Sunday, February 17, 2013

Conference Report: CAA in New York 2013

This past week I was able to attend the College Art Association conference in New York. This is the annual conference for the largest organization of artists and art historians in the United States. College Art is the oldest such organization in the United States - it was founded during the dawn of "modern" art in New York (think Armory Show and Marcel Duchamp!) 

In addition to attending the conference, I was able to attend a digital humanities pre-conference (I was selected to attend this limited seating opportunity - yay!). There I participated in several sessions (some hands-on, others lecture and others discussion oriented) that focused on teaching as well as research and collections. These sessions were well-organized but also allowed for organic information exchange -- the direction of conversation within each session could migrate off topic and yet still remained helpful!

After two days of the digital humanities, I attended the conference itself where I sat in on a number of sessions, panel discussions, and lectures. These presentations and discussions are made by academic art historians and artists, as well as museum professionals, conservators, and others who are working in the fields of art and art history. I really enjoy hearing what others are doing and, also, asking about their work either during the Q&A or afterward. With such learning opportunities, this conference is the off-campus highlight of my academic year. 

In sum, this entire visit to NYC was cloaked with art visits as well, since there are so many opportunities to view art and, second, because so many museums in New York are open late. Here's a bit of a brief recap below...

* Upon arrival, I visited the World Trade Center Memorial by Michael Arad shown here. It was contemplative and moving. How do you even smile in such a photo? I was fortunate to have lunch the next day with an architect whose friend's firm won the competition for the museum. We had a full conversation about site, space, and placemaking. 

** On Thursday I went over to the Brooklyn Museum of Art to see the Gilbert Stuart there (Mike-from-the-KHS and I have conversations about this work frequently, in terms of style, connoisseurship, and context). Also at Brooklyn, I was able to take in their visible storage display. The Met's visible storage, which I saw afterward, was really different and came across as an exhibit rather than a workspace and show place. 

***At MoMA, I was mesmerized by Wolfgang Laib's installation of hazelnut pollen. 

Info above and here, my photo below.

****At the Guggenheim (which is a work of art in its own right), I was able to take in the Gutai exhibition which was in its preview. Pioneers of performance and the idea of "concreteness," Gutai’s participatory environments took the form of organic or geometric abstract sculptures incorporating kinetic, light, and sound art, turning exhibition spaces into chaotic dens of screeching, pulsing, machine-like organisms. According to the curators, this site of creativity is what Shiraga called “a splendid playground” and what Yoshihara sought as a “free site that can contribute to the progress of humanity.”

These photos and this short list of activities really only scratch the surface of my week of professional development. I attended no fewer than 30 talks, visited 18 exhibitions at museums, libraries, and even the home of a private collector. I  connected with colleagues while also meeting associates. While I missed participating in campus activity over the past week, I greatly benefitted from taking in so much art and learning throughout the week. I look forward to sharing more with you in classes or conversations in the coming weeks. 

1 comment:

K-lev said...

Look at Georgie! Not that I didn't LOVE my time down in the cave, (how many years did I catalog art storage???) but that visible storage looked awesome. Jealous you got to go to that conference and see all that art! I especially loved Wolfgang. He was precious and I really liked the yellow and how big the space was. I'd be worried I'd fall into it and ruin everything...and I'd really want to make a snow angel.