Sculpture and its Exhibition Histories
Henry Moore Institute
Association of Art Historians Annual Conference
29-31 March 2012
It is a commonplace that sculpture is best encountered to be appreciated and that its forms and meanings are inadequately captured by the photographic image.
This session takes up this familiar complaint, arguing that over the last hundred years or so it has been through sculpture's exhibition that it has been most articulately staged. Presented in the art gallery and museum, sculpture's complex meanings and its histories have been most sensitively presented.
Unlike published accounts of sculpture, its exhibitions have been strikingly successfully in opening up the material and formal life of sculpture. Through means of presentation, arguments are constructed that highlight the subtle relations between objects and practices, which are less well articulated in more official, text-based readings and histories. Such presentations are to be found in museums particularly focused on sculpture and in the interests of curators with specialization in sculpture. However, they are also evident in broader art exhibitions in which sculpture is highlighted in relation to other media and cultural concerns, such as 'This is Tomorrow' (1956), 'When Attitudes Become Form' (1969), 'The Condition of Sculpture' (1975), 'Primitivism in Twentieth Century Art' (1984) and 'Les Magiciens de la Terre' (1989).
This session invites consideration of exhibitions internationally across the last century and into the present. Of interest also will be papers that examine the exhibition of 'British Sculpture' through solo, group and survey presentation, including 'British Sculpture in the Twentieth Century' (1981), 'The Sculpture Show' (1983), 'Sculpture in Twentieth-Century Britain' (2003) and, most recently, 'Modern British Sculpture' (2011) at the Royal Academy.
We invite proposals for 25 minute conference papers. Please submit a 250 word abstract and short CV to Kirstie Gregory, firstname.lastname@example.org. Deadline for submissions is Monday 7 November 2011.
'Sculpture and its Exhibition Histories' is part of the 39th Annual AAH conference, held at The Open University, Milton Keynes. The session is convened by Lisa Le Feuvre and Jon Wood.
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