Vitriol - Call for Papers

Vitriol: Art and its Discontents

Friday and Saturday, the 4th and 5th of March 2016

“Love me or hate me, both are in my favour. If you love me, I’ll always be in your heart. If you hate me, I’ll always be in your mind.” – (not actually said by) William Shakespeare

The Art History Graduate Student Association of Concordia University is proud to announce our call for papers for our 10th Annual Graduate Conference entitled Vitriol: Art and its Discontents.

Affect. Disaffection. Protest. Passion. Provocation. Subversion. Irony. Sarcasm. Camp. This conference will focus on all of those objects that polarize opinion, set conversation alight, and challenge discourse in new and interesting ways. 2015 has seen a number of incidents call into question the ways we think about art. From the "Renoir Sucks at Painting" protests to a small child accidentally punching a priceless painting in Taiwan, art has taken a literal "beating." What happens when we slay our sacred cows? Can we really critique the art historical canon without throwing Leonardo or Michelangelo under the proverbial bus? And what role does strong emotion play into how we understand, interpret, and describe art?

We invite submissions that cover a range of topics and media covering any historical time period. Students are encouraged to submit proposals that look at visual and material culture as well as other disciplines such as performance studies and media studies.

Topics can include but are not limited to:

  • Sarcasm, irony, and hostility in art writing and towards art movements, styles, periods, and artists
  • Art as social and/or political commentary
  • Emotion and affect in art making practices
  • Art as mass consumption, bridging the gap between high and low art
  • Camp as performance/performative
  • Kitsch, tackiness, and low culture as subversive practices
  • The grotesque, the disgusting, and the hideous
  • The destruction and erasure of material and visual culture
  • War, violence and their visual representations/influences
  • The art of causing controversy
  • Art as resistance

Presentations should be twenty minutes in length (2,500 words) and will be followed by a discussion period. We do welcome co-presenters, but please contact us in advance to discuss this possibility. Proposals may be submitted in English or French and can be submitted via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Please include your name, institutional affiliation, and professional bio in the body of your e-mail and attach a 300-word abstract (without any identifying information) as a .pdf. The deadline is the 15th of December 2015.

Presenters will be informed of selection by the first week of January, 2016.