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Call for Papers: ‘…and painting continues’, University of Nottingham

  • Conference: University of Nottingham, 14 June 2024
  • Deadline: 31 January

The persistence of painting is an art-historical conundrum, one that the Centre for Research in Visual Culture is considering throughout the academic year 2023-2024. Painting has survived many assaults, blows that – at the time – were deemed to be fatal. By tracking the continuity of painting in the face of these challenges we are as interested in exploring the possibilities posed by chemical and material innovations as we are the pressures of stylistic and transmedial shifts.

Drawing on current scholarship on the time and temporalities of art and art history, we hope that this conference will capture the many ‘times’ contained and sustained within painting, taking on the temporalities involved in its production, display and reception, as well as those citational and allegorical references that pull individual paintings across time and space.

The conference will take place on 14 June 2024 in person at the University of Nottingham and will be divided into three panels: ‘The Persistence of Painting after 1900’; ‘Painting Against Photography’; and ‘Paint Write Repeat’. When submitting an abstract, please indicate the panel you would like your paper to be considered for.
We invite all potential contributors to draw on the geographically expansive and deep history of painting for their proposals.

Please submit a 200 word abstract for a 30-minute presentation by 5pm (GMT) on Wednesday 31 January 2024 listing ‘And Painting Continues’ as the subject line to chloe.julius@nottingham.ac.uk. 

Reasonable travel and accommodation costs will be covered for successful contributors selected through this open call.

Panels

The Persistence of Painting after 1900

Offset from certain 20th-century characterisations of its purity, this panel considers the persistence of painting in its disaggregated, hybrid forms post-1900. The experimental forms of painting that emerged in cubist collage (Gris, ‘Book and Glass’, 1914), in the readymade (Duchamp, ‘Apolinère Enameled’, 1916-17), in the nouveau réalistes’ explorations of a new objectivity (Arman, ‘Allure d’objets’, 1957-8), in the hybrid painterly-sculptural forms of Combines and Assemblage Art, and in the famously dematerialised artworks of the Light and Space movement, all suggest that painting at least retained the status of fellow traveller, if not instigator, in the innovations of avant-garde practice that supposedly superseded it over the course of the 20th century.

This panel invites papers that explore overlooked histories of painting’s presence in such canonised moments of radical departure post-1900, and which encourage critical discussion around painting’s imposter status in these events.

Painting Against Photography

Photography was conceived as something of a threat to painting, whether existential and/or literal, but the historical back-and-forth between painting and photography suggests a more combative and antagonistic set of relations. For every proposal or wish for painting’s terminal demise, there have been counter-claims and refutations of painting and photography, but perhaps Marcel Duchamp framed it best when said, ‘I would like to see photography make people despise painting until something else will make photography unbearable.’

Arguably Duchamp’s wish remains unfulfilled and, with this in mind, this panel seeks papers which explore the many contested spaces where painting and photography have met and continue to meet.

Paint Write Repeat

Whenever art criticism has been in crisis, painting has never been far away. At times, the fate of art criticism and the fate of painting have appeared entirely entwined. At other times, their survival has seemingly hinged on severing ties with one another. The pattern is a decidedly circular one, and whether they are making up or breaking up, neither painting nor art criticism can ever quite break the cycle. Repeating across histories and geographies, the task falls on us as art historians to ask whether anything can be learned from the multiple and multiplying iterations of this ambivalent relationship.

As such, this panel is interested in papers that touch on the pressure points of the shared history of art criticism and painting, and especially encourages contributions from scholars working within the intellectual histories of art.

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