Appel à publication : « Symbolism(s) and their Legacies in American Art, 1880-1920 »

vedder1Symbolism(s) and their Legacies in American Art, 1880-1920

Deadline: Jun 9, 2014


Symbolism(s) and their Legacies in American Art, 1880-1920

At the 2012 CAA conference, the Association of Historians of American 
Art-sponsored panel on American Symbolism pointed towards a need for 
reevaluation of the wide-ranging influence of this diverse, enigmatic 
movement in American painting, photography, sculpture, and the 
decorative arts. The significance of the pivotal but now outdated 1979 
exhibition catalog American Imagination and Symbolist Painting was 
widely acknowledged, as it remains one of the very few to address the 
rich cultural influence of Symbolism on American art. However, it is 
time for a re-evaluation of the book, examining the pervasive role of 
proliferating Symbolisms beyond their established iconographic affinity 
with European models.

We invite a more expansive dialogue on American Symbolists, to be 
published as an anthology representing new currents in scholarship. 
Ongoing work is necessary to situate American artistic production from 
the late nineteenth to early twentieth century within and well beyond 
the fluid parameters of the European Symbolist movement. On American 
soil, artists and critics encountered strains of European Symbolist 
thought and negotiated its interests in distinct and divergent ways: 
they helped to define its eclectic styles and interests by exploring 
inner turmoil and mysticism, and also embraced its utopian aspirations; 
they pressured its perceived fin de siècle decadence, and engaged with 
multiple meanings and surprising juxtapositions in their own work. We 
seek contributions from emerging scholars as well as established art 
historians, and invite interdisciplinary exchange with visual and 
material culture in fields beyond art history.

Questions for consideration (5,000 to 8,000 word essays) might include, 
but are not limited to the following:

•How does this movement dovetail or conflict with American philosophies 
such as pragmatism or transcendentalism, and/or reflect artists’ 
interest in Eastern religion or Spiritualism?  
•How did new scientific discourses inform the creation of Symbolist art? 
•How do American Symbolists express nationalistic tendencies?
•What role does gendered creativity and imagery play in American Symbolist discourses? 
• What connections can be traced among American art, literature, poetry, and music? 
• How did American artists who invested in Symbolist immateriality address rising 
emphasis on consumer culture?

Submit 1-2 page abstract with c.v. via email by June 9, 2014:
Erika Schneider, Associate Professor of Art History, Framingham State University,
Emily Gephart, Visual and Critical Studies, School of the Museum of 
Fine Arts,

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