Pain and Pleasure: Artistic Responses to the Sublime

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An Intersection of Academics and the Arts

Call for Papers

Deadline: April 20, 2011

Submit your proposals to the session chairs, who are listed at the end of each session abstract. Use the Paper Proposal form, which is located at and .

Have a general question? Contact either or

Art History Sessions p. 1

Joint Sessions p. 19

Studio Art Sessions p. 25

Affiliate Sessions p. 36

Education Sessions p. 38

Student Sessions p. 39


Pain and Pleasure: Artistic Responses to the Sublime

The sublime has a central position in the study of aesthetics. Edmund Burke examined the pleasurable nature of the terror it arouses. For Immanuel Kant, the sublime suggested the mind’s capacity to apprehend the limitless and immense. Proponents of this pairing of beauty and the sublime were the Romantics of the nineteenth century and the Abstract Expressionists of the twentieth century. We encourage papers which address notions of the sublime from any time period, media, or culture. Participants might analyze the aesthetics of grandeur in Chinese landscape paintings, or, how the concept of the technological sublime is evidenced in new media art. This session will focus on what the sublime means in the visual arts—past or present.

Laura M. Amrhein and Jenny O. Ramirez, University of Arkansas at Little Rock (Amrhein), Virginia Military Institute (Ramirez),,

Creativity in Contemporary Middle Eastern Art in the Age of Globalization

This session aims to discuss contemporary issues presented in Middle Eastern Art. It seeks papers about topics that have been considered taboo until recently and artistic styles that reflect innovative approaches to creative expression. Many Middle Eastern countries are opening up their borders to invite tourists and scholars to study and experience the richness of their countries. With this, however, comes an expectation for a certain degree of loosening in the restrictions governing the presentation of contemporary art. The papers may address theoretical issues regarding contemporary art styles in one or more Middle Eastern countries and/or highlight a specific artist who is dealing with contemporary issues. This session thus seeks a new understanding of Middle Eastern art in the age of globalization and its effects on the creativity of local artists .

Rihab Kassatly Bagnole, SCAD,

Reassessing Susan Sontag's Contributions to Photography Theory

When Susan Sontag’s On Photography was published in 1977, it was a watershed event in the discourse on photography. Yet Sontag’s writings on photography have been overlooked in academic theoretical discussions since the 1980s, even as prominent scholars in the field, such as Allan Sekula, Abigail Solomon-Godeau and Martha Rosler, have elaborated upon ideas first expressed in On Photography. Sontag’s prose is seemingly straightforward and accessible, standing in contrast to the complex and oft-quoted texts of Walter Benjamin or Roland Barthes, whose works Sontag introduced to an Anglophone readership. But upon closer inspection, Sontag’s writings are philosophically layered and address many pertinent issues to contemporary practice and theory, including the photograph’s potency as a document, its evocation of power relationships, implications of “the gaze,” and the morality of image-making. This panel discussion is dedicated to taking a revised, in-depth look at Sontag’s writing on photography, including – but not limited to – On Photography and Regarding the Pain of Others (2002). Papers that address why Sontag has been elided from the academic discourse on photography are also welcome.

Kris Belden-Adams and Allison Moore, Kansas City Art Institute (Belden-Adams), SCAD (Moore);,

Traditional Folk Art

This session calls for papers on traditional folk art. Participants may address work by artists with little or no academic training whose diverse creations— such as portraits, quilts, embroideries, or pottery-- are commonly known as folk art. Participants may also discuss the works of highly idiosyncratic artists whose works arise from craft traditions. While papers on the creations of Georgia artists are particularly welcome, consideration will be given to art from other regions.

Cheryl Rivers, Independent Scholar,

Contemporary Folk, Self-Taught and Outsider Art

This session calls for papers dealing with the topic of contemporary art made by self-taught artists (sometimes called outsider, visionary or contemporary folk artists), with a special emphasis on artists active in Georgia. Proposals dealing with the creations of self-taught artists working elsewhere are also welcome. Papers should seek to situate an artist’s work within his or her cultural framework.

Carol Crown and Lee Kogan, University of Memphis (Crown); American Folk Art Museum (Kogan),;

European Art and Philosophy since 1945

This panel proposes to consider parallel developments in European art and philosophy since 1945. We wish to examine the exchanges that took place between European thinkers and artists who were products of similar zeitgeist and often belonged to the same social and cultural circles. Our objective is to highlight the multiple ways their intellectual and artistic creations echoed and/or influenced one another. We believe that critical analyses of the direct interactions between postwar European artists and philosophers can lead to a more nuanced understanding of the artistic and philosophical landscape of the period and thereby advance both art history and philosophy. We welcome presentations that address the dynamic relationships between European art and philosophy in all their varied aspects. Papers might proceed along three axes of investigation: examination of European thinkers’ writings on European artists (i.e. Sartre writing on Wols, Eco on Morandi, Deleuze on Bacon, etc.); discussion of European artistic practices informed by European thinkers (i.e. Cobra and Gaston Bachelard, the Situationists and Walter Benjamin, Joseph Beuys and Rudolf Steiner, Rachel Whiteread and Melanie Klein, etc.); and finally, propositions of heuristic correlations between European theories such as the Frankfurt School, Post-structuralism, or Relational Aesthetics with contemporary European visual arts.

Catherine Dossin and Victoria H.F. Scott, Purdue University (Dossin), Virginia Commonwealth University (Scott);,

"Is the Gaze [Still] Male?": A 21st Century Inquiry into the Dynamics of the Subject/Object in Popular Culture

Is the gaze still male? Although it has been over thirty years since E. Ann Kaplan's groundbreaking article exploring the dynamics of the active male viewer and the passive female object in film, have we seen any true shifts in these dynamics in light of the of the intervening decades? Innovative papers that explore the ways in which the spectacle of gender operates in a variety of traditional and nontraditional contexts including film, television--particularly reality television--, art, the art world, academia, and the internet, will allow us to come to some sense of understanding about the authority of the gaze as it is experienced in the 21st century. We are less concerned with simple answers here; ideally, a teasing out of the problematics of rhetoric versus reality, or a theoretical analysis of unpleasant, contradictory truths will yield a much richer discussion as we strive to better know who is looking at what and how.

Stephanie Batcos, SCAD-Atlanta,

The End of the Global Biennial Exhibition? Past Politics and Future Prospects

The proliferation of international biennial exhibitions of contemporary art from the 1990s up to the present is the subject of much discussion. This session will examine how current initiatives have evolved out of concerns related to globalism and how they differ from large-scale international exhibitions of the past. We will also take a look at how the criticism and rhetoric surrounding exhibitions such as these has effect regional art exhibitions and artistic practices. Further, the role of the curator within the current global context will be examined, with an emphasis placed on curatorial efforts to create new exhibition models and/or to present artists who take a strong political or social stance. The question of whether recent biennial exhibitions merely reflect the conditions of globalization or actively support and internalize the interests of global commodity culture is also up for discussion. Proposals that offer close readings of the history of international biennial exhibitions and the manner in which various exhibitions have emerged out of perceived imperatives to encourage economic, political, and social change are welcome. Of particular interest are proposals that contemplate the future of the international art biennial.

Xandra Eden, Weatherspoon Art Museum, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro,

Black, White and Read All Over: (Dis)Locating the Photographic Narrative

In his seminal essay, "The Photographic Message," Roland Barthes wrote of the "historic reversal" in which "the image no longer illustrates the words it is the words which, structurally, are parasitical on the image.” Barthes’s intervention into the reading and interpretation of the photograph has undoubtedly had an incredible impact on the way in which we approach, and subsequently, construct a photographic narrative. In that regard, this session aims to revisit Barthes’s approach to the relationship between text and the photograph. How do we deal with photographs which are textless and, simultaneously, meant to be viewed in the context of words? What roles does the text play in the mis/interpretation of the photography and how do we approach literary tropes like irony? This session seeks papers which will (dis)locate Barthes’s “historical reversal” and investigate moments in which the photograph either resists or assimilates to the printed page. Papers from any time period within photography’s long history are welcomed.

Stassa Edwards, Florida State University,

Contextualizing the Text: New Investigations of the Image via the Word
Instances of artists who demonstrate a multiplicity of skills in varying media, here titled meta-artists, have been plentiful throughout art’s history. Artists such as Michelangelo, Leonardo, Blake, Delacroix, Reynolds, Kandinsky, and Moore have utilized pens, brushes, and chisels to create works from both the literary and visual arts. Such artists wrote treatises, manifestos, poetry, plays, journals, academic discourses, and the like, experimenting with bringing ideas to fruition in multiple forms. Rather than offering a general investigation of text/image relationships, papers in this session will explore a more nuanced intersection between texts and visual works, concentrating on artists who used their writings to bolster the academic theoretical or institutional value of their art. How were such efforts received, when it was the artists doing the theorizing, rather than the typical cast of players representing literary authority, such as philosophers, critics, and historians? Did the textual product of a meta-artist enhance his/her professional success, or hinder it? And, does an examination of an artist’s writing aid in, or inhibit, the contextualization of his/her visual work? Papers addressing case studies of ambitious artists, or more thematic approaches related to this phenomenon, are invited from a wide array of methodologies and eras.
Melissa Geiger, East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania,

American Art during the Great Depression

This session invites proposals that examine and critique the programs, products, and agendas of the culture of the Great Depression that so profoundly defined and then helped to undermine American modernism. The "alphabet agencies" of the New Deal, the Public Works of Art Project, the Federal Art Project, the photography project of the Farm Security Administration, and many others, had multiple and sometimes conflicting agendas. An immediate goal was to provide employment for culture workers, for painters, photographers, writers, playwrights, actors and others. Among other agendas were the documentation of rural living conditions, broadcasting the material achievements of the New Deal, representing America to Americans, and, more covertly, engineering a horizontal redistribution of wealth in an effort to reduce the concentration of vast wealth in the hands of a few Americans. Parallel to the official culture projects of the New Deal were more radical efforts linked to the Communist Party and the Popular Front, worker-centered, inclusive of groups marginalized or ignored by the federal programs, and aiming at a true

proletarian culture. “Art” is construed broadly to include painting, photography, and graphic arts, but also theatre, film, and dance, art works of Depression-era culture both permanent and ephemeral.

Mark Miller Graham, Auburn University,

Uncommon Virtue: Studies on Unfamiliar Saints in Art

The role of saints in the spiritual life and the artistic culture of the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Catholic Baroque is well known. They served as exemplar, patrons, intercessors, healers, and even chastisers. They had their special areas of expertise and were always available to call upon in times of need. Their lives and images were adventure stories and inspiration to the faithful. Devotion to the saints and to their images enhanced daily life. Many of these saints are familiar even today, but many are less generally known (even to scholars) despite their roles in the art and devotion of past eras, roles that may or may not continue to the present day. This session asks for presentations concerning these less familiar saints or on unusual imagery associated with the better-known saints.

Vida J. Hull, East Tennessee State University,,

With or Without C. Greenberg: Beyond Anglophone Art History

Post-World War II Anglo-American art criticism and history have been articulated around Clement Greenberg’s Formalism and the reactions it provoked in the following decades. This has especially helped formulating concepts of Modernism in the 1950s and 60s and Post-Modernism in the 1970s and 80s as they have been applied to Western art history. However, beyond the Anglophone world, Greenberg’s reception was neither immediate nor uniform. His influential collection of essays, Art and Culture, released in English in 1961, for example, became available much later or never in other languages - 1988 in French; 1991 in Italian; 2002 in Spanish, etc. The result was either a postponed reception of his oeuvre or a total disregard for his principles, which caused non-Greenbergian interpretations of post-war art movements such as Abstract Expressionism, and eventually brought to different formulations of Post-Modernism. We welcome proposals that, by studying the causes, modality, or consequences of this phenomenon, address the topic of the absence of Greenberg in the construction of Modernist and Post-modernist art historical narratives outside the Anglophone world. This might include examples beyond Europe and the Western world.
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