Saturday, March 13, 2010

CAA 2011 in NYC

It seems odd to write the year "2011" already, but professional organizations are always thinking way ahead of the current year. The College Art Association (CAA) just had their 2010 conference last month in Chicago (which you may recall I contemplated attending but ultimately decided not to go, letting Sherman Clarke fill me in with his highlights of the conference), and now CAA is ready for next year's conference to be held February 9-12, 2011. They have released the call for papers.

This will be CAA's centennial conference, demonstrating the professional strength of the art history discipline for the past 100 years. Few people realize the rich history of art history. Samuel F.B. Morse (inventor of the telegraph) was also a successful painter. He was appointed the first Professor of Fine Arts at New York University in 1831, where he taught courses on the practice and history of art. The same school was one of the earliest to organize a department of art history in 1922. (I would tell you more about the history of my art history program, but after spending 30 minutes on the school's website, I cannot find out any information about it!)

Below are just a few of the panel sessions that seem like they will be of interest (click here for the official site for the call for papers).
**"Boston and New York, ca. 1910: Issues of Cultural Exchange" celebrates the CAA centennial by considering art historical exchanges between these two cities from 1900-1920.
**"Before the White Box: Museum Murals in the Nineteenth Century" addresses the role of wall paintings in institutions, an art form which was extremely popular in the 19th century but died out by World War II.
** "The Ethnographic Ruse: Early Erotic Photographs of Non-Western Women" considers how seemingly innocent (National Geographic-like?) images in early photography can also be seen as sexual commodities.
** "Through the Lens: Photographers and New York Skyscrapers" looks at the historic tradition of the now ubiquitous skyscraper photograph (hence the 1904 image above by Edward Steichen of the Flatiron Building, from the Met's collection).

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