Association of Art Historians.
Annual Conference, London, 2-4 April 2008.
Session: Relocations: Photography Within, Across and Outside the Museum Since the 1970s
It was not until the early 1980s that photography was fully accommodated as an independent discipline in the art museum – a development that coincided chronologically and ontologically with the advent of postmodernism. In the course of its belated institutionalisation, photography’s essence would be reinvented as part of its novel exhibition value; the medium-specific, self-reflexive ‘fiction’ of photography itself being now completely overshadowed by a new interdisciplinary and inter-media category, widely termed ‘the photographic’. Yet, despite the programmatic pluralism and heterogeneity of photography’s ‘expanded field’, there are still photographic practices that are specifically excluded from the museum’s premises, seen as aesthetically, conceptually, or politically incompatible.
This session seeks to examine the morphological, ontological, and ideological changes that photography has sustained in the course of its museumification, and to look anew into the ways its discursive field may function within, across, and outside the museum. We welcome papers that discuss institutional/individual case studies and theoretical frameworks that address the following questions:
What are the institutional criteria that may determine whether a photographic work is admitted to the museum?
How have the long-contested notions of authorship and authenticity been reconceptualised to meet or challenge photography’s physical particularities?
Is ‘the photographic’ simply a side-effect of the general passage to a ‘post-medium’ condition or just another thematic through which the museum organises its subjects?
How has the institutional context affected photography’s use value and political impulse?
Could this new field of operations currently expanding to encompass popular digitally produced imagery become the critique not only of photography as an academy but also of the museum as an institution?
Can digitisation and the avid dissemination of photographs on cyberspace liberate professionalised art photography from the burden of the ‘ritual’ and enable it to (re)turn to politics, as Walter Benjamin would have it?
If you want to propose a paper for this session, please complete a
Paper Proposal Form by 16 November 2007 and return it to the session convenors:
Antigoni Memou firstname.lastname@example.org
Alexandra Moschovi email@example.com
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