Appel à communication : « Why Sculpture Is Not Boring: New Approaches to Modern Sculpture, 1846-1966 » (Norwich, avril 2015)


Jean Tinguely, Fragment d'un hommage à New York, 1960, New York, MOMA.In a few brief – and now infamous – passages of his Salon of 1846, published under the heading ‘Why Sculpture is a Bore’, Charles Baudelaire tolled the death-knell for the medium of sculpture. Elaborating upon the centuries-old paragone, Baudelaire not only cited sculpture’s inferiority in the face of painting’s more expansive formal resources, but also concluded that the medium was ill-equipped to capture modernity’s particular forms of beauty. While sculptural production both before and after 1846 was anything but boring, Baudelaire’s eulogy cast a pall over the study of sculpture. The publication of Robert Morris’s ‘Notes on Sculpture’ in 1966 arguably resuscitated the medium in the realm of practice – yet art-historical enquiry on sculpture remained stuck in the methodological past. Scholars of sculpture have only recently taken fuller advantage of new interpretive and theoretical models – from psychoanalysis to post-colonialism and the anti-hermeneutic turn – that allow for innovative interpretations of sculpture’s distinctive contributions to modernism.

This session seeks papers on sculpture between 1846 and 1966 that make the case against Baudelaire, and which collectively will restituate sculpture’s place in modernity and in modernism. We welcome papers that investigate the contextual frameworks for the production and reception of sculpture; provide a global perspective on the medium; and push the theoretical boundaries of scholarship in the field. We encourage papers that reflect upon questions of method or incorporate historiographies of modern sculpture. We intend to publish a selection of the papers after the conference.

Session at AAH Annual Conference (Norwich, 9-11 Apr 2015)
Sainsbury Institute for Art, UEA, Norwich.
Deadline: Nov 10, 2014



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