Crossing Boundaries: Making World Art History
Monday, May 9, 2016
11:00 am in the Lecture Hall
The Institute of Fine Arts is organizing a series of four workshops to be held at intervals in the spring and fall of 2016 for an invited group of curators and academics to exchange views about the shifting and expanded terrain of the art world and of art history. It can be argued that over the last 25 years museums have played a major role in challenging the western-dominated canon of modern and contemporary art. Exhibitions and catalogues have contributed largely to shaping the discourse of the global in art, while international biennials have vastly increased artists’ representation from Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean. These projects are produced, however, within their own institutional frameworks and according to institutional priorities. As the familiar or traditional boundaries of art history are being redefined, this is a critical moment to cross those institutional boundaries in order to consider the consequences of the ways that “international contemporaneity” is being delineated according to emerging methodologies as well by unspoken and explicit assumptions. This dynamic moment in museum practice is matched by seismic shifts in how the chronologies and geographies of art history are being taught in the academy, creating an opportunity to assess how these emerging configurations are shaping historical understanding along with the pedagogy informing the coming generation of curators, teachers, and critics.
10:30 – 11:00 am / Check in
Coffee, tea, and refreshments available to participants in the Loeb Room
11:00 / Welcome and introduction
Patricia Rubin and Alexandra Munroe
11:10 / Interview: “New Models of Art Historical Inquiry on the Global”, Alexandra Munroe with Reiko Tomii, Author, Radicalism in the Wilderness: International Contemporaneity and 1960s Art in Japan (MIT Press, 2016)
12:00 – 1:15 / Panel 1 What Do Objects Want?
Andrew Finegold (Moderator)
This panel looks at questions of global/international art history from the perspective of conservation, and technical art history. In addition to addressing technical concerns, participants will discuss whether more materialist methodologies (as demonstrated, in particular, by WJT Mitchell) can add to global art histories by locating discourse at the site of the art object itself or by charting the image’s migrations, afterlife, appropriation, or reception in new contexts.
1:15 – 2:15 / Break
2:15 – 3:30 / Panel 2 Inside Out: New Art Histories
Steven Nelson (Moderator)
Arguably, the field of global art history has developed since the mid-1980s largely as a critique of modernist Eurocentric narratives, challenging such prevailing discourses as avant-garde originality and the binary structures of East/West, modern/tradition, high art/folk art. Still, the “history” under review often follows the familiar trajectory from Dada to Surrealism to Abstraction to Conceptualism. How can we recuperate movements germane to a particular region or culture and write them into a larger history of modern art? At museums, how can we make this work in displays and acquisition programs?
3:30 – 3:45 / Break
Coffee, tea, and refreshments available to everyone in the Loeb Room
3:45 – 5:00 / Panel 3 In Transit: Distribution and Circulation
Ming Tiampo (Moderator)
The last several decades have seen the rise of biennials and international art fairs in “non-Western” regions. What is the impact of “biennialism” and global museums on contemporary art? Has the West/non-West binary been genuinely disrupted or restructured, or have other art worlds simply become “Westernized” in this process? Is there an impact on artistic style? This panel interrogates both the discursive and economic implications of the “globalization” of art.
5:00 – 5:30 / Brainstorm directions for fall workshop sessions
5:30 / Conclusion and Public Reception
Drinks and refreshments available to everyone in the Loeb Room