writing between-275h


Writing Between the Lines Participants and Abstracts

Writing About Costa Rica in the Context of Latin American Art History and Using One Artist to Do So
Lauran Bonilla-Merchav

Ph.D. candidate, Art History, the Graduate Center, City University of New York

Considering what it means to be “an active agent in the writing of art history,” I deliberate upon the experience of preparing my dissertation. In my second year as a doctoral student of art history I decided to focus on Costa Rican art, as I was aware that being from Costa Rica, already having made institutional connections there, and a continuous desire to learn more about the country’s history are beneficial attributes for an art historian of the region. The writing that exists in the field is both scarce and written on a local scale. Understanding that my intention is to increase the literature on Costa Rican art in a manner that discusses it within the larger context of Latin American modernism, I have chosen to research and write about one of the most influential Costa Rican artists, Manuel de la Cruz González (1909-1986). No definitive study on the artist has been published and I am keenly aware of the unique nature of this pioneering experience, while also being conscious of the responsibility of my proposed undertaking. The “conditions of art historical writing” in this case are exciting, while idiosyncratic, particularly my direct access to the artist’s archive, a virtually untouched set of documents. My paper will discuss the exhilaration of working in a field thirsting for scholarship and abounding with primary resources. I am mindful of the fact that I will be making decisions that can affect my research in the future and that of others, as I establish research patterns and guiding principles. Remaining as objective as possible in a field that permits a subjective response to and analysis of the topic at hand, I find that self-reflection on my “role as author of art history” creates parameters in a specific area of study where few models exist.

Edward Black Greenshields: The Role of the Collector in Writing Art History
Alena Buis

Ph.D. candidate, Department of Art, Queen's University

During the first decade of the twentieth century, Edward Black Greenshields (1850-1917) published two books, A Subjective View of Landscape Painting (1904) and Landscape Painting and Modern Dutch Artists (1906). Combining art history and art criticism, these works are now considered the first texts of their kind produced in Canada. Greenshields, a wealthy dry goods merchant and member of Montreal’s Anglo-Protestant elite had amassed a particularly unique collection of works by artists of the Hague School. He considered the Dutch artists, “all men of striking originality, [who] broke away from past traditions of art in their country, and, going directly to nature, strove, by careful study, to give a truthful view, each as he saw it…”

Greenshields’ promotion of the Hague School came at a time when increased circulation of texts and expanding art markets created the figure of the art critic, an important arbiter of taste. However, by the first few decades of the twentieth century, there was concern as to whether collectors could successfully enter into critical dialogue within the Canadian art community. In 1917, J.D. Logan published Aesthetic Criticism in Canada: Its Aims, Methods and Status, challenging the ability of collectors and connoisseurs to engage in any useful way with pictures in their possession. He says while there is nothing wrong with the delight they find in art, one must “not regard such writing as genuine pictorial criticism: it is not criticism, but polite, entertaining literary conversation about the more obviously objective, immediately appealing and expressive equalities of paintings.”

What does it mean for a collector to write about his or her collection? As a collector, Greenshields performed a specific role in defining art and consecrating value. However, as a writer he gained further symbolic capital as he gained prestige for his publication. In this paper I argue that Greenshields collection and theoretical views on art as expressed in his writing evolved simultaneously and as his taste for works by modern Dutch artists was formed his collection assumed a rhetorical function. By examining the mechanics of Greenshields’ collection I provide a critical inquiry into the role of collectors as art historians.

The Shifting Contexts of Photojournalism: A Case Study of Benedict J. Fernandez III’s Protest Images
Alice Carver-Kubik

Department of Photographs, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Photographs often shift contexts and have multiple meanings creating a medium with multiple histories. Photojournalistic images are often originally intended for book and magazine formats and are then re-contextualized in cultural and art institutions as aesthetic objects. The use, interpretation, and experience of such images is dependent upon the authorship of both editor and curator, simultaneously writing images into the history of photography as art and photography as document, blurring the lines between communication and art.

In 1968 emerging photojournalist, Benedict J. Fernandez III’s images were presented as an exhibition at George Eastman House titled, Conscience the Ultimate Weapon; the images depicted protests and political dissent in the United States during the 1960s. Acting as creative director, curator Nathan Lyons selected, sequenced, and exhibited Fernandez’s images as an innovative audio-visual installation consisting of projected images accompanied by a synchronized soundtrack. The images were shown without titles, captions, or didactics. This provocative, political, and ultimately controversial exhibition closely reflected the bourgeoning medium of time-based media art in the late 1960s.

In this same year, Fernandez’s images were published more traditionally as a book titled, in opposition: Images of American Dissent in the Sixties, through Da Capo press with A.D. Coleman as his picture editor. The images selected for the book are similar to those selected for the exhibition, but in many cases visually stronger allowing them to stand alone as well as in a sequence. Each image has a caption detailing place, subject, and date. The images are further contextualized by a preface written by Aryeh Neier and an introduction by Fernandez. Considering each manifestation of Benedict J. Fernandez III’s protest images, this paper addresses the roles of photographer, curator, and editor in the interpretation and contextualization of photojournalism within the histories of photography.

Music and Allegory in Motion: Robert Farris Thompson’s Orchestration of African Art in Civil-Rights-Era America
Joshua Cohen

Ph.D. candidate, Department of Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University

In 1974, Robert Farris Thompson curated African Art in Motion, a major exhibition of traditional African art at the National Gallery in Washington D.C. Only the second of three African exhibitions ever to appear at the National Gallery, Motion lent African arts an unprecedented measure of mainstream visibility. Since that time, the exhibition’s book has proven influential, with its thesis that African artworks reflect and participate in their societies’ ethically charged gestures and dances. To understand the rhetorical structures and allegorical messages encoded in Motion, this paper seeks to read Thompson’s text closely and in relation to its context of the Civil Rights Movement. Focusing on the crucial but concealed roles of music within Motion, a close reading finds the author playing the part of a poet/diviner/bandleader who, unleashing African polyrhythm, “dances” his exhibition’s objects while surreptitiously inserting them into the Western canons of both “cool” and “high” culture. By connecting sculpture to music and dance, Motion is revealed to forge a subtle but important link between African material arts and better-known African-American performing arts, thus initiating Thompson’s longer-term verificationist project of envisioning classical African origins for black America.

Herbert P. Horne: ‘Arid Burrower’ of the Florentine Archives
Jan Cox

Ph.D. candidate, Department of Art History, University of Plymouth, U.K.

Herbert Horne (1864-1916) was one of the great art historians of the early twentieth-century and a contemporary of Bernard Berenson. Horne’s Magnum Opus on Botticelli has been described as ‘indispensable to this day’ and ‘the best monograph in English on an Italian painter’, yet it is Berenson’s name that resonates within the field of art history. A number of factors militate in favour of Berenson that have little to do with their respective academic abilities. Berenson lived into his nineties, spent lavishly, mixed in the highest social circles and was an expert at building relationships. Horne died young, was cautious and taciturn, and cared little for the opinion of others.

It is significant that the architectural legacy of the two men reflects their personalities and interests. Berenson bequeathed the Villa I Tatti, a palatial building set in the hills overlooking Florence, to Harvard University, whilst the compact Museo Horne stands oasis-like amid the bustle of central Florence. Berenson’s villa is expansive, contains many fine works of art and possesses a large Renaissance-style garden, whilst Horne’s small palazzo is filled with finely chosen objects: works of art by Giotto, Raphael and Simone Martini, sculptures, furniture, coins and books.

Horne used his knowledge of history, literature and architecture to place a work of art in its setting. His objective was ‘not so much to see a work of art as it is in itself, as to interpret and elucidate it from the point of view of the artist who is its begetter’. Horne was interested in the minutiae of art history, declaring that ‘the serious student is never satisfied with anything short of all the documents, entire, which bear upon his subject’. This exactitude meant that output was sacrificed in favour of quality; Horne took fourteen years to produce his masterwork, an aesthetic object in its own right.

Traffic : étude critique de la contingence entourant la publication de l’Esthétique relationnelle de Nicolas Bourriaud
Gabrièle Gosselin-Turcotte

MA candidate, Département d’histoire de l’art, Université du Québec à Montréal

Dans le cadre de cette réflexion portant sur la construction de l’histoire de l’art, une étude du contexte d’énonciation et de réception du désormais fort célèbre Esthétique relationnelle de Nicolas Bourriaud (1998) sera proposée. L’idée principale de cette communication est de relativiser l’importance de ce discours qui est aujourd’hui perçu dans le milieu de l’histoire de l’art contemporain comme une référence incontournable de la théorie des arts des années 1990. Dans un esprit critique, l’ouvrage de Bourriaud sera analysé en rapport à l’exposition Traffic présentée en 1997 au CAPC de Bordeaux. Cet événement a une importance particulière dans la carrière de l’auteur, où il tenait rôle de commissaire invité, entre autre parce que les principaux artistes exemplifiés par sa théorie relationnistes y participaient. L’hypothèse de départ de cette recherche est que dans son ouvrage de 1998, Bourriaud vise également à défendre la démarche des artistes exposés lors de Traffic et sa propre posture de commissaire. L’argumentation sera principalement fondée sur le catalogue d’exposition et sur un échange ayant eut lieu entre Claire Bishop (2004) et Liam Gillick (2006) dans le périodique October, la première critiquant le potentiel démocratique de l’ouvrage de Bourriaud et le second, un des artistes « relationnistes », défendant les intentions du commissaire et critique d’art. L’étude de ces textes permettra de faire le lien avec la seconde partie de l’exposé qui sera concentrée autour de la question du potentiel « politique » des œuvres relationnelles, qui fut l’un des aspects les plus critiqués de l’ouvrage de Bourriaud. À ce sujet, la pensée de Bishop sera mise en parallèle avec celle de Stewart Martin (2007). L’objectif est donc de démontrer qu’Esthétique relationnelle, malgré toutes les interprétations et les critiques qui en ont été faites, s'inscrit dans un contexte précis qui n’est toutefois pas soulevé par son auteur.

Fine Days for Seeing: The Art Writings of Frank O’Hara and John Ashbery
Genevieve Hendricks

Ph.D. candidate, Art History and Archaeology, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University

Despite much recent scholarship, the oversimplified narrative of mid-century American Art remains only too familiar: a heroic generation of Abstract Expressionist pioneers followed by a much weaker “second generation,” and then by the explosion of Pop. In that version of history, there is little room for the strong tradition of realist and figurative painting that continued throughout the period, as Post-war American painting was less of a monolith than it is usually portrayed in abbreviated histories. However, by reading the criticism of Frank O’Hara and John Ashbery we see the variety of counter-expressions that flourished in the very midst of gestural abstraction that dominated downtown New York during the 1950s and 1960s, a variety which is in turn incorporated into the art writings themselves. The so-called “poet-critics” believed that the work of these artists ought to be counted among the signal achievements of the School of New York, and by extension Modernist art at large, thereby maintaining a position containing deliberate subversive strategies which aimed to provide an alternative to the polemics and prescriptive modes of analysis prevalent at the time. Their essays and reviews are characterized by an openness to the artists who deviated from accepted tendencies; they invited art history, politics, and popular culture into painting and sculpture’s flexible discursive sphere; they invoked and described their own personal responses to the art that they saw; and they abandoned any critical approaches that would declare certain areas “off limits” for serious artists. The traditional framework in which the writings of the New York poets have been discussed, as well as the relationships between the poets and painters, are much more complex than the processes of art history render them. By focusing on direct encounters with art itself, O’Hara and Ashbery distill the essence of the viewing experience and enable their audience to “see” the paintings through language. For the conference “Writing Between the Lines: Art and its Historians,” I will focus on the art writings of O’Hara and Ashbery in order to define the genre of poet-criticism and argue for its importance as a means of understanding more fully twentieth century American art.

The Artist as an Art Historian: Fu Baoshi and Idiosyncratic Art Historical Writing in Modern China
Hui Guo

Ph.D. candidate, Leiden Institute of Area Studies, Universiteit Leiden, Netherlands

Available writings on art in China date back at least two millennia. In Chinese artistic tradition, important writers of treatises on art were also practising artists. Even after the introduction in the early twentieth century of art history as a discipline based on the European model, an absolute separation between artists and art historians did not emerge. Most scholars on art in modern China possessed a dual identity as both writer and maker of art.

To discuss this idiosyncratic aspect of art history writing in China, my paper will focus on the figure of Fu Baoshi (1904-1964), a celebrated Chinese ink painter and a prolific writer. Fu Baoshi’s engagement in the practice of painting combined with his academic training as an art historian, which he received in Japan between 1933 and 1935, offered him to switch effortlessly between visual and textual materials. Fu’s admiration for the painter master Shitao (1642-1707), inspired him to paint as he conceived Shitao would have done and to conduct thorough textual research on this artist. Surprisingly, Fu’s study on Shitao was purely based on written evidence and printing reproductions, since he seldom viewed any authentic masterpieces of Shitao. However, a lack of visual images did not restrict his understanding of the artist. Fu’s vivid imagination enabled him to visualize Shitao’s words.

In Chinese art world, practice, criticism and history have always been combined, and they persisted to be so even under the impact of Western scholarship. By means of a positive symbiosis of the roles of artist and art historian—a project that is not seriously promoted in Western art historical traditions—the Chinese practice of art historical writing created a specific local interpretative strategy as a bridge connecting visual products and textual histories.

The Art of Answerability: Dialogue, Spectatorship, and the History of Art
Miriam Jordan & Julian Haladyn

Ph.D. candidates, Department of Visual Arts and Centre for the Study of Theory & Criticism, University of Western Ontario

In “Semiotics and Art History,” Mieke Bal and Norman Bryson argue for a construction of art history that is grounded in the contextual presence of the viewer or spectator, noting that “the text or artwork cannot exist outside the circumstances in which the reader reads the text or the viewer views the image, and that the work of art cannot fix in advance the outcome of any of its encounters with contextual plurality” (179). Our paper, titled “The Art of Answerability: Dialogue, Spectatorship, and the History of Art,” will examine the contextual plurality that constitutes the art history as a discipline, specifically examining the dialogic relationship among the artist, artwork and spectator. In addition to Bal and Bryson, we will be discussing these three poles in relation to two major thinkers: Mikhail Bakhtin and Marcel Duchamp.

One of Bakhtin’s earliest texts is a short essay entitled “Art and Answerability.” In this text he posits the necessity for an active answerability on the part of the reader or spectator, which serves to animate and bring the work of art to life. In other words, art comes to life when experienced by the body of the spectator. Bakhtin’s conception of answerability is surprisingly similar to Marcel Duchamp’s conception of “The Creative Act.” For Duchamp, the spectator literally brings the work into contact with the external world; more importantly, he believed it was the responsibility of the spectator to decide if the artwork would become part of art history. Like Bakhtin, Duchamp saw the role of the spectator as an active one within the formation of the work of art. Rather than an artist creating an artwork that is experienced by a spectator after it has been created, in Duchamp’s description the artist is positioned producing works of art in virtual partnership with the spectator. The work of art therefore cannot be created without the participation or partnership of the spectator – or the posterity (multiple spectators in multiple contexts) that the singular spectator represents.

Drawing upon these perspectives, we argue for an active form of spectatorship that posits an equally active and answerable history of art that does not fix in advance the encounters with contextual plurality that especially contemporary artworks offer. Although we will touch upon Duchamp’s artistic practice as a means of illustrating his conception of the creative act, the primary examples supporting our argument will be taken from the work of Runa Islam and Stan Douglas.

Constructing an Identity: Natalia Goncharova
Nika Levando

MA candidate, Department of Art History, Theory and Criticism, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

The topic I would like to approach for the Writing Between the Lines Symposium, will explore the identity/biography of the historian and its influence on the discipline. The idea behind this evaluation primarily rests on my own experiences as a student and writer of art history. Since I was born in St. Petersburg, Russia and frequently visit the country for learning experience in my field, my concentration and interest in Art History has focused on Russian avant-garde artists. I found that, when discussing and researching influential Russian artists from the beginning of the twentieth century, many of my fellow students and even some professors were not knowledgeable in the field. Even considering the fact that some of these artists began revolutionary art movements, such as Rayonism/Luchism and Russian Constructivism, many of the art history students I came across had no knowledge or interest in them. And so I believe that my identity and my experience in the area sheds light on a particular history of art, from a different country, that goes frequently unnoticed by others.

As a woman, I felt particularly interested in the female amazons of the Russian avant-garde, and began my research on Natalia Goncharova, a revolutionary figure in the Moscow and St. Petersburg art scene in the beginning of the twentieth century. As a woman from Russia, who also left her country to live outside of the Soviet Union, I felt it necessary to question and research Goncharova’s motives and influences in her work. My own biography became just as important as Goncharova’s, because I felt a certain connection in our own goals and reasons for leaving the same country struck with political and economic turmoil. This connection and goal has driven me to persist and continue my research on not only Natalia Goncharova’s work but also her contemporaries and the different movements arising out of Russia at the time. I hope that my work and research as an art historian will do justice to those artists unknown to many young art historians of my generation.

Blunt’s Poussin: Secret Identity and the Art Historian
Luke Nicholson

Ph.D. candidate, Department of Art History, Concordia University

Anthony Blunt is one of the founding figures of English-language art history. He is certainly its major authority on the difficult and often arcane paintings of the 17th-century French artist Nicolas Poussin. Today, however, Anthony Blunt is surely better known as a traitor and a Soviet spy, one of the infamous “Cambridge spies,” together with Guy Burgess, Donald MacLean and Kim Philby. While Blunt had been active as a British spy and Soviet double agent before and during the war, after 1945 he seems to have successfully extricated himself from all espionage activities, except to cover up his former activities and the ongoing spying of his friends, to focus on his career as an art historian. Yet it will be my contention that the same purposeful duplicity used by Blunt to maintain his secret identity informed and was informed by his close association with and writings on the work of Poussin. Being an art historian had been cover for him but art history turned into just one more domain where Blunt worked undercover, along with his double life as a homosexual and triple life as a spy.

This paper will be a historiographical overview of Blunt’s writings on Poussin, relating them to both his homosexuality and spying. In particular, I will consider two early articles, “Poussin’s Et in Arcadia Ego” (Art Bulletin, 1938) and especially the seminal article “The Heroic and Ideal Landscape in the work of Nicolas Poussin” (Journal of the Courtauld and Warburg Institutes, 1944) in order to explore the development of Blunt’s multi-layered discourse on Poussin. I will investigate Blunt’s twofold use of Poussin as a mask, a persona. It will be my claim that this ‘mask’ was at once a model for Blunt’s life and a cover story for his secret lives.

A View of Democratic Athens from behind the Iron Curtain: The Reading of Social History on Archaic and Classical Attic Vases
Kimberley-Anne Pixley

Ph.D. candidate, Department of Art, University of Toronto

Although Athenian vase-painters of the late 6th to early 5th centuries B.C. showed a distinct preference for decorating vases with mythological subjects, a small group depicts scenes of daily life; and while most of these latter are snapshots taken from the lives of the upper classes, the existence of representations of industrial workshop scenes—the focus of this paper—points to a society comprised of disparate classes and provides the modern viewer with a visual distinction between the manual labourer and the upper-class male in art. These scenes were painted in Athens during the inceptive years of a radical democracy, the ideology of which is still held sacred two and half millennia later. But one should take heed not to confuse a political system that gave all Athenian citizens the democratic right to partake in state politics with an egalitarian society, a mood that infuses the dedicated studies on this topic by the art historians Juliusz Ziomecki and Jan Bažant in the communist block of the 1970s and 1980s.

The writing of art history is not an obvious task, especially when the history of the art in question bleeds outside the formal boundaries of Art History into other disciplines—here, ancient social history. It is there that the art historian must navigate uncharted, sometimes unfriendly waters. The differentiation between the upper and lower classes is easily understood by modern sensibilities, and it is tempting to read the artistic evidence with an eye slanted by modern bias. The Athenian democratic ideal included those of lesser means, and it is precisely to the lower classes that we must look in order to gain a fuller understanding of just what the new democracy signified for the average Athenian and how class disparity contributed to the success of the social order. But should these images be taken strictly at face value? Are we in the 21st-century West at risk for simply replacing a communist viewpoint with the pervasive political correctness of our own day in the reading of these images?

Subjectivité et interdisciplinarité : Amelia Jones et les marges de l’histoire de l’art
Anne-Marie St-Jean Aubre

MA candidate, Département d’histoire de l’art, Université du Québec à Montréal

Dans le cadre de ce colloque, je propose de réfléchir aux conséquences de l’approche définie par la féministe Amelia Jones dans son analyse des œuvres du Body Art (1998), où elle insiste sur le fait qu’en éveillant les désirs des spectateur, ces œuvres mettent en lumière le principe servant de base à toute analyse d’œuvre d’art : les désirs, et donc la subjectivité, du spectateur. Jones généralise cette approche afin d’englober l’interprétation de toutes œuvres d’art dans son texte Art history/art criticism : performing meaning (1999). Ce modèle de l’interprétation performative fait du sens de l’œuvre un échange, un lieu de constante négociation où se rencontrent projections, désirs et identifications de l’artiste et de l’historien de l’art. Pour N’Goné Fall (Global Feminisms, 2008), l’œuvre d’art est une « situation dynamique », c’est-à-dire un nœud inscrit au cœur d’un réseau, une façon de la concevoir qui met en valeur son potentiel de connexion. Cette conceptualisation, tout en étant en accord avec le projet de Jones, fait une grande place à l’interdisciplinarité. Gilles Deleuze, qui plaide en faveur d’une vision interdisciplinaire de la théorie (1985), explique qu’elle n’a pas à être représentative mais bien créative, un qualificatif assimilant ses enjeux à ceux de la pratique. Selon lui, l’objectif de la théorie ne doit pas être de réfléchir sur mais de réfléchir entre, et donc de créer la relation entre deux ou plusieurs composantes. L’interdisciplinarité devient alors un fondement essentiel de la théorie, qui la requiert pour ne pas se scléroser. Le rôle de l’historien d’art n’est donc plus, selon ces auteurs, de lire objectivement un sens déjà inscrit dans l’œuvre mais bien de créer du sens à partir de l’œuvre. L’écriture de l’histoire de l’art devient donc nécessairement subjective et contingente, et l’œuvre d’art, porteuse d’une multiplicité de sens.

Towards Firmer Ground: Critical Interventions, Guillaume Apollinaire, and the Making of Cubism
Fiona Stewart

Ph.D candidate, Division of Humanities, York University

This paper examines the role played by Guillaume Apollinaire and other artists in the critical reception of Cubism, both at the time of its flourishing between 1906 and 1914, and in subsequent decades. Although not a specifically ‘Modernist’ invention, the adoption of the critical role by artists increased dramatically in the early twentieth century. This quantitative explosion of artists writing about art coincided with the development of new media, and the formation of group identities, both of which met the public’s need for understanding, and the artist’s need for economic survival. The qualitative shift in the kind of writing that was infiltrating the critical field had a profound influence on the ways in which modern art was being understood, and continues to be understood. With characteristic flair, these artist-as-critics helped to shape, and articulate the theoretical frameworks of the Modernist projects, often expanding the premises beyond their pictorial statements. With unbridled enthusiasm, these artists writing about art became as integral to the invention of ‘Modernism’ as the making of art, itself. As Michael Fried suggests, “Criticism that shares the basic premises of modernist painting finds itself compelled to play a role in its development closely akin to, and potentially only somewhat less important than, that of new paintings themselves.” Within this context, the perception of ‘Cubism’ as a coherent aesthetic idea, or a clearly articulated project, is drawn from the energy with which the artist-as-critics, like Guillaume Apollinaire, asserted the validity of their innovations. An exploration of Apollinaire’s writings on Cubism serves to highlight the complex relationship between the artist and critic, as well as the work of art’s continued entrenchment in the conditions of its production and reception.

Art History as a Self-Portrait: The Formation of Japanese Art History in the late 19th to early 20th century
Akiko Takesue

MA candidate, Department of Art, University of Toronto

During the modernization of Japan as a “nation-state” in the late 19th century, the Japanese government found art to be an effective tool for establishing Japan as politically, economically, and culturally equal to the modern West. To serve as an equivalent of the Western concept of “fine art,” a new word “bijutsu” was created, and the entire spectrum of art came to be institutionalized in a system centered on this imported concept of bijutsu. As part of this system, the first official Japanese art history was written in 1900 to describe and present Japan’s self-image towards the West from a national perspective. It was a contradictory attempt to institute “Japanese art” within a Western framework. As Japanese art inevitably embodied concepts and categories that were different from those of Western art, this formation of a new Japanese art history was accomplished by eliminating certain areas of art.

Since the mid-19th century, Japonisme had flourished in the West, and a large number of ukiyo-e prints and ceramics had been eagerly collected. The Japanese government, on the one hand, took advantage of Japonisme to promote international trade, and on the other, created an official Japanese art history that eliminated the perspective of Japonisme. From its inceptions, the self-portrait of Japanese art history was double-faced.

How did this contradiction, or double-standard, manifest itself, and how was it perceived at the time? Did it continue to affect perceptions in later periods? This paper tries to answer these questions by discussing the socio-political and economic background of the formation of Japanese art and Japanese art history in the late 19th to early 20th century, in the context of the newly restored imperial system and the process of modernization in Japan. Through an investigation of Japanese art collections in Western museums around 1900, and the way they include, or do not include certain late 19th-century Japanese artists, it will examine the historical gap in perspective towards Japanese art between Japan and the West.

I Married an Artist: Tales of a Relational Critic
Lori Waxman

Ph.D. candidate, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University

Art can be more or less socially engaged. Those that are literally so work directly with a social body such that the artist creates in tandem with participants. Most often these projects take place over time; involve a variety of people; register different levels of involvement. For these and other technical but defining factors, socially-engaged projects can be immensely difficult to grasp in their fullness and subtlety. To a certain extent, "You just had to be there." And even then, with works that fluctuate as they function over time, you might not have been there enough or at the right times.

A problem thus arises: how can we talk about such slippery works, how can we critics and historians get enough of a sense of them to make meaningful commentary? Who, in fact, other than the artist (and not even, in some cases), has this kind of access? Art historian Hannah Higgins provides a useful model here. The daughter of Fluxus artists Alison Knowles and Dick Higgins, Hannah has by birth a privileged situation from which to analyze a notoriously wily art movement, and she has used it — alongside more standard scholarly research tools — to exceptional effect, providing a key text that explains the centrality of experience to Fluxus. I'd like to take this familial position of privilege further and ask what happens when the critic or historian gains extraordinary access to an artist through marriage. For that person to write or speak about their partner's work remains taboo, and yet in the case of certain socially-engaged practices, it might in fact be one of the most advantageous positions. That person, in this case, is me, and I propose to make a case study of this situation by examining the differences between research I have done into the 1971 restaurant FOOD (founded and run by Carol Goodden, Gordon Matta-Clark, Tina Girouard, and many others) and what I know and think about related projects produced over the past two years by my husband, artist Michael Rakowitz.

Giovanni Morelli : les présupposés du connoisseurship et leurs enjeux
Érika Wicky

Ph.D. candidate, Départment d’histoire de l’art et d’études cinématographiques, Université de Montréal

Cette communication aura pour but de mesurer les implications, dans le champ de l’histoire de l’art, de la méthode du connoisseurship élaborée par Morelli puis par Berenson. Il s’agira d’appréhender la méthode morellienne à travers l’étude des enjeux qui sous-tendent ses présupposés. En effet, en développant, à la fin du XIXème siècle, en marge de l’école de Vienne, une technique d’identification des œuvres basée sur la reconnaissance de détails qui témoignent de la technique individuelle d’un peintre, Morelli instaure un rapport à la peinture qui cristallise plusieurs problématiques de l’époque.

Tout d’abord, la méthode morellienne est basée sur l’observation de l’œuvre et de ses détails, en particulier des détails qui trahissent la facture, ce qui implique un contact direct avec les œuvres. Cette méthode consacre ainsi l’autonomisation de la peinture par rapport à la littérature dans la mesure où elle n’est plus envisagée exclusivement à travers son sujet ni à travers ses qualités de représentation. Dans cette perspective, le savoir sur la peinture ne s’acquiert donc plus dans les livres mais en voyageant, ce qui inscrit la méthode morellienne dans une perspective alors réputée plus scientifique, basée sur l’expérience et l’observation.

De plus, la technique d’identification de Morelli, qui répond aux nécessités crées par les conquêtes napoléonniennes, est lourde d’implications sociales car elle confère, en négatif, un statut social à l’artiste et à l’historien, ce dont rend compte la polysémie du mot « reconnaître ». En effet, en postulant que chaque œuvre est le fruit du travail d’un seul artiste, elle présente une conception individualiste de la création artistique qui a longtemps encouragé à reconnaître et à valoriser le maître au détriment de l’ensemble de l’atelier. De même, cette méthode postule l’existence d’un talent tout particulier de l’observateur capable de reconnaître les grands maîtres qui fait du lui un véritable esthète en le dotant de qualités réputées aristocratiques au siècle précédent.

La collection fermée et ses réactualisations : écriture et ré-écriture d'une histoire de l'art parallèle
Justine Lebeau

MA candidate, Département d’histoire de l’art, Université du Québec à Montréal

Dans le cadre du colloque Écrire entre les lignes : l’art et ses historiens, je souhaite présenter une communication qui concerne l’écriture de l’histoire de l’art par des collectionneurs particuliers et sa réécriture ou réinterprétation par le biais des institutions. Je m’intéresse aux collections personnelles constituées à l’intérieur d’environnements domestiques qui se retrouvent habituellement aux États-Unis et en Angleterre et qui ont été créées vers la fin du 19e siècle. Ces collections, ces témoignages personnels ont été légués aux villes respectives avec l’ajout de restrictions qui figent l’assemblage des objets à perpétuité. Nous définissons ces collections comme étant fermées, soit en ne permettant aucun changement dans la disposition des œuvres, leur emplacement, leur exposition, etc. Ainsi, la plupart de ces collections sont encore présentées telle quelle depuis leur don. Il s’agit d’un témoignage personnel, d’une vision (qui n’est souvent pas celle de l’historien de l’art ou d’un érudit du milieu de l’art) qui s’est conservée, qui s’est imposée jusqu’à aujourd’hui. Nous pensons notamment aux exemples de collections fermées telles que la Barnes Foundation de Philadelphie, la Frick Collection de New York, le musée Jacquemart-André de Paris, le musée Isabella Stewart Gardner de Boston, la Freer Gallery of Art de Washington et plus récemment, la collection de Kettle’s Yard de Cambridge et la collection Garman Ryan de la New Art Gallery Walsall de Walsall pour n’en nommer que quelques-uns.

La plupart de ces collections rejettent l’aspect érudit ou institutionnel des assemblages pour privilégier une expérience esthétique des œuvres d’art dans le milieu domestique de la maison. Malgré les lois qui conservent ces collections fixes, nous assistons (depuis le début des années 1990)à un phénomène de relecture de ces collections par des stratégies déployées par les institutions respectives tels que la construction de pavillons adjacents au musée qui la présentation d’expositions temporaires, l’invitation d’artistes contemporains travaillant le thème du musée ou qui utilisant des médiums immatériels, la création de collections parallèles permettant de poser une portée critique afin de réajuster le contenu de la collection fermée, bref, plusieurs interventions qui réévaluent la narration de la collection fermée tout en respectant son intégrité physique. Nous comptons présenter un panorama rapide de ces interventions afin de démontrer qu’elles réinscrivent la collection fermée à l’intérieur de nouveaux enjeux et permettent également une reconstruction de sa portée narrative.