Upcoming Conferences

Paper Ecologies, co-convened with Shira Brisman at the Huntington Museum and Library. November 2020.

This conference will explore the transmutation, preservation, and loss of paper in the artist’s workshop as a cycle of archiving and forgetting that defined early modern artistic practice. Speakers will map the history of paper from its introduction into Western Europe in the thirteenth century via the Arab world and through to the eighteenth century, known as the paper century. For prominent early-modern artists such as Andrea Mantegna, Albrecht Dürer and Michelangelo, paper was never merely a support for drawing, printmaking or painting. It was the site where ideas were externalized with a particular immediacy, and it embodied the paradox that worthless rags run through the watermill could signify capital. Paper moved far. And it was kept. Charting the journeys of early modern paper in drawing, print and letter, the program will not only restructure our understanding of paper’s importance in early modern artistic practice but also reconstruct the governing roles of environment, place, and origin in modes of making and address.

Conservation / Making / Art / History co-convened with Alexander Nagel at the Clark Art Institute, April 2021.

The conservation, preservation, and restoration of material culture has historically been closely joined to artistic practice and the study of the history of art. Over the last century, art conservation, art making, and the study of art history have become increasingly specialized and separated from one another—until recently. Developments in all three areas encourage a reconsideration of the innumerable threads that connect them all to larger questions of cultural and environmental theory, anthropology, and philosophy. In this conference we will consider many past and present practices of maintaining, handling, reframing, and repurposing works of the past. Our aim is to put those practices into dialogue with wider frames of practice and thinking. The contributors to this conference consider how practices of conservation involve forms of artistic making, frame philosophical examinations of time, shape inquiry into human and non-human agency, focus ethical debates about memory and identity, and model forms of inhabitation and cohabitation.

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