The Student Summer Symposium is a two-day annual conference that combines student research papers with career-based workshops. The Symposium takes place at a different university each year in early Summer.
Association of Art Historians Summer Symposium: 'Subversive Beauty'
30 June -1 July 2011
University of Loughborough
‘Beauty can be a double-edged sword – as capable of destabilizing
rigid conventions and restrictive behavioural models as it is of
reinforcing them.’ --Eleanor Heartney (2000)
Traditionalist perceptions and representations of beauty in the visual arts are
commonly aligned within classical philosophy, the aesthetic doctrine of Immanuel Kant and the ‘canon’ of art. But how can the elusive notion of subversive beauty and artists’ multivalent attempts to negate, question, deconstruct, or otherwise rupture the most dominant and popular ideas surrounding beauty (i.e. ‘ideal beauty’) be theorised and historically contextualised? How does ‘beauty’ ironise, fetishise,parody and signify what is ‘other’, different, monstrous, fragmented, grotesque or abject?
‘Subversive beauty’ embodies a plethora of visual culture practises and a diversity of themes. It carries a long and polymorphous history, exemplified by, amongst others, André Breton’s celebrated principle of ‘convulsive’ beauty (1928) and Hal Foster’s influential notion of the ‘anti-aesthetic’ (1983). Nonetheless, in recent times, some of the most radical counter-propositions pertaining to normative beauty have become institutionalised, and have thereby arguably lost much of their power to subvert. Heartney’s insightful words on beauty as a potentially ‘double-edged sword’ touch on this historically, politically and ideologically sensitive issue, posing challenging questions for the art historian, critic and theoretician regarding the often ambiguous and precarious relationship between beauty and subversion in the visual arts.
We invite paper proposals from postgraduate students that seek to address the
concept of subversive beauty across all periods in visual culture, engaging in a
dialogue that prioritises political embodiments, institutionalisation, social
discourses, historical contexts, aesthetic purposes and ideological determinations or may present new critical positions pertaining to the contentious role of subversive beauty in art. Topics may include, but are not limited to:
Ethics and politics
Gender, sexuality and the body
Non-visual senses and/or synaesthesia
Papers should be 20 minutes in length and abstracts of no more than 300
words should be submitted along with a C.V. to: firstname.lastname@example.org
by 13th May 2011.
Submissions are open to AAH student members only. To join, and for information on benefits, see http://www.aah.org.uk/membership
Jenny Gypaki, University of Edinburgh, E.Gypaki@sms.ed.ac.uk
Victoria Irvine, University of Glasgow, email@example.com
Basia Sliwinska, University of Loughborough, B.Sliwinska@lboro.ac.uk
Jenny Gypaki, University of Edinburgh;
Victoria Irvine, University of Glasgow;
Basia Sliwinska, University of Loughborough
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