Historical Displacements and Vital narratives After the American Century


Saturday, 18 May 2013

10.00 - 18.45, Kenneth Clark Lecture Theatre (with registration from 09.30)

photo of a cracked plane and debris
Hito Steyerl, In Free Fall, 2010 (HD 32 min, video still). Creative Commons license

Speaker(s): include James Boaden (University of York), Eric de Bruyn (Universiteit Leiden), Larisa Dryansky (l'Université Paris-Sorbonne (Paris IV).), Suzanne Hudson (University of Southern California), Molly Nesbit (Vassar College), Mignon Nixon (The Courtauld Institute of Art), Luke Skrebowski (University of Cambridge)

Ticket/entry details: Open to all, free admission. Online booking is now closed. If you wish to attend you can register on the day. Registration starts at 9.30am. In case of queries, email researchforum@courtauld.ac.uk

Organised by: William McManus (Terra Foundation for American Art Postdoctoral Fellow, The Courtauld Institute of Art)

This one-day international conference highlights the more pressing interpretive issues around art made during the past eighty or so years. A motivation for this reappraisal is to ask how we might now understand and situate art from within the ending—or at least the transitioning to an acute new stage—of what is often regarded as the “American century”. Such periodization could in part be seen as cause for disciplinary anxiety that marks the potential formation of a new provincial elitism with its artifacts dwarfed by a more urgent global diaspora. Perhaps a mixed blessing though, this disparity it seems is amply compensated through an increased celebration of modern and contemporary American art as a new set of cultural strategies, movements and periods to be exported. As these different considerations must be measured in part against recent years, which are ultimately defined as episodic states of economic, “natural”, political and social crisis (all serving equally to neutralize critical engagement and historical concerns) papers will eschew an overall thematic focus to emphasize the varying and discontinuous concerns that led to this transformed cultural order. Topics covered will include the continuing development of art history as a contemporary discipline; the shifting relations between particularities of language and vision in the twentieth century; oppositions between scientific advances and counter-cultural tendencies in performance and film; and the present legacies of radicalism.

The keynote lecture will be given by Molly Nesbit; other speakers include James Boaden, Eric de Bruyn, Larisa Dryansky and Suzanne Hudson.

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This conference has been made possible by the Terra Foundation for American Art in collaboration with The Courtauld Institute of Art. For further information about the Terra Foundation for American Art see www.terraamericanart.org

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