Call for Papers for the Session Panel: "Realism and Its Discontents" as part of the Annual College Art Association Conference, to be held in Atlanta, GA in February, 2005. Paper proposals due to session chair May 14.
For a brief moment in the 19th century, Realism laid claim over both radical aesthetics and radical politics. However, in the later 19th century and over the course of the 20th, modernist and postmodernist aesthetics came to view realist art as prohibitively passe-- naive for how it missed the play of representation, conservative for how it depended on traditional viewing practices. This panel seeks to challenge these assumptions through a reexamination of realist art in the 20th century. Questioned posed include: Can traditional art praxis every be assigned a politically provocative role? How might Realism's public appeal be reconciled with its often scornful dismissal by critics? Papers might tease out threads of correspondence and disjunction between American and European Realist movements. Or they might examine particularly peculiar, often forgotten bodies of work by artists otherwise considered modernist pioneers. Papers investigating Malevich's Russian peasants or Picabia's racey depictions of nude women would fall into this category. Also welcome would be papers examining topics such as the social documentary of Lewis Hine or Norman Rockwell's popular portraits of small-town America.
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