AAANZ 2016 Conference
The Work of Art
School of Art, Australian National University
Canberra, December 1-3 2016
The 2016 conference was held at the School of Art at the Australian National University, Canberra from Thursday, December 1 to Saturday, December 3, 2016, 9-5 pm.
The 2016 Conference included an exciting program of events with a dedicated Postgraduate Student Day. Both keynote lectures were well-attended and very well received. Dr Melissa Chiu spoke at the James O’Fairfax Theatre, National Gallery of Australia. Dr Chiu is Director of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington D.C. Professor Anthea Callen presented the second keynote at the Australian National University. Professor Callen is Emeritus of the Australian National University, Canberra, and Professor Emeritus of Visual Culture, University of Nottingham, UK. Her new book is entitled The Work of Art: Plein Air Painting and Artistic Identity in Nineteenth-Century France.
On Friday December 2 the AAANZ 2016 Conference Committee and National Portrait Gallery hosted a reception at the National Portrait Gallery.
Conference Theme | The Work of Art
AAANZ annual conferences present opportunities to re-examine art history, art theory and studio practice and generate innovative perspectives on histories and cultural traditions. For this conference, based around the theme ‘The Work of Art’, we invite discussion on how works of art, craft, design and architecture operate and are operated on in different ways and contexts, historically, socially, politically, aesthetically and affectively. Given the location for the conference in Australia’s national capital with its concentration of national cultural institutions we would also welcome sessions on how art is made to work in institutional contexts.
Panel sessions considered issues such as:
- The function of art in broad social terms
- The ways in which art “works upon” its viewers (its affect)
- The practice of art and the various processes of creation
- Art in which labour or work is the subject
- The changing character of work and its impacts on art
- The economic frameworks of art production and development of different ways of working
- The singular work of art as a subject for close reading
- Curatorial processes and other interventions that make art work
The 2016 AAANZ Conference keynote speakers were Dr Melissa Chiu, Director of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington D.C and Professor Anthea Callen, Professor Emeritus of Visual Culture, University of Nottingham, UK and Professor Emeritus, School of Art, Australian National University.
What does the work of art look like in the 21st century? One could argue that this in and of itself is a question that resides in the past century when art was largely still an object—a painting, sculpture, photograph or installation– that could be preserved for posterity, a role that museums have taken on with greater professionalism over the past fifty years. Today, the work of art not only looks different, but operates differently within the art world ecology of the global art market, large-scale public museums and even the virtual and online world. This paper will examine some of the changing variables for how art work is conceived and produced by artists today, including a move towards the performative and experiential, as well as the evolution of more formal and demanding conditions of display and exhibition in museums.
Dr. Melissa Chiu is Director of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the national museum of modern art, a Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. She was previously Museum Director and Senior Vice President, Global Art Programs at Asia Society in New York responsible for overseeing the programming for museums in New York, Houston, and Hong Kong. As a leading authority on international art, with a specialization in the Asia-Pacific region, she has organised nearly 30 exhibitions including a retrospective by Zhang Huan, a survey of Yoshitomo Nara, and an exhibition of art from China’s Cultural Revolution. Chiu earned a M.A. in Arts Administration (1994) and a PhD (2005) in Art History and is the author of numerous articles and books including Breakout: Chinese Art Outside China (2007), Chinese Contemporary Art: 7 Things You Should Know (2008), Asian Art Now (Monacelli Press, 2010, co-authored with Benjamin Genocchio) and an anthology Contemporary Art in Asia: A Critical Reader (MIT Press, 2011, co-edited with Benjamin Genocchio). She has lectured widely including at Yale University, Harvard University, New York University, as well as Cornell University. She has taught seminars and courses in Museum Studies and Asian contemporary art at the Rhode Island School of Design and Columbia University, New York.
Professor Anthea Callen | 50 Shades of Grey
9 am December 2, Australian National University
“My keynote will consider the strange material history of grey as a fine artists’ ‘colour’, and examine attitudes to its use in painting around the fin-de siècle in France and again in later twentieth century painting, notably the work of Cy Twombly and Marlene Dumas. My discussion questions the existence of ‘grey’ as a neutral or negative hue, considering it rather as a plurality: ‘coloured’ greys.”
Professor Callen’s expertise in art history, visual culture and the gender politics of visual representation spans the eighteenth to twentieth centuries, notably in France and Britain. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in the UK and was recently awarded a Leverhulme Emeritus Fellowship 2016-18 to research a new edition of her major book The Art of Impressionism: Painting, Technique and the Making of Modernity (Yale University Press). Her most recent publication is The Work of Art: Plein Air Painting and Artistic Identity in Nineteenth-Century France (Reaktion Books, 2015) and Looking at Men: Art, Anatomy and the Modern Male Body ( Yale University Press) is forthcoming.