Public Sculpture in the Expanded Field

Session Convenors

Martina Droth, Yale Center for British Art

Sarah Victoria Turner, Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art

Session Abstract

Is public sculpture part of the ‘expanded field’? In its forms, public sculpture is largely governed by persistent traditions and conventions: the use of the figure, the statue on a pedestal, and the medium of bronze. Even in its modern incarnations, public sculpture still seeks to fulfil the promise of permanence in the public sphere. Responses to public sculptures tend to oscillate between indifference and moments of highly charged debate, often evidenced by actions that seek to destabilise sculpture’s authority. As a locus of political unrest, sculptures might be variously decorated, dressed up, vandalised, or removed, thereby interrupting the stasis of their presence and meanings.

This interdisciplinary session seeks to draw upon the energy of current debates about the role of public sculpture to develop new frameworks for interpretation. How does art history intervene in understandings of public sculpture that mediate between past and present? What is the role of museums and collections, beyond serving as repositories or graveyards for contested statues? How can we connect the temporal and geographic dimensions of the often fierce debates about public sculpture taking place across the globe?

To offer a paper
Please email your paper proposal direct to the session convenors, details above.

Provide a title and abstract (250 words maximum) for a 25-minute paper (unless otherwise specified), your name and institutional affiliation (if any).

Please make sure the title is concise and reflects the contents of the paper because it will appear online, in social media and in the printed programme.

You should receive an acknowledgement of receipt of your submission within two weeks from the session convenors.

Deadline for submissions: Monday 5 November 2018

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