Call for Papers | CAA 2021, Online

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on August 22, 2020

From the Call for Papers at CAA:

109th Annual Conference of the College Art Association
Hilton New York Midtown, with online content, 10–13 February 2021

Proposals due by 16 September 2020

As announced July 16, CAA is moving to a conference format for 2021 that will include session content online. Organizers invite you to submit presentation proposals directly to session Chairs during this annual Call for Participation (CFP). By September 23, Chairs will have developed their sessions based on submissions and will invite and add accepted presenters to their session entry. In addition to this CFP, a number of Complete Sessions have already been accepted.

The following panels represent a selection that are likely to be of particular interest to scholars working on eighteenth-century topics; please pay special attention to the HECAA session on Eco Deco, chaired by Wendy Bellion and Kristel Smentek. The list is in alphabetical order (with sessions starting with articles arranged by ‘A’ or ‘T’). The full list is available here.

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A New Story About British Culture?: The Rhetoric of Display (Historians of British Art)
Julie Codell (Arizona State University), julie.codell@asu.edu

The Metropolitan Museum’s $22 million reorganization of its British galleries and 2020 re-opening of its 11,000 square feet devoted to British decorative arts, design, and sculpture created between 1500 and 1900 evokes a rethinking of British visual culture and its modes of display. Panelists may investigate the themes of this reorganization in the Met’s exhibition or in other transforming exhibitions in any institutions in the UK or its colonies from the past until now: (1)the colonial roots of British material culture, (2)the commercialism driving British design, and (3)socio-political hierarchic relations among cultural objects and their producers. In this panel we will examine these topics within the overarching consideration of the rhetoric of display: how display narrates/represents intertwined economic and aesthetic values or the connections among culture, empire, and slavery. Topics may include (but are not limited to) how displays of British cultural objects:
• have sanitized, justified, dismissed and/or exposed colonial/imperial dark sides
• shape an object’s cross-cultural, colonial interpretation
• inflect the historiography about objects’ colonial sources or commercial aspirations
• represent or aestheticize commercial or entrepreneurial motives
• ignore or reveal objects’ market identities and economies
• represent gender or race as central to or external to the production of decorative and sculptural objects
• The effects of the Met’s reorganization on:
• re-interpretations or re-contextualizations of individual objects
• the “unsung heroes” [Met curator Wolf Burchard’s phrase] of British crafts in contexts of commerce, design, empire, or the hierarchy of objects

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Affordances: Writing Domestic Furniture as Global Art History
Yanlong Guo (Smith College) and Fan Zhang (Tulane University), yguo@smith.edu and fz368@nyu.edu

This panel investigates physical objects and visual representations of furniture in the domestic space of the premodern world, a time when skilled craftsmen created decorative and functional individual works not subject to mechanical reproduction. Domestic furniture thrived in various cultural contexts, encompassing such items as Roman chaise longues, Song Chinese dressing tables, American Chippendale chairs, Ethiopian headrests, Edo Japanese folding screens, for instance. Primarily made of wood and sometimes adorned with fabrics, lacquer or other precious or semi-precious materials, movable home furnishings simultaneously fulfilled everyday needs and aesthetic tastes. Situated within residential interiors, domestic furniture afforded the private reaches of human experience, allowing us to consider codependences between human beings and objects.

Drawing upon the concept of affordance, this panel explores ways of understanding materiality from the evidence of direct physical interactions between people and interior furniture before the age of Industrial Revolution. Recent material culture scholarship has enlivened the phenomenological approach by emphasizing experiential parameters of material properties: the ways we experience things and the reciprocal effects things have on our experience. This approach challenges us to interrogate the affective potential of objects such as furniture, too often marginalized and trivialized in art historical writing. Instead of holding a fixed gaze at objects as discrete, inert entities, the study of furniture engaging with the theoretical framework of affordance explores the sensory aspects of material cultures from different parts of the globe.

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Art and its Geological Turns
Nina Amstutz (University of Oregon) and Emily Eliza Scott (University of Oregon), namstutz@uoregon.edu and escott2@uoregon.edu

In the last decade, there has been a surge of interest in geology and its attendant fields—such as stratigraphy, paleontology, and geomorphology—among scholars and practitioners outside of the earth sciences, including art historians and artists. Partly catalyzed by the thesis that we have entered a new, post-Holocene epoch, in which anthropogenic activity is being indexed in the Earth’s material record at the planetary scale, geological references have increasingly permeated theory in the arts and humanities, from new materialist philosophies including Jane Bennet’s exploration of “vibrant matter” to work on “geosocial formations” by critical geographers, Elizabeth Povinelli’s concept of “geontology,” Jussi Parikka’s “geology of media,” and forensic research carried out by Eyal Weizman and his collaborators. Together, this work points toward new frameworks for understanding the origins of the human, its fate in the Anthropocene, and its relationship to inhuman life and matter, even while Juanita Sundberg, Zoe Todd and others have noted the extent to which some of this same theory elides longer-standing indigenous epistemologies.

This panel invites papers both historical and contemporary in nature, which explore the myriad ways that artists have mined the geological imagination. Presentations might address, for instance: the agency attributed to rocks in Pre-Columbian architecture, the preoccupation with “figured stones” in early modern Europe, artistic interest in fossils since the advent of paleontology, earth art’s movement of dirt and minerals in the 1960s-70s, or ways that contemporary artists are engaging subterranean realms to address extractive industries, petrocapitalism, and climate breakdown.

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Art, Science, and the Beginnings of Environmental Awareness: Depicting Climate Change in the Long Nineteenth Century
Vasile Ovidiu Prejmerean (The Institute for Archaeology and Art History of the Romanian Academy Cluj-Napoca/ University of Fribourg, Switzerland), vasile-ovidiu.prejmerean@unifr.ch

Turner’s stirring chromatics made sure that his trains and ships resonated perfectly with the blazing sunsets, smoke and light blending together into an all-encompassing atmosphere which always strikes the right key, irrespective of the artist’s mode. One generation later Monet’s Saint Lazare series offers us quite a different perspective as steam and sky forthrightly resist osmosis and the train station’s modern architecture looms large in between man and nature. George Perkins Marsh’s writings and Eunice Newton Foote’s pioneering experiments show us that despite its current perception as a young discipline climate science actually originates in the XIXth century, the clear awareness of the massive upcoming changes becoming painfully obvious in Spitzweg’s Gnome Watching Railway Train.

This panel will seek to address the way painters, photographers or sculptors—but not only, proposals discussing new intermedia techniques, as well as the rejuvenation of classic ones, being welcome—understood and interpreted this fundamental change. Given the necessarily global scale of the phenomenon (e.g. both the depiction of the Meiji Era innovations and New York’s modern architecture’s impact on Pictorialism will be understood as early facets of the new and complex world we are facing now) no geographic restrictions will apply in the choice of subjects. In the hope of learning the gnome’s lesson, we encourage proposals discussing artworks depicting trains, steamboats, engineering works or factories, along with the new sciences and technologies impacting on society and the environment, as the indispensable markers of a fundamental paradigm shift within the transhistorical mindset of humankind.

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Art’s Undoing: Impermanence, Degradation, and Destruction in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Art
Michelle Foa (Tulane University) and Jennifer Van Horn (University of Delaware), mfoa@tulane.edu and jvanhorn@udel.edu

This session seeks papers that shed new light on art produced in the eighteenth or nineteenth century that was affected by physical impermanence, damage, or destruction. While the session has specific chronological parameters, we welcome examinations of art works from any geographic or cultural context as well as cross-cultural topics. What developments either fostered the production of ephemeral or impermanent works of art or led to art works’ demise? What particular forms of iconoclasm emerged during this period? How did changes in the manufacture of artists’ materials influence the physical integrity and durability of art works? In what ways did the practice of conservation reflect evolving views on the longevity, originality, and materials of art? How did artists’ attitudes towards the preservation or deterioration of their work shape their practice? What political, social, or economic ruptures manifested themselves in acts of artistic destruction? We invite submissions from art historians, curators, or conservators whose research engages with these questions in new ways. Papers might take the form of case studies, broader considerations of impermanence, degradation, or damage in the art of the period, or discussions of interpretive models and tools that are useful for approaching these issues.

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Beyond the Painted Surface: Trompe l’oeil and Material Illusions in Art and Material Culture
Chih-En Chen (SOAS, University of London) and Julie Bellemare (Bard Graduate Center), c_chen@soas.ac.uk and julie.bellemare@bgc.bard.edu

“Trompe l’oeil,” which means to “deceive the eye,” is often used to describe an illusionistic depiction of three-dimensional space on a two-dimensional surface. While trompe l’oeil has been produced for hundreds of years, existing scholarship has largely been limited to its deployment in European painting, yet the basic mechanisms of trompe l’oeil extend beyond painting to a variety of material emulations. Roman glass was cast to imitate precious stones, sixteenth-century potter Bernard Palissy recreated scenes of aquatic life in ceramics, and Chinese artisans fired enameled porcelain resembling fruits. Trompe l’oeil fools the eye, producing an object that appears real while being materially different from its referent, and is typically so skillful that it can be visually mistaken for the original by an uninformed viewer. This panel understands trompe l’oeil as an artistic device that has been employed transnationally and across mediums.

Moving across time and space, we invite submissions of papers that aim not only to explore the scope of trompe l’oeil in a global context, but also to decipher the manufacture and operation of this device in the history of art and material culture. Themes and questions worth considering include: What are the intentions of makers when using trompe l’oeil, and what are the responses of viewers to illusionistic surfaces? What are the technical means by which verisimilitude is achieved? How does trompe l’oeil relate to forgery, authenticity, and value? And in what ways do trompe l’oeil works serve to facilitate the transmission of artisanal knowledge across mediums?

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‘Cheap Nature’ in Visualizations of Transatlantic Exchange
Maura A. Coughlin (Bryant University) and Emily W. Gephart (School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University), mcoughli@bryant.edu and emily.gephart@tufts.edu

Global movements of animal-and-plant based commodities have long been situated amid networks of colonized exploitation that began with the Columbian Exchange. As Raj Patel and Jason W. Moore write in A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things (2017), narratives of capitalist overconsumption of “cheap nature” harnessed naive faith in modernity to an accelerating extraction of monetary value from “natural resources.” From the late 15th to the mid 20th century, as the commons diminished and awareness grew of the loss of species on the land, in the sea and in the air, new forms of visual and material culture explored the mounting cost of expending seemingly inexhaustible natural materials. Alongside and entangled with the “slow violence” (Nixon, 2011) enacted by colonizers against indigenous populations, the depletion of extra-human natures was devastatingly short-sighted.

This panel aims to unsettle the comfort with which art history has trafficked in the “cheap” natural products that were hunted, harvested, circulated and recombined in the modern era. We seek papers that trace evidence of exploitative inter-species relations; ones that examine the intertwined aesthetic, and cultural networks of resource exhaustion; or ones that show how image-and-object makers registered the consequences of extinction.

Papers might consider settler colonialist land clearances, deforestation, agro-ecologies and Capitalocene frontiers, the production of ecological knowledge in the face of monetized nature, visualizations of migration, decimation, dispossession, and displacement of human and other-than human entities or the politics of “invasive” species.

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Chronicling Lost Legacies: Women Collectors and Dealers of the Long Nineteenth Century
Margaret R. Laster and Samantha Deutch, mrlasternyc@gmail.com and deutch@frick.org

This session seeks to enhance our understanding of the American art world of the nineteenth century, by placing female tastemakers back into their broader historical narrative. While exceptions exist, women collectors and dealers have been predominantly left out of the discourse of the history of collecting. Many of their collections were disbursed, and their papers were lost to history. In some instances, women’s identities were erased or obfuscated by their husbands or overshadowed by male contemporaries.

Over the long nineteenth century, legislative inroads enabled women to exercise a higher degree of agency over their lives. For example, in 1848, New York State approved the “Married Women’s Property Act,” granting women more control over their finances—including the ability to enter into contracts, inherit money in their own right, and not be liable for debts accrued by their husbands. This legislation became a model for other states. These changes, further fueled by the growing ease of travel, increased access for buying, commissioning, and selling of art on the part of women.

With a wealth of data now accessible through newly-processed archives and digital repositories, we can begin piecing together their legacies. As such, we seek papers that foreground contributions of lesser-known female collectors, dealers, and intermediaries within their social-historical moment, as well as those that present new insights about more iconic historical figures. Innovative research methodologies and approaches assessing contributions made by women in the field of the history of collecting also welcomed.

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Double-Sided Objects in the History of Art
Nicole Danielle Pulichene (Harvard University) and Nancy Ann Thebaut (Skidmore College), npulichene@gmail.com and nancy.thebaut@gmail.com

Double-sided images are pervasive across art historical time and place, yet they are not always considered in their full physical integrity: one side is often studied, displayed, and photographed more than its counterpart. In the historiography of pre-modern art, for example, privileging one side of a work might reflect methodologies borrowed from the study of easel painting. This approach, however, risks flattening an object’s material complexity and obscuring evidence of making and use.

This panel seeks papers that consider the history and historiography of double-sided objects by attending to their many facets, whether “front” and “back,” oblique angles, or otherwise hidden images. We ask how more holistic approaches to works of art might complicate, or even confirm, long-standing art historical narratives. Topics and questions might include: if makers emphasized or concealed the multi-sidedness of an object; if (and how) one side became dominant over time; emergent iconographic or material patterns within an object corpus; and multifarious or changing viewing conditions. Participants might offer solutions to unsatisfying yet common descriptors like front/back, recto/verso, or obverse/reverse, which so often reinforce material hierarchies. In keeping with this year’s CAA theme of climate crisis, contributors may wish to explore double-sidedness as a solution to material scarcity, namely through reuse and recycling. Proposals dealing with multi-sided works of art are also encouraged to apply. We hope that this panel creates a unique space to confront methodological and visual blind spots within our discipline by revising and challenging one-dimensional modes of looking.

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Eco Deco: Art and Environment in the Long Eighteenth Century (Historians of Eighteenth-Century Art and Architecture)
Wendy A. Bellion (University of Delaware) and Kristel Smentek (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), wbellion@udel.edu and smentek@mit.edu

How might an “ecocritical insurgency,” to use Lawrence Buell’s term, of environmental scholarship reorient studies of the decorative arts in the long eighteenth century? Proposing “Eco Deco” as a term for this inquiry, this session aims to catalyze an interdisciplinary conversation about environmental history, decorative arts, and design. The manufacture of early modern decorative arts involved an astonishing quantity of material substances harvested from a range of natural environments; the global systems of labor and transportation that moved such products to consumers generated corresponding environmental effects that have yet to be critically examined. We invite papers that take a global view of the material stuff of design and the decorative arts (e.g. wood, cotton, metal, clay, glass, ivory, tortoiseshell, cochineal) within anthropogenic and/or nonhuman networks (e.g. slavery, colonialism, capitalism). How do the decorative arts expose historical ideologies and/or period imaginaries of nature, materiality, technology, and aesthetics? How were the decorative arts implicated in processes of resource extraction, ecosystem disruption, species destruction, industrial pollution, waste, and toxicity?

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Epidemics of Fear and Objects of Pre-Modern Coping
Kim S. Sexton (University of Arkansas), ksexton@uark.edu

In the centuries before modern medicine, fears for the body did not remain within the body. Actual pestilence and fear of contagion became existential threats which were projected not only onto objects created to help defend (or to bring harm), but onto people who, through public stigmatization, were perceived as jeopardizing social cohesion. During this season of our own pandemic, many art historians have re-read Millard Meiss’s Painting in Florence and Siena after the Black Death (1951). Whether one accepts or rejects his argument, Meiss’s attempt to show how an epidemic of fear moved beyond hospital wards to effect changes in the stylistic logic of contemporary painting became a milestone in social art history. This session aims to showcase new research into psychologies of uncertainty around physical or social “infection” and their effect on the visual cultures of the pre-modern society. Given the interconnectedness of the pre-modern world in its ethno-cultural diversity and religious pluralism, no geographical limits are imposed on paper topics. Proposals that embrace material culture in its myriad facets—from amulets and garments to furnishings and buildings—are as welcome as those that focus on two-dimensional media. Interdisciplinary scholarship that exposes ideological investments between texts and the visual environment are also of interest. The key roles that visualization, as well as the production and consumption of objects, played in the warding off the fear of disease and suspected “carriers” here rally round premodern bodies in times of unpredictable crises.

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Epidemics of Fear and the History of Medicine
Marsha L. Morton (Pratt Institute), mortonmarsha10@gmail.com

In the wake of recent events, this session seeks to explore case studies in the imagery of epidemics and the fears they engendered during the emergence of modern medicine, the development of international trade, and the expansion of colonialism (broadly defined as the 18th through the early 20th centuries). To what extent did visualizations incorporate known medical knowledge or rumors derived from it? To what degree did they adopt and modify earlier imagery of death and monstrosity that had circulated in the pre-modern periods? Were there similarities or differences between Eastern depictions and those in the West? Papers should address ways that artists tackled the problem of picturing plagues, cholera, influenzas, or widespread disease, whether by visualizing the unseen (pathogens or germs such as bacteria and viruses), by documenting the physical symptoms of the illness, by anthropomorphizing sources of disease according to race, ethnicity, or gender, or by constructing dystopian spaces. Possible paper topics might also examine the rise and impact of popular and medical illustration or the representations of physicians and medical practices. Above all, this session hopes to highlight ways in which this imagery was impacted by the development of new scientific information and techniques. Interdisciplinary proposals are therefore favored which directly reference the history of medicine.

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From the Ozama to the Orinoco: Visual and Material Economy of the Caribbean in the Hispanic 18th Century
Jennifer A Baez (Florida State University), baez.jennifer@gmail.com

The Ozama and Orinoco rivers span an area in the Caribbean with highly diffuse narratives on art produced and consumed during Spanish colonial rule. This is especially the case for the post-Contact centuries, when the empire’s gaze turns to New Spain and Peru. The Ozama River, bisecting the city of Santo Domingo, staged the first European incursions into the Americas; the Orinoco River, spreading across northern South America, channeled arrivals into the mainland.

The Spanish Caribbean basin is a distinct, yet integral part of Latin America; encompassing the Atlantic coasts of Mexico and Central America, and the northern rim of South America. Studies have focused on regional clearinghouses such as the Viceroyalty of New Granada, or punctual sites such as El Cobre in Cuba. However, there is a need to cast a steady and comparative glance that articulates regional particularities and dynamic exchange.

This session examines issues that have informed scholarly debate on the arts of Spanish colonies, i.e., the Amerindian legacy; artistic training; the Bourbon reforms; Afro-creole cosmographies. Our goal is to map the visual and material economy of the region in the 18th century, under the framework of imperial Spain, as an area with a historically overlooked population of free and enslaved people of color, with rurality and dispersion as common denominators.

Abstracts may address:
• Free pueblos
• Botanical and map-making expeditions
• Manuscripts and print culture
• Religious art and praxis
• The Enlightenment and knowledge regimes
• The Seven Year’s War, Haiti, and The Age of Revolution
• Art collecting and patronage

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Gardening in the Tropics: Ecology and Race in Caribbean Art
C.C. McKee (Bryn Mawr College), cmckee1@brynmawr.edu

Inspired by a volume from Jamaican poet Olive Senior, this panel endeavors to cultivate critical art historical methods for engaging the relationship between tropical ecology and race in artistic practices, visual and material culture from the Caribbean archipelago. Whether considering the past or the present, the environment’s most (neo-)colonial features all too often obfuscate the subaltern indigenous, African and Asian diasporic forms of being entwined with tropical nature. An array of theorists offer perspectives that bolster an environmental approach to representations of racialized being: Kamau Braithwaite’s tidalectics eschew dialectical synthesis in favor of a non-progressive existential flow where the ocean meets land. Édouard Glissant’s creolized ecology finds modes of Caribbean existence in the environment beyond a “traumatic reaction” to the ongoing legacy of slavery and indentureship. Suzanne Césaire’s theorization of the homme-plante (plant-man) contends that African diasporic life is “tied to the plant, to the vegetative cycle” to redress colonialism’s violence and valorize black culture developed under enslavement. Although the material implications of these positions abound, they predominately refer to racialized and (post-)colonial being-in-language. Embracing the region’s intrinsic heterogeneity, this panel welcomes proposals that address aesthetic engagements across historical period, national and imperial context, and artistic medium. Submissions may focus on, but are not restricted to, the following themes:
• Marronage as an environmental ontology
• Locating black being between-the-lines of natural history
• Wage work and the acclimatization of indentured labor
• Gender, race, and science in the kitchen garden
• Decolonial queerness and the tropical landscape
• Generative catastrophe in Caribbean aesthetics

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Getting with the Program: Curricular Redesign in Art History
Sarah Doane Parrish (Plymouth State University), sdparrish@plymouth.edu

The past decade has seen a surge of scholarship on art history pedagogy, revealing a high degree of innovation within the field. Educators have called for much-needed diversification, flipped the classroom, and weighed the relative merits of chronological versus thematic approaches. However, previous publications and presentations on this topic typically highlight experimentation at the level of individual assignments or specific courses. The present panel expands this discussion to encompass program-wide changes. How are art historians reimagining the curriculum of entire majors, minors, options, certificates, or general education tracks? This is an urgent question at a time when the arts and humanities occupy a precarious position in higher education. Art history programs are adapting in response to shifts in enrollments, institutional priorities, and student demand. Possible solutions may involve strategically consolidating offerings, cross-listing classes with other disciplines, rebranding the major, or creating new interdisciplinary or pre-professional degrees. By sharing examples of how programs have responded to their particular circumstances, others can forge sensible solutions for their own contexts. More than simply reacting to logistical problems in higher education, however, curricular revision provides a valuable opportunity to reconsider the epistemology of art history and its role in the twenty-first-century academy and economy.

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Imagining an Anti-Colonial Latin American and Latinx Art History
Ximena Alexandra Gomez (University of Massachusetts Amherst) and Xuxa Rodríguez, xgomez@umass.edu and susana.xuxa.rodriguez@gmail.com

Clarion calls for more Latin American and Latinx art have been sounding across our cultural spheres: dedicated Latin America or the Latinx diaspora positions have been created in the academic market; journals, including Latin American and Latinx Visual Culture, are dedicated to the historicization of Latin(x) cultural production; and even museums are plugged in, with Pacha, Llaqta, Wasichay (2018) and Vida America: Mexican Muralists Remake American Art (2020) debuting at the Whitney alone. Latin American and Latinx Art are, colloquially speaking, so hot right now.

Simultaneously, awareness of the region’s violent colonial origins has also grown. From Museo Jumex’s Memories of Underdevelopment exhibition to Decolonize This Place’s interventions across the New York cultural sphere, calls to decolonize have underscored the irresponsibility of engaging Latin American and Latinx art independently of their shared colonial heritage: how do we decolonize that which by definition was created to serve imperial interests?

This roundtable invites scholars to engage how Latin American and Latinx art history can serve to actively undo colonial violence. We invite participants to collectively imagine the fields’ anti-colonial futures, including:
• Is a decolonized/decolonial/anti-colonial Latin American and Latinx art history possible when the categories themselves are defined by colonialism?
• What does it mean to enact the anti-colonial within the predominantly white paradigm of “American” art history that is more often than not a cipher for the United States and not a consideration of the hemisphere as a whole?
• What art historical futures become possible when enacting an anti-colonial practice?

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Open Session for Emerging Scholars of Latin American Art (Association for Latin American Art)
Barbara E. Mundy and Beth M. Merfish (University of Houston-Clear Lake), mundy@fordham.edu and beth.merfish@gmail.com

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.

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Pattern and its Complexities
Matthew Thomas Gin and Lauren R. Cannady, matthewgin@fas.harvard.edu and lauren.cannady@gmail.com

In its etymological origins and in contemporary use, pattern—as noun, verb, and adjective—is a capacious term with application to myriad artistic, artisanal, and scientific practices. Connoting both model and, in its reproducibility, repetitions, pattern reveals much about the directions that art making has taken over time and across media. Owing to its surface legibility and repetitive nature, pattern is often seen as intelligible, even predictable. But formal and cognitive patterns also betray visual and theoretical complexities. On a structural level, patterns reveal an internal logic and gesture to that which is quantifiable. In signifying so much, we ask: is pattern still useful or productive as a rhetorical tool and object of study? This panel invites contributions that address the visual and material aspects of pattern but also the broader theoretical concerns that it raises around issues like ornamentation, craft, technology, and abstraction, as well as the organization of images, objects, and ideas. How have patterns functioned as sites of exploration, experimentation, or subversion? How has pattern been implicated in different forms of cultural appropriation or in the construction of otherness? In what ways do patterns invite or refuse scrutiny? What underlying structures or systems are revealed through pattern? Reflecting the pervasiveness of pattern itself, the temporal, geographic, and material scope of this panel is open.

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Producing Landscape Across the Global Nineteenth Century (Association of Historians of 19th-Century Art)
Jennifer W. Olmsted (Wayne State University) and Daniella Berman (New York University IFA),
jolmsted@wayne.edu and daniella.berman@nyu.edu

With increasing urgency, we are confronted by climate change and its attendant nationalism, competition for resources, and destruction of plant and animal habitats. We invite papers that examine the nineteenth-century roots of these developments and their representation in the visual arts. During this period, the natural world underwent many transformations due to industrialization, colonization, exploration, and the emergence of nation-states that inflected understanding of place and geography. This session seeks to investigate how artists represented the environment in its myriad forms, reacting to and seeking to understand the changing landscapes across the long nineteenth century. How did artists encounter and respond to these new or transforming natural worlds? What role did the landscape and its depictions play in shaping or reacting to nineteenth-century philosophies of resource extraction and exploitation? In what ways did representations of the landscape participate in the transmission and exchange of knowledge engendered by exploration and colonialism? What was the impact of new modes of viewing art, such as the panorama, on the perception and understanding of landscapes, real or represented? How did newly available technologies of production—such as portable oil paint, brighter colors, steam travel, gaslight, and photography—affect artistic depictions of the evolving environment? What trace of the artist is evident in the landscapes depicted? We welcome papers that explore representations of the natural world from across the globe in a diverse array of media, and will give particular attention to studies that attend to the methods and materials of production.

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The Evolving House Museum: Art Collectors and Their Residences, Then and Now (Society for the History of Collecting)
Esmee M. Quodbach and Margaret Iacono, e.quodbach@gmail.com and peggyiacono@gmail.com

The National Trust for Historic Preservation estimates that more than 15,000 house museums exist in the United States. This exceeds the country’s number of McDonald’s. House museums are founded for a variety of reasons, from preserving architecturally significant structures to safeguarding the former homes of historically or culturally noteworthy men and women and their legacies. In other cases collectors, such as Henry Clay Frick or Albert C. Barnes, established museums in their former residences to house their collections in perpetuity rather than donating them to preexisting institutions. Some, like the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum continue to thrive; other lesser-known house museums do not attract enough support to remain operational. House museums, it seems, must evolve in order to remain relevant and to continue to attract visitors.

This session encourages participants to explore themes relating to art collectors as founders of house museums in the United States and elsewhere. Questions considered include, but are not limited to: why collectors established private house museums instead of donating their collections to preexisting institutions? How have collectors’ original intentions manifested themselves and to what extent have founder mandates contributed to the survival or demise of their institutions? How have house museums’ collections or buildings evolved over time, and how have museums reinterpreted their collections to remain relevant to contemporary and diverse audiences? Are these changes in keeping with or a departure from their founders’ visions? And how have major historic events like the 2008 financial crisis or the recent COVID-19 pandemic impacted house museums?

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The Graphic Conscience (Association of Print Scholars)
Ksenia Nouril (The Print Center), ksenia.nouril@gmail.com

“The Graphic Conscience” calls for papers addressing transhistorical and transnational case studies of print as a tool for raising public consciousness. This session critically considers the ethics of print, inherent in the medium’s daily use-value beyond its function as a rarified fine-art object in a museum. Democratic in nature, print communicates through text and/or image as well as through its multiplicity. In considering the “graphic conscience”—or the social responsibility—of print, this session will celebrate the medium’s impacts on everyday life. The framework for this session responds to the thesis of the 2011 publication Philagrafika: The Graphic Unconscious, which reflected on the formal characteristics of print and argued for its assimilation within art at large. Papers can address a wide range of art historical as well as visual and material culture examples, including but not limited to Martin Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses of 1517; the seventeenth-century etchings of Jacques Callot’s Les Grandes Misères de la guerre; the didactic agitprop of Taller de Gráfica Popular in late 1930s Mexico; and the commercially-produced postcards mailed to Americans by the Centers for Disease Control in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Prints of all techniques—from Renaissance woodblocks to contemporary risograph zines—are eligible. Papers engaging post-colonial critique and/or topics from outside North America and Europe are strongly encouraged. Practice-based papers by artists, giving us a perspective from inside the studio or printshop, are particularly welcomed.

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The Politics of the Mirror
Michelle Smiley (Rutgers University-New Brunswick) and Alicia Caticha (Northwestern University), m.smiley@rutgers.edu and ac6cw@virginia.edu

This panel proposes a global and transhistorical consideration of mirrors as powerful symbols of representation, everyday tools, and materials for aesthetic innovation, with particular attention to the political valences of these objects. From the mirrored surfaces of Anatolian obsidian, to Diego Velázquez’s Las Meninas, and Robert Smithson’s Yucatan Mirror Displacements (1-9), mirrors have served as both a symbol and a medium for art-historical perspectives on subjectivity, materiality, and the self-reflexive nature of representation. Additionally, from the early modern literary genre of specula principum to Jean Baudrillard’s Mirror of Production, mirrors have functioned as tools of political instruction and critique. As objects that invert and flip perspective, mirrors have proven an endlessly rich source of analysis and debate, both political and representational in nature. How might an understanding of mirrors as tool of political critique be better integrated with art-historical perspectives on materiality, the role of the ritual object, and the mirror’s exemplary status in art history as an allegory for representation itself? We welcome papers that consider the representation, production, material culture, and politics of mirrors in all media, and from all time periods and geographic contexts.

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The Print in the Codex, 1500 to 1900 (Bibliographical Society of America)
Jeanne-Marie Musto, musto.jeannemarie@gmail.com

This session will consider bound volumes created or transformed through the incorporation of independently printed images. Inspired by recent scholarship that addresses the popularity of modifying, enhancing, or creating books in this manner, this session will focus on the production and reception of such books between the widespread adoption of the printing press in Europe, circa 1500, and the nineteenth-century rise of public museums and libraries, with their increasingly standardized and discrete organizational systems. Papers may address any books into which independently printed images have been incorporated, whether these books include text and whether they are analyzed as unique items or as products of broader creative or curatorial practices. This session seeks papers that consider both the material and the conceptual aspects of these complex volumes. Themes may include the agendas of specific creators; the codex as a structure and ways in which prints were designed for, or adapted to it; or how these works inform histories of reading, book and print production, or book and print collection. Papers may also address how these books relate to those of earlier centuries. Themes addressing subsequent reception are also welcome. Such themes include interpretive and practical challenges that the books present, and opportunities they offer, to the evolving institutional and media landscapes of the twenty-first century.

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The Secular in Colonial Latin American Visual Culture
Maya S. Stanfield-Mazzi (University of Florida) and Emily A. Engel (University of California, – Santa Barbara), mstanfield@ufl.edu and emilyaengel@gmail.com

This panel seeks to examine the notion of the secular, or the non-sacred, in colonial Latin American visual culture from the sixteenth through the early nineteenth century. Even if the secular was not a well-recognized category during the period, there were many types of imagery that did not have primarily religious or spiritual content and function. Many of these material objects were prohibited from common use or reserved for certain classes and ethnic groups. How did these objects evolve and become more accepted and prevalent? How were they categorized? If the secular became more pervasive later in the colonial era, what were the reasons for this diffusion? How did sacred art, both its imagery and the ways of using it, continue to inform secular art? We encourage papers that problematize the linear model that assumes a general trend towards the secular. And considering that the secular is often considered a Western concept, we welcome papers that examine the blurring or absence of boundaries between the sacred and the secular, especially in relation to Indigenous, Afro-descendant, and imported art. We are also interested in papers that examine the notion of the secular in non-Western terms. We are eager to engage art and visual culture in various media from many different contexts, whether domestic settings, state environments, or church-controlled situations.

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The Value of Judgment: Evaluating Works of Art in Early Modern Europe
Julia Vazquez, jmv2153@columbia.edu

Giulio Mancini’s 1621 treatise, titled Considerations on Painting, begins with a surprising statement of purpose. “My intention,” Mancini writes, “is not to propose rules pertaining to painting or its practice….Rather, I intend to offer and consider some advice by which [to] judge paintings.”

The history of art is predicated on the act of judgment. Academics and curators regularly make evaluations—conscious or otherwise—about which surviving objects are historically or aesthetically significant, and on what grounds. This panel explores the origins of this practice in early modern Europe, which saw the rise of the private collection, the picture gallery, and connoisseurial protocols like those suggested in Mancini’s treatise. Its intention is to examine art criticism as a historical phenomenon by considering the socio-culturally specific factors that contextualize acts of criticism across the early modern European world. Who determines what a work of art is worth? What constitutes “worth” in any given place and time?

Papers may address topics including the theory and practice of connoisseurship, especially within spaces designed for the display of art and the performance of its appreciation; conceptions of beauty or ugliness in artistic form or content; designations of financial value, whether on the grounds of materials, labor, authorship, or quality; the stakes of attributions and misattributions by artists, collectors, or dealers; restorations undertaken in the name of “improving” a work of art, and the criteria for determining the need for and means of improvement; and standards of technical virtuosity and the figure of the virtuoso.


Damaged & Destroyed, A New Online Feature from PMC

Posted in resources by Editor on August 14, 2020

From the Paul Mellon Centre:

The online feature, Damaged & Destroyed, focuses on a selection of the damaged and destroyed works that are recorded in the Centre’s photographic archive, and uses them to suggest some of the values and limitations of such archives. It takes the form of three stories. The first offers a glimpse into the work and tragic life of the largely forgotten eighteenth-century artist Hugh Robinson; the second looks at four portraits of women associated with a titled Scottish family, the Rothes, which were totally destroyed during a high-profile warehouse fire in 1997; and the third looks at a damaged sketchbook by the nomadic Georgian artist George Chinnery.

Each of these stories offers a distinct point of entry into the Paul Mellon Centre’s rich photographic archive. And each, in turn, suggests some of the different ways in which we might think about the photographs of lost, destroyed or damaged pictures that are to be found buried within its crowded contents.

In 2021, the Paul Mellon Centre (PMC) will be publishing its photographic archive online. The archive comprises more than 100,000 reproductions of paintings, prints, photographs and sculptures. The photographs, which were taken over a forty-year period between the early 1960s and the late 1990s, offer images of objects from across six centuries, and focus in particular on sixteenth- to nineteenth-century British art.

Call for Papers | Space and the Hospital

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on August 14, 2020

From the Call for Papers:

Space and the Hospital
13th Conference of the International Network for the History of Hospitals
Lisbon, 26–28 May 2021

Proposals due by 30 September 2020

Hosted by “Hospitalis: Hospital Architecture in Portugal at the Dawn of Modernity” and “Royal Hospital of All Saints: city and public health” research projects.

Space, in both its physical and conceptual manifestations, has been a part of how hospitals were designed, built, used, and understood within the wider community. By focusing on space, this conference aims to explore this subject through the lens of its architectural, socio-cultural, medical, economic, charitable, ideological, and public conceptualisations. This thirteenth INHH conference will explore the relationship between space and hospitals throughout history by examining it through the lens of five themes: (1) ritual, space, and architecture; (2) hospitals as ‘model’ spaces; (3) the impact of medical practice and theory on space; (4) hospitality and social space; (5) sponsorship. Below are more details about how the conference themes will address along with related questions. The themes and questions presented are by no means an exhaustive list; however, we encourage the submission of an abstract that examines any aspects of space and the history of hospitals in innovative ways.

Key themes and questions to be explored:

1  Ritual, Space, and Architecture
• How has the architectural designs of hospitals shaped their use? How has ritual impacted the built environment? How have these spaces been preserved and how are they presented to modern audiences? How were aesthetic changes integrated over time?
• Examples: architectural design, death care and burials, patient rooms, religious spaces in medical environments, archeological and/or architectural reconstructions, material culture, heritage studies.

2  Hospitals as ‘Model’ Spaces
• How have hospitals, leprosaria, and other health care establishments been conceptualised as ‘model’ institutions, both architecturally and spatially? How were architectural models communicated and circulated? How did colonial ‘models’ inform both hospitals and the surrounding environment? How were these ‘models’ juxtaposed against preexisting institutions and/or practices? Did bad ‘models’ exist, if so, what was the criteria for this categorisation?
• Examples: Using plans from preexisting hospitals; the imposition of a non-indigenous ‘model;’ hospitals in transition (i.e. colonial to postcolonial).

3  The Impact of Medical Theory and Practice on Space
• How did prevailing medical theories influence the built environment? As these theories and practices changed, how were these changes made manifest?
• Examples: colonial medicine and its impact on architecture and space of existing and ‘new’ hospitals; changes in space creating inclusive or exclusive environments; bioarchaeological studies of hospitals and their patients; care versus cure.

4  Hospitality as Social Space
• How has the inclusion or exclusion of groups shaped care and space? How is this reflected in its architecture? How have hospitals been designed to be more welcoming? How were health and social activities balanced in a hospital’s built environment? How does the presence of hospitals and/or leprosaria impact urban planning?
• Examples: segregation within hospitals; concierge services and creating a ‘public face;’ the role of gender and hospitality; hospitality and socio-economic status; psychological responses to space in hospitals.

5  Sponsorship
• How have founders and donors affected the creation and/or development of a hospital? Did their donation change the social or cultural environment? How does this impact the hospital’s reputation?
• Examples: Prioritising wings for specific illness or methods of care; perception of donors as individuals; impact of class and gender.

The Advisory Board of the INHH and the local organizer committee wish to invite proposals for 20-minute papers or posters which address the conference theme. Potential contributors are asked to bear in mind that engagement with the theme of space and the hospital will be a key criterion in determining which papers are accepted onto the programme.

Abstracts should be a maximum of 300 words in length, in English and accompanied by a brief biography of no more than 200 words. Proposals should be sent to space.inhh@gmail.com by 30 September 2020. As with previous INHH conferences, it is intended that an edited volume of the conference papers will be published. Submissions are particularly encouraged from researchers who have not previously given a paper at an INHH conference.

Upon provision of full receipts, we hope to be able to support attendance at this conference, particularly for postgraduates and early career researchers. Speakers will be asked to make use of alternative sources of funding where these are available. Any queries may be directed to space.inhh@gmail.com.

2020 APS Publication Grant

Posted in fellowships by Editor on August 13, 2020

From APS:

2020 APS Publication Grant (up to $2000)
Applications due by 31 August 2020

The Association of Print Scholars invites submissions for the 2020 APS Publication Grant, supported by C.G. Boerner and Harris Schrank. The APS Publication Grant supports the publication of innovative scholarly research about printmaking across all time periods and geographic regions. The grant carries a maximum award of $2,000 and is funded through the Association of Print Scholars and the generosity of C.G. Boerner and Harris Schrank.

Proposed projects should be feature-length articles, online publications or essays, exhibition catalogues, or books, which are nearing completion and publication. Examples of possible uses for an APS Publication Grant include, but are not limited to, the following:
• Travel expenses for research essential to the completion of a manuscript
• Studio time or courses in printmaking that will contribute significantly to a scholar’s understanding of their subject matter, or collaboration between printmakers and scholars
• Funding assistance for photography and image permissions
• Honoraria for contributors to edited volumes or other collaborative publications.

Applications are due August 31. Successful applicants will be notified by November 1 and the grant must be applied to publication costs within one year of notification.

Successful proposals must address all of the following criteria, which must be consolidated into a single PDF document (12 pt. font, black text):
1. Proposal narrative describing scholarly project. Projects will be evaluated based on the clarity of the proposal and the originality and innovation of the applicant’s research (500-1000 words).
2. Budget and budget narrative (250 words or less) detailing how grant funding would be spent. Please list any other grants for which the applicant has applied, amounts, and the results (if known).
3. A detailed publishing plan, which should ideally include documentation of progress towards publication or the project’s likelihood of publication. This documentation could take the form of a letter from an editor, press, or publisher, or an outline of possible publishers and contact made thus far. Please note that applications with a publisher’s support will receive highest consideration for the grant.
4. CV for all participant(s), no longer than 3 pages for each participant.

Applicants should send the above materials in a single PDF by 31 August 2020 to the APS Grants Committee at grants@printscholars.org. Additional information is available here.

The Decorative Arts Trust Meets Capital Campaign Goal

Posted in resources by Editor on August 13, 2020

Maureen Marton (center right) was the Decorative Arts Trust Curatorial Intern at the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute Museum of Art (MWPAI). Here she evaluated the back of a crazy quilt with MWPAI staff. Photo by Richard Walker Photography. 

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Press release (15 July 2020) from the Decorative Arts Trust:

The Board of Governors of the Decorative Arts Trust is honored to announce the successful conclusion of a $2M campaign to raise endowed funds in support of the Emerging Scholars Program (ESP). Titled Providing a Future for Students of the Past, the campaign commenced in 2017 and was achieved through contributions from more than 200 donors. The largest fundraising effort mounted by the organization to date, the generosity of Trust members and a small group of private foundations and charitable funds ensures the ESP’s future in the years ahead. Upwards of 50 emerging scholars benefit from the Trust’s support in a typical year.

The Trust’s Executive Director, Matthew A. Thurlow, cites “the tremendous munificence of our community” in reaching the goal. “We are grateful for the opportunity to celebrate this milestone, especially in a challenging climate.”

Charles T. Akre, Jr., President of the Trust’s Board of Governors, adds “the benefit of the ESP to young scholars and institutions alike is a great source of pride for the organization and our membership. This service is central to the Trust’s mission and will remain part of our core focus thanks to the success of this campaign.” Akre chaired the Campaign Committee and guided the fundraising process to a successful end.

Robert A. Leath, Chairman of the Trust’s Education Committee, which oversees the ESP, and President of the Classical American Homes Preservation Trust, states “this campaign helps to secure the future of our field through valuable opportunities for highly qualified young professionals who will serve as the next generation of caretakers for our nation’s artistic legacy.”

Brock W. Jobe, Vice President of the Board of Governors and Professor of American Decorative Arts Emeritus at Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library, sees this as “a foundational moment for the Trust that guarantees the continuation of grants and internships that change the lives of young professionals and enhance the Trust’s commitment to scholarship and the museum world.” Jobe was instrumental in the expansion of the ESP.

New YouTube Channel | ArtStoryLab

Posted in resources, teaching resources by Editor on August 7, 2020

A note from Hyejin Lee:

In April, I created a YouTube channel called ArtStoryLab, featuring short videos on various art-historical topics. I have ten episodes so far, and most of them center on 18th-century European art. As the channel grows, I hope to branch out into other fields of art history. I upload a new video every few weeks. All ten episodes can be found here.

My aim for the channel is to create fun and accessible art-historical contents that everyone can enjoy. While my videos feature recent works by other art historians, I prioritize my personal interpretations on artworks in each episode to empower my viewers to form their own opinions about the visual, material world they inhabit. I have created the channel also as a teaching resource for art history courses in the age of remote learning. In the future, I would like to feature my colleagues in interviews and other formats to show art historians in action in academia, museums, and elsewhere. The big vision for the channel is to demonstrate to the global audience at YouTube the importance of visual literacy and the relevance of art history for today’s world in approachable, entertaining ways. I would greatly appreciate it if you could share this channel with your colleagues and students. I also welcome any questions, comments, and suggestions for future episodes.

Hyejin Lee

Call for Papers | Redefining the British Decorative Arts

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on August 6, 2020

From the Mellon Centre:

Redefining the British Decorative Arts
British Art Studies, September 2021

Abstracts due by 15 September 2020

The open access journal British Art Studies invites proposals for articles on the British decorative arts for its forthcoming September 2021 issue.

What roles have objects, which have long been deemed as ‘superfluous’, played in shaping and negotiating our political, social, and economic needs, wants, and desires, both past and present? With the aim of expanding the parameters of the British decorative arts, we invite papers that explore topics on an array of materials, including textiles, dress, popular and luxury objects and furniture, from the fifteenth century to the present. Beyond the decorative arts’ traditional framework of taste, style and patronage, the issue is meant to encourage reflection on the politics, economics and social aspects of the decorative arts. How can we put terms such as the necessary and the superfluous, refinement and exploitation, or labor and sensibility, into new and productive relationships through a historical and theoretical reassessment of the decorative arts? How might our current political, social and economic crises provide new angles for exploring—or exploding—the myths of the past? We invite proposals from museum curators, public historians, art historians, cultural critics and students to explore topics related to the British decorative arts, including but not limited to: production, consumption, exploitation, exclusion, scarcity, extinction, depletion, resource extraction, recession, depression, inflation, labor, automation, protest, dissent, consent, needs, wants, and finally, desires.

As a prelude to the special issue, a provocation and series of short responses on this subject, in response to the specific theme of ‘luxury and crisis’, appeared in Issue 16 (June 2020) of British Art Studies.

Please submit abstracts of 200 words or less to the editors at journal@paul-mellon-centre.ac.uk by Tuesday, 15 September. We will notify accepted papers by Tuesday, 6 October. The standard length for scholarly articles ranges between 6,000 and 9,000 words, and other formats are considered when appropriate to the nature of the content. Stills, moving images, 3D models and audio tracks can all be included as illustrations, and proposals that engage with the digital possibilities of the journal platform are encouraged.

British Art Studies is an open access and peer-reviewed journal co-published by the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, London, and the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven. Since it was established in 2015, it has published scholarship on all aspects of British art, architecture and visual culture, from the medieval period to the present day.

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