Experience and American Art

portrait of a lady wearing a pink dress i Thomas Eakins, Miss Amelia Van Buren, c1891 The Phillips Collection, Washington DC

What does it mean to experience a work of art? What does it mean for a work of art to register—even enact—an experience? Would it be possible for an art historian working now, in experiencing a work of art, to sense some aspect of lived experience from another time, another place? Although words such as Presence, Directness, and Immediacy remain in relatively low esteem among art historians—our access to the past and to works of art usually held to be a matter of severe mediation—why can we not insist on the directness and uniqueness of our own experience?

The experiences in question might be special occasions, where time seems to stand still, or they might be more like the steady-state hum of unremarkable daily life; or they might be both.



Friday 23 March 2018 (DAY 1)

12.00 – 12.30 Registration (Front Hall)

12.30 – 13.00 Opening Remarks: Alexander Nemerov and David Peters Corbett

13.00 – 14.45  Session 1 – Chair: Jo Applin (The Courtauld Institute of Art)

Lucy Mackintosh (University of Auckland): “A Long-Forgotten Art”: Two Māori Flutes in the Peabody Essex Museum

Yinshi Lerman-Tan (Stanford University): Living Still: John F. Peto’s The Cup We All Race 4

David Peters Corbett (The Courtauld Institute of Art): Exile and subjectivity: Experience in the Writings of Sadakichi Hartmann

14.45 – 15.15  TEA/COFFEE BREAK (Seminar Room 1)

15.15 – 17.00 Session 2 – Chair: Robert Slifkin (Institute of Fine Arts, NYU)

Saul Nelson (University of Oxford): Experiencing Absence in the Early Work of Louise Bourgeois

Jo Applin (The Courtauld Institute of Art): A Schizoid Politics of Experience

Tilly Scantlebury (The Courtauld Institute of Art): Being and Having, Looking and Living: Catherine Opie’s Being and Having Series and the Queer Communal Experience

17.00 – 17.15 Comfort break

17.15- 18.30   Plenary: Alexander Nemerov (Stanford University): A Day in the Life of Helen Frankenthaler

18.30 Reception (Front Hall)

Saturday 24 March 2018 (DAY 2)

10.00 – 10.30 Registration (Front Hall)

10.30 – 12.15  Session 3 – Chair: Jennifer Jane Marshall (University of Minnesota)

Xiao Situ (Yale University): “Divine Happening”: Experiencing Titus Kaphar’s Another Fight For Remembrance (2015)

Theo Gordon (The Courtauld Institute of Art): Fantastic Experience?: Sex and Violence in the Art of Felix Gonzalez-Torres

Robert Slifkin (Institute of Fine Arts, NYU): On Dennis Oppenheim’s Marionette Theatre

12.15- 13.15  Lunch (provided for speakers only, in Seminar room 1)

13.15 – 15.30 Session 4 – Chair: David Peters Corbett (The Courtauld Institute of Art)

Madeleine Harrison (The Courtauld Institute of Art): A Warmer Life: Isabel Bishop, Experience and Fantasy

Jennifer Jane Marshall (University of Minnesota): Experiencing Empathy: The Work of Art, the Problem of Race, and the Sculptor William Edmondson

James Hall (Southampton): The American Self-Portrait: Expressive or Masked?

Jennifer Greenhill (University of Southern California): Pressing Buttons: Kodak and the Subtle Art of “Idea Advertising”

15.30 – 16.00 Closing Remarks: Alexander Nemerov and David Peters Corbett

16.00 END

This event has passed.

23 Mar - 24 Jun 2018

The Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London