pressure during anniversaries–favored opportunities to think about the shape of time past. Given that the year 2020 marks a set of Mexican anniversaries—the years 1520 (Spanish-Aztec War), 1820 (Independence), and 1920 (Revolution)—we invite papers that examine how Greater Mexico’s past has been configured and reconfigured over time through specific assemblages of and/or within objects and artworks. In seeking papers that address a diversity of subject matters and moments across time, we invite reflection on these questions: How do choices of such assemblages by artists, scholars, leaders, and/or patrons reflect and reshape the politics of a given moment? What is the relation between archeological assemblage and art historical narrative? What is the role of the context [or frame]—be it tomb, church, home, or museum—on Mexico’s assembled past?

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Barriers, Borders, and Boundaries in the Early Modern World
Luis J. Gordo Pelaez (California State University Fresno), luisgordopelaez@csufresno.edu; and Charles C. Barteet (University of Western Ontario), Cbarteet@gmail.com

Barriers are an ever present reality of human creation and they have often been used as a signifier of cultural evolution. From the creation of symbol embankments that served as foundations for early structures or to demarcate socially encoded spaces, barriers have served many purposes. In United States and Europe walls are used to establish clear binaries between the privileged ‘us’ and the demonized ‘other’. In both locations, thousands of miles of barriers have been built, or have been proposed, to define literally and symbolically boundaries that in turn are transforming the landscape of their borders.Whether ancient or contemporary, walls have contributed to create barriers and borders through the redefinition of spaces, creating a sense of place and identity, demarcating physical boundaries, and imposing socio-economic hierarchies of inclusion and exclusion. In the context of early modern cities, borders and boundaries emerged as a consequence of expanding empires and colonizing efforts, the development of warfare technology and new systems of fortification, and the implementation of directives regarding the use of urban space.Whether materialized or not, barriers were a common occurrence in designs proposed by urban planners, and an instrument for defining borders and boundaries in the political and socio-economic plans of powerful regimes. This session aims to examine the relationship between barriers, borders and boundaries in the early modern era from a global comparative perspective. Papers that address this interplay in any of its manifestations (conceptualization and building, notions of agency and perception, narrative and representation, materiality) are particularly welcome.

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Between Truth and Persuasion: Images and Historical Narration from the Sixteenth to the Nineteenth Century
Alessandra Di Croce (Columbia University), ad2516@columbia.edu; and Federica Soletta, (Princeton University), fsoletta@princeton.edu

While images have often been used in Western art as effective storytelling tools, from religious paintings to photographic portfolios, their documentary value has always been far more ambiguous. On the one hand, images have been recognized as reliable historical evidence—along with material documents—since at least the middle of the sixteenth century. Additionally, the detailed vividness of a visual description was often perceived as more effective than a text. On the other hand, however, images could be simply dismissed as undecipherable records, relics of the past completely useless if not paired with written words. Moreover, images could be easily manipulated, through the use of specific visual and rhetorical strategies, and become instrumental in constructing and negotiating ideas of truth, ultimately shaping people’s beliefs. The uncanny power of images to create a tangible truth, or a convincing history has been always widely recognized—whether with fear (iconoclasm) or admiration (as in Plutarch’s admission that “the most effective historian is he who (…) makes his narration like a painting”). With the religious controversy and political disputations of the sixteenth century, the question of images as both historical evidence and powerful tool of narrative persuasions became intimately related with broader questions of historical method and historical narrative. This session welcomes papers that explore the agency of images and engage with the notions of truth, fiction and persuasion in the construction of historical narration and visual history (or histories), from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century.

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Black Artists in the Early Modern Americas
Rachel A. Zimmerman (Colorado State University – Pueblo), rachelz@udel.edu

People of African descent played a significant role in artistic production in the Americas in the early modern period. Their work ranged from personal creations to public commissions; their positions ranged from enslaved assistants in artists’ workshops to celebrated master artists. Despite their contributions to visual and material culture, black artists working in the Americas in this period have received relatively little scholarly attention. Furthermore, the few individuals to whom monographs and exhibitions have been dedicated are scarcely known outside the regions where they worked. This panel explores art-making by individuals of African descent throughout North and South America. Defining artistic production broadly and considering a wide geographic expanse elucidates parallels and divergences in these artists’ experiences. The artists had varying relationships with African cultures, indigenous peoples, religious, political, and commercial institutions, and lived in regions subject to distinct European cultures. Within these diverse contexts, black artists needed to navigate the complexities of creating within dominant cultures that viewed them as biologically destined for manual labor but largely incapable of intellectual labor. Even when born free, legal and social norms often restricted access to education, resources, and patronage. As a result, the herculean efforts necessary to acquire materials, develop skills, and produce art objects in the face of such obstacles were rarely acknowledged in their lifetimes.

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Decolonising Design History (Design History Society)
Daniel J. Huppatz (Swinburne University); dhuppatz@swin.edu.au; and Megha Rajguru (University of Brighton), M.Rajguru@brighton.ac.uk

Over the past two decades, the geographical spread of design history has become more inclusive of design from various parts of the world and practitioners beyond Europe and North America. While this represents some progress, it is only part of the promise of decolonial histories. The other part is a reassessment of historical methods and themes. Recent thinking on decolonising design has argued for a shift from the production of universalising narratives towards pluriversality (Arturo Escobar and Tony Fry) and the promise of a more inclusive and decolonial practice. For design historians, this challenge entails how to reframe the discipline, not only in its geographical reach but in its assumptions and foundations. This panel calls for papers that examine alternative approaches and critical perspectives towards canonisation, periodisation and designer-biographical work that have been the dominant frameworks for research and teaching in design history to date. We are interested in papers that explore new design historical methodologies and forms of knowledge that might create a more inclusive practice. In what ways can design history research and teaching undertake this task without being trapped in a traditional/modern binary framework? Does a decolonised design history require new periodisations, new artefacts, or new designers, or does it require challenging the core principles of design that are anchored to industrial modernity? We welcome critical and engaging papers that address these questions.

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Deconstructing the Myths of Islamic Art
Onur Ozturk (Columbia College Chicago), oozturk@colum.edu

In a time when divisive politics have become increasingly popular around the globe and white-supremacy, otherizing, and Islamophobia are on the rise, it is essential more than ever for scholars, curators, and artists to study, curate, and engage with incredibly rich and diverse historical and contemporary visual cultures of Islam. However, one major challenge is the fact that the term Islamic Art, an umbrella term used today to cover arts of many cultures and civilizations, is in fact a western construct originally created by European scholars. Many “exotic” objects brought by crusaders and travelers to Europe, were not even considered examples of Islamic Art until they were collected by the European museums. The continuous use of this term with its orientalist origins strengthens normative and homogeneous notions of Islam and Islamic Art. Yet today, the field of Islamic Art, with its own history for more than a century, has contributed to our understanding of the dynamic and diverse nature of cultures developed by various civilizations of Europe, Africa, Middle East, and Asia. This session invites papers addressing how universities, museums and other educational institutions can continue to challenge stereotypical notions of Islam and Islamic Art through scholarly research, special exhibitions, and art projects, while avoiding the creation of new myths and the encouragement of nationalistic and ethnic attitudes.

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Early Modern Women in the Streets? Women’s Visibility in the Public Sphere (Society for the Study of Early Modern Women)
Maria F. Maurer (University of Tulsa), maria-maurer@utulsa.edu

In light of the centennial anniversary of women’s suffrage in the United States, this panel seeks papers that investigate women’s visibility in the early modern world. Religious and literary discourses often admonished them to remain hidden from public view, but early modern women were skilled at negotiating social and cultural strictures. As artists, patrons, beholders and actors, and as individuals and groups, women used visual and material culture in order to proclaim their presence. This session therefore seeks papers that explore the visibility and agency of women in the early modern world. What roles did women play in artistic production and consumption, especially in highly visible locations such as the church or city square? Or, conversely, what strategies did women use to publicize artistic projects that may have been less visible? How did women negotiate, and at times violate, the boundaries between domestic or conventual space and civic space? How did women participate in early modern ritual and ceremonial life? We seek papers from any area of the globe from approximately 1400 to 1800. We especially welcome papers that take a global or transcultural approach to the question of women’s visibility and agency.

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Emerging Subjects: Portrait and Type in the Nineteenth-Century Americas
Phillip Troutman (The George Washington University), trout@gwu.edu

Scholars exploring the ‘slave portrait’ in early modern Europe and colonial America reveal it to be more paradox than oxymoron, occupying vexed territory shaped not only by convention and stereotype, but also idiosyncratic interactions among artists, sitters, and audiences. This panel extends that inquiry into the nineteenth century Americas. The explosion of print culture and genre painting brought many marginalized groups into the visual arts for the first time, but also promulgated a suite of tropes delimiting the depiction of race, gender, class, religion, and sexuality. Could socially and politically vulnerable individuals break through those representational constraints and emerge as pictorial subjects in their own right? We seek papers exploring this question along the spectrum from portrait to type, a broad cultural space where the idiosyncratic and the generic blur. How could portraitists’ use of conventions empower or undermine the signaling of individual sitters’ subjectivity? How did artists, illustrators, and publishers exploit portraiture’s realistic gestures to produce stereotypes authenticating social prejudice? Could image makers instead work through or against generic types to invoke the subjectivity of real persons? When and how did subjects actively participate in this process, revealing an awareness of how they might be perceived as individuals or as representatives of a group? In what ways did they respond to finished works, whether commissioned by themselves or others? We welcome case studies pursuing these questions in nineteenth-century paintings, prints, drawings, illustrations, photographs, sculptures, or material culture objects produced or circulating in North, Central, South America, or the Caribbean.

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From the Ground Up: Geology, Mineralogy, and Materiality in Art and Design
Antonia Behan (Bard Graduate Center), antonia.behan@bgc.bard.edu; Julie Bellemare (Bard Graduate Center), julie.bellemare@bgc.bard.edu; and Colin Fanning (Bard Graduate Center), colin.e.fanning@gmail.com

The workers dig and cut to get some mountain bones,
A labor of many long days.
A thousand wonderful scenes come to life from the stone;
How ignorant can people be not to see nature’s art.1

In words that could equally have been uttered by John Ruskin in the nineteenth century, eleventh-century Chinese scholar Ouyang Xiu captures the complex connections between geology, physical labor, and aesthetic enjoyment. Building on the material turn in art history, this panel responds to broader scholarly interests in the agency of matter. We posit that a focus on geological substances can challenge art-historical and museological conventions; for instance, whereas stone and metal are often considered distinct mediums, mineral and metal ores share certain characteristics that may undercut common artistic taxonomies. We invite submissions of papers that explore historical intersections between geological materials and the arts across historical periods and cultural contexts, with a particular interest in decorative arts, craft, and design. Themes and questions might include, among others: What cultural roles have stones, ores, or minerals played in specific times and places? How have artisans, designers, or manufacturers made use of geological materials or conceptualized their importance? What kinds of mediation have such materials (or objects made with them) performed? How might they resist or complicate binaries such as natural/artificial, organic/inorganic, or static/dynamic? And what can the histories of mining, geology, or the collection and display of rocks and minerals contribute to art and design history?

1. Ouyang Xiu (1007–1072), excerpted from Kemin Hu, The Suyuan Stone Catalogue (Weatherhill, 2002), 64.

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Landscape through a Sociopolitical Lens: Representing the Environment in Northern Europe, ca. 1430–1795 (Historians of Netherlandish Art)
Joanna Sheers Seidenstein, (Harvard Art Museums), joanna@seidenstein.com; and Sarah Walsh Mallory (Harvard University), sarahmallory@g.harvard.edu

Scarcely a news cycle passes without discussion of national borders, climate change, natural disasters, and globalization. This discourse has prompted new questions about the visual representation of the physical environment, making this an apt moment to reassess the extraordinary production and consumption of painted, drawn, and printed landscapes in Northern Europe in the early modern period. This session seeks to complicate existing understandings of this material by focusing on its intrinsic but diverse sociopolitical content. How, for example, did pictorial tactics and conventions function as inscriptions of power, control, identity, and otherness? What was the role of these images in shaping contemporary conversations about social ecologies, about land ownership and labor? How has the vision of nature provided by Northern artists informed or shifted understandings of ‘space’, ‘nature’, and ‘environment’? Can we understand historiographical models—the advent of global art history, for example—as a product of the study of Northern landscape? How can we think of landscapes as agents that actively shaped the way in which individuals viewed and lived in the world? This session hopes to attend to the concept of ‘world’, integrating considerations of ‘the Northern landscape’ with those of the landscape imagery produced by artists working in overseas territories, like the Dutch East Indies. We seek papers on all forms of landscape, including cityscapes, marine views, backgrounds of religious paintings, garden design, and city planning, produced in, or in connection with, the Northern Netherlands, Southern Netherlands, or Germany between the 15th and 18th centuries.

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Lost in Translation: Early Modern Global Art History and the Digital Humanities (Digital Art History Society)
Paul B. Jaskot (Duke University), paul.jaskot@duke.edu; and Meredith J. Gill (University of Maryland), mgill@umd.edu

This session seeks to draw on two current art historical issues: 1) that many leading digital art historical projects are centered on examples from the early modern world; and 2) that there is a widespread need across art historical fields to look to strong exemplars to help model the inevitable acts of translation between and across humanistic and computational scholarship. This panel seeks papers that address any aspect of digital humanities work on an early modern topic. From Latin America to East Asia, from the Mediterranean basin to the Black Atlantic, outstanding work has been done in bringing data-driven methods to bear on art historical evidence. How have art historians negotiated the intellectual world of ‘technologists’, and do we have successful examples of new ‘languages’ and other outcomes collaboratively forged by art historians and technologists? What have computational scholars found interesting or challenging in working with art historical datasets and questions? And, more broadly, why is the early modern world such a fecund area for art historical and computational discovery? In proposing these questions, we particularly encourage submissions from collaborative presenters and/or about collaborative projects that represent both digital and humanities’ perspectives. Our goal is to invite papers engaging crucial questions in early modern art histories—thus appealing to a large area of CAA interest—and papers that, in the process, also address the incorporation of computational methods. Proposals that emphasize the communication (or failure of communication) between digital and humanities’ approaches are especially welcome.

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Open Session for Emerging Scholars of Latin American Art (Association for Latin American Art)
Ana Maria Reyes, amreyes@bu.edu; and Ray Hernández-Durán (University of New Mexico), rhernand@unm.edu

The aim of the ALAA-sponsored open session is to provide a platform at the annual conference to highlight work produced by advanced graduate students and recent Ph.D.’s, who concentrate on the histories of Latin American and U.S. Latinx arts and/or visual and material cultures. Papers may focus on any region, period, or theme related to the Latin American and Latinx experience, including, Pre-Hispanic/Ancient American art, colonial/viceregal art, art of the nineteenth century, modern art, and contemporary art, including folk/popular art and craft studies, from Latin America, the Caribbean, and the U.S. In reviewing submissions and selecting the papers for the session, the co-chairs will be looking for strong proposals that cover a range of subjects across each of the noted areas. Association for Latin American Art (ALAA) membership is not required when submitting a paper proposal; however, all speakers must be active members at the time of the annual meeting.

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Past & Present: Britain and the Social History of Art (Historians of British Art)
Meredith J. Gamer (Columbia University), mg3704@columbia.edu; and Esther Alice Chadwick, (Courtauld Institute of Art), estherchadwick@gmail.com

What’s British about the social history of art? This panel joins ongoing conversations about what the social history of art is and what its stakes might be for us today. Specifically, it takes a ‘localized’ approach to this model of art history as it developed in and out of Britain and its former colonial territories. Whether of an ‘activist’ Marxist or more general ‘art and society’ cast (Clunas 1996), it is striking that key protagonists of the social history of art—from Hauser, Antal, and Klingender to Baxandall, Clark, and Pollock—were born, trained, or based in the UK. At the same time, the social history of art has been a dominant frame adopted by historians of British art itself, beginning with field-defining studies of landscape painting by John Barrell, David Solkin, and Ann Bermingham. How do we account for the strength of this distinctive art historical mode in Britain? Has it received peculiarly ‘British’ inflections? What impact has it had on the study of British art and on the writing of art history more broadly, in Britain and elsewhere? What possibilities has it generated? What others has it foreclosed? Topics could include, but are not limited to: histories of émigré and expatriate scholars; institutional, public, and popular histories; the relationship with feminist, postcolonial, and/or visual studies approaches; the social history of art in and after recent turns to empire and the global.

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Race Beyond the Human Body in the Long Eighteenth Century (Historians of Eighteenth-Century Art and Architecture)
Danielle Rebecca Ezor, dezor@smu.edu; and Michael Feinberg, mfeinberg@gm.slc.edu

Attempts to ossify conceptions of race by creating visual affinities between race and bodies emerged as a motif during the Enlightenment era. Our studies of art, visual, and material culture depend on racialized constructions and assumptions about the human form such as Winckelmann’s analysis of beauty that is grounded upon enwhitened sculptures of Greek boys. As Anne Lafont has recently argued, the study of visual and material culture is a “remarkably efficient tool” for understanding race. While Lafont’s research focuses primarily on depictions of the human, she also gestures toward the ways in which longer histories about color, light, shape, and depictions of fabrics played important roles in attempting to create race-based iconographies. Taking race less as a fixed iconography than as an elusive process that matters over time, this panel aims to investigate how objects and pictures that may not even be directly about race at all can problematize the relationship between race and the human form. How can the study of images and objects problematize or unsettle the triangulation about race, the human body, and the black/white binary? How does race matter, and how does it operate independently from the human figure?

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Rulers, Consorts & Mothers: Queens in the Long 18th Century (American Society for 18th Century Studies)
Kristin M. O’Rourke (Dartmouth College), kristin.o’rourke@dartmouth.edu

Judging by the success of films like The Favourite to TV series like The Crown and Victoria, contemporary viewing audiences are fascinated by the life and lifestyle of historical queens. These filmed portrayals fixate on sexual behavior and offer voyeuristic pleasure in sumptuous sets and costumes, whereas politics and power relations are figured primarily through sexuality, maternity, and personal relationships. This panel hopes to probe the image and characterization of queenship in the long 18th century as portrayed in visual arts and popular culture of the time and in relationship to our own era. Did queens have as much (or as little) power as we see in these films? How did the relationship of queens to luxury industries influence public opinion? How did the structure of courts and queenship change visibly as the century moved towards revolution? Topics might include: the body of the queen vs. the king in art, literature and the popular press; propaganda and slander; dress, makeup or ornament; the politics of reproduction; divinity and corporeality; caricatures and portraits; political marriages and alliances; patronage of the arts & architecture.

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Sensual Texts, Material Histories: Language in the Long Eighteenth Century
Elizabeth Bacon Eager (Southern Methodist University), eeager@smu.edu

Writing in 1781, English antiquarian Horace Walpole reflected on the Inka custom of knotted record-keeping known as the khipu, professing himself “so pleased with the idea of knotting verses…that if I were to begin life again, I would use a shuttle instead of a pen.” Going on to explore the linguistic implications of both the khipu’s feel and scent, Walpole’s discussion draws attention to concerns over the materiality of language in the eighteenth century. Over the course of the century, a burgeoning trade in encyclopedias, scientific atlases, and technical treatises gradually reordered the unruly logic of physical experience into a more systematized and largely textual form. In this context, the sensory capacity of language came increasingly under scrutiny. While a growing body of literature has sought to investigate this problem through the images that often accompany such texts, this panel explores the material form of the text itself. How did individual letter forms function as repositories of material knowledge? What can a material history of the word tell us about the relationship between language’s abstractions and sensory knowledge in the long eighteenth-century? Drawing inspiration from Walpole’s notion of the khipu as a “soft language,” this panel seeks contributions that explore the range of material practices through which text was produced in the eighteenth century—from the casting of type to the threading of needles. Papers that examine this notion of a tactile language from outside or in contact with the West are particularly encouraged.

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The Bounded Field: Landscape Models and Microcosms
Ruth Ezra, rezra@fas.harvard.edu

The groundbreaking 2014 exhibition, Silent Partners: Artist & Mannequin from Function to Fetish, brought renewed attention to the subject of the lay figure in Western art. The proposed panel will complement this and other recent scholarly contributions on artists’ models by considering how landscapes, rather than figures, were represented, miniaturized, and mocked-up in workshop settings. According to Johann Neudörffer, the late-medieval sculptor Veit Stoss likely relied upon a topographical relief of mountains and rivers when carving scenery, and in the eighteenth century, the painter Thomas Gainsborough famously constructed a table-top landscape consisting of “cork and coal,” “sand and clay,” “bushes of mosses,” and “distant woods of broccoli.” As these cases suggest, the purview for the session will be broad, comprising examples drawn from a range of geographies and time periods. The ontological uncertainty of the model—tool? work of art? both?—will also inform a wider discussion of why there are so few independent landscapes in the Western sculptural tradition. Topics explored may include naturalia and artificialia; the relationship between microcosm and macrocosm; dioramas and natural history; seriality; divisions of labor; and problems of scale. Finally, papers are also welcome on the subject of miniaturized landscapes not as models per se, but rather as they appear in the bases or backgrounds of finished sculpture.

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The Collector and Cultural Narratives
Julie Codell (Arizona State University), julie.codell@asu.edu

From the mid-19th century, a new kind of narrative about private collectors appeared in Europe and the US, e.g., Jameson’s Companion to the Most Celebrated Private Galleries (1844), Waagen’s Kunstwerke und Künstler (Berlin, 1837–39), trans. Elizabeth Eastlake as The Treasures of Art in Great Britain (4 vols. London, 1854, 1857); Dumesnil’s Histoire des plus célèbres amateurs (1853–60); F. G. Stephens’s 90 Athenaeum articles on British collectors (1873–87); Strahan’s (pseud. Earl Shinn) The Art Treasures of America (1879–82); and René Brimo’s The Evolution of Taste in American Collecting (1938), among others. To Oscar E. Vázquez, “collectors and collections…are a creation of the modern era” with “increased attention to…the collector over the collected object” (Inventing the Art Collection 57–58). Attention to collectors began in the 18th century; by the 19th century, collectors became cultural icons and national figures. Many gave their collections to museums, shaping public taste and the canon. This panel will examine the discourse around collectors’ activities, high profile and relation to museums and public taste. Panelists may consider questions about 18th, 19th and 20th-century collectors, such as (but not limited to):
• How did these narratives shape and revise collectors’ images over time?
• Did narratives about collectors inflect notions of the modern? of tradition?
• How were gender, class or national identity applied to collectors?
• Did narratives about collectors endorse cultural hierarchies?
• Were collectors tastemakers? public servants? cultural paradigms?
• How did collectors’ motives and desires affect their collections’ meanings?

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The Institution as Collector (Society for the History of Collecting)
Elizabeth A. Pergam, eapergam@gmail.com

Both the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art celebrate their 150th anniversaries in 2020. Yet these two institutions began in very different ways. While the Boston museum was an outgrowth of that city’s Athenaeum, with an already extensive collection of works of art, New York’s museum was founded without a single object in its collection. These examples are a starting point to consider the ways in which museums act as collectors. The history of collecting is more usually positioned as driven by individuals or families. While house museums have garnered attention as expressions of their founders’ biographies and interests, municipal or encyclopedic museums have not in a comprehensive way. By focusing on institutions, our session seeks papers that expand our understanding of the nature of collecting. Papers might address any of the aspects of the collecting process: acquisition, installation and preservation, and de-accession. Questions that might arise for discussion are: How are acquisition policies of a museum articulated and how do they change with the growth of the institution? How and why have museums developed collectors’ committees? How do museums act as tastemakers? How are single collector bequests shown within a larger institution? What has been the impact of curators or directors on their institutions’ collections? Papers may consider institutions other than museums that collect works of art. For example, corporate collections, pension funds, or foundations have been little studied beyond self-produced volumes.

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“The Marketplace of the Flesh”: Coordinates for an Art History of Black Women’s Labor
C.C. McKee (Bryn Mawr College), cmckee1@brynmawr.edu; and Natalia Angeles Vieyra (Temple University), nataliavieyra@gmail.com

Theorist Hortense Spillers contends that black women’s enslavement “relegated them to the market place of the flesh, an act of commodification so thoroughgoing that the daughters labor even now under the outcome.” For Spillers, black femininity is an ontological position that constitutes “the principal point of passage between the human and non-human world.” Moreover, this commodification of the flesh did not end with emancipation, its vestiges live on in black women’s labor in the present. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, artists working in the Atlantic World mobilized the picturesque to obfuscate the realities of chattel slavery and the work of black women in particular. The fungibility that conditioned black femininity under slavery and in its wake has all-too-often been elided in art historical scholarship. Taking Spillers’s provocation as our starting point, this panel asks: Where can black women’s labor be located in the visual record? How do black women’s artistic practices continue to interrogate the visual and material histories of labor at the violent nexus of the human and non-human?

We welcome proposals that take up the visual and material conditions of black labor and women’s work in the Atlantic World. This includes, but is by no means limited to: the intersecting histories of gender and race as they relate to the representation of labor or its objects; contemporary artistic, visual and material cultural treatments of black women’s labor; and capacious approaches to black femininity and labor untethered to binary gender, encompassing trans* and queer identities.

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Topographical Drawing
Cynthia Roman (The Lewis Walpole Library, Yale), cynthia.roman@yale.edu; and Patricia Mainardi (The Graduate Center – City University of New York), pmmainardi@gmail.com

In the modern era, landscape painting has been largely defined by Impressionism, favoring atmospheric visuality over fidelity to form. And yet this was not always the case. This session seeks to explore the parallel incentive, topographical drawing, in all its manifestations. We define topography as a pictorial description of a specific place in a wide array of forms with a diversity of functions and patrons or audiences. These might include travelers’ sketchbooks, architectural renderings, mapmaking, estate portraits, botanical illustration, etc. We are interested in the work of professional and amateur artists, scientists, architects, and engineers. Proposals could focus on scientific knowledge of space (detail/geology/geography); on making and learning strategies; on the functions of topographical projects (patron, creator, or audience expectations); methods of observing, recording, or conveying the desired ‘information’ about the place (choices of media, format, style, color, technique).

Building on recent scholarly attention given to the role and history of topographical views, most notably the British Library’s project Picturing Place and broadening the ongoing Yale University-wide project on topography sponsored by the Lewis Walpole Library, we seek to cast as wide a net as possible, not limited either geographically or chronologically. We have designed this session as an open call for proposals. Preference will be given to new participants because we hope that this session will follow the long-standing CAA tradition of identifying and making connections among scholars whom we do not yet know but who share our interests.

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Un-making Architecture
Jason Eugene Nguyen (Getty Research Institute), jason.e.nguyen@gmail.com; and Elizabeth J. Petcu (University of Edinburgh), ejpetcu@icoud.com

Architecture is enduringly conceived as an additive, building-oriented phenomenon. Nevertheless, the prelude to construction—as well as architecture’s emergence and aftermath—nearly always involve elements of destruction. The razing of built and natural landscapes, planned obsolescence, cycles of dismantling, iconoclasm, spoliation, and other forms of un-making condition architectural cultures across time and geographies. Destruction, in other words, undergirds architecture’s creative processes. This session seeks papers that investigate ways of un-making in architecture across any period or region. It asks how acts of destruction, whether deliberate, accidental, or caused by natural forces, produce architectural knowledge and inform the built environment in theory and practice. Although recent scholarship has privileged the making process, the acts of ‘un-making’ that inform most architectural projects work in profound but often overlooked ways. These includes the demolition of monuments and heritage sites, the flattening of settlements ensuing human displacement, the obliteration of natural and built landscapes due to environmental disaster, and the dismantling of buildings for renewal and restoration. Processes of architectural un-making also operate in architectural theory, as in Piranesi’s sublime depictions of ruination, or, more recently, Forensic Architecture’s analyses of urban and environmental devastation. How have acts, events, and theories of destruction altered our conceptions of architecture? What productive consequences have emerged from the rubble of architecture’s un-making? And how has the physical and theoretical disassembling of architecture prompted shifts in artistic thought and practice? We welcome histories of architecture that confront the materials, conditions, environments, things, and ideas that building practice and architectural theory un-make.

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What Can Art Say about Extinction?
Lily Woodruff (Michigan State University), lilywoodland@gmail.com; and Brianne Cohen (University of Colorado, Boulder), brianne.cohen@colorado.edu

Extinction of plant and animal species was discovered at the end of the 1700s even as its causes continued to be debated for centuries. Today, we are in the midst of a massive loss of biodiversity caused by human activities that include global warming, the destruction of habitats, and the slaughter of animals for reasons ranging from convenience to the market in exotic species. Not all groups are equally responsible, however, as extinction is driven by the development and consumer activities of the wealthy, while traditional ways of life are alternatively scapegoated and jeopardized. Emerging from the animal turn, recent publications on extinction have taken interdisciplinary approaches that multiply the stories that can be told in the face of great loss. This panel seeks to address this topic from across its history, and from diverse cultural perspectives. We aim to understand the ways that art and visual culture have reflected on and processed species loss in forms ranging from scientific illustration, to eco art, video, and protest. How does visual production allow us to understand the cultural, political, and economic causes of extinction, and conversely of conservation? Can it remediate the harm done by colonial exploitation? Do artistic practices provide an opportunity to conceptualize animal and plant subjectivity in a way that promotes human understanding of our ecological interdependence? How do they provide models for envisioning temporal scales of generational loss, the traumas of cataclysm and of slow violence, or investments in long-term sustainability?

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Working with Decolonial Theory in the Early Modern Period
Natalia Vargas Márquez (University of Minnesota), varga066@umn.edu; and Leslie Elise Todd, leslie.e.todd@gmail.com

Decolonial theory developed in the early 1990s as a renewed theoretical framework associated to critical theory that focuses on the concept of coloniality, a term that encompasses the expansion of colonial domination and its effects today. Scholars who have primarily written on and contributed to the development of the theory were and continue to be social scientists such as Aníbal Quijano and thinkers such as Walter Mignolo, as well as anthropologists and scholars of literature, philosophy, religion, and languages. Recently, art historians have explicitly drawn decolonial theory more directly into their work including Ananda Cohen-Aponte’s 2017 award-winning chapter “Decolonizing the Global Renaissance: A View from the Andes” in which she outlines a decolonial model of early modern art history, and Paul Niell’s preface to the 2018 exhibition catalogue Decolonizing Refinement: Contemporary Pursuits in the Art of Edouard Duval-Carrié in which he outlines a curatorial approach to decolonialism. This panel invites art historians of the early modern period to continue the conversation opened by Cohen-Aponte and Niell on decolonial models in art history. We seek to explore on a global scale how decolonial theory shapes our work, and in turn, what we can contribute to the theory. What is the applicability of this theoretical framework to art history of the early modern period? What are its blind spots? How do ideas and terms such as hybridity, mestizaje, and syncretism fold into or contrast against decolonial theory? We encourage papers that focus on historiographical, curatorial, and/or art historical ideas and questions.

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