conference 2011: CONTACT

AAANZ 2011 Conference


Art History, Victoria University of Wellington, Rutherford House, Pipitea Campus Wellington, New Zealand and Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa Tongarewa

Wellington, 7-9 December 2011

AAANZ 2011 Conference Image: Richard Killeen (b. 1946), Welcome to the South Pacific, 1979. Acrylic lacquer on aluminium in 16 parts. 840 x 570 mm (largest), 400 x 375 mm (smallest). Victoria University of Wellington Art Collection.

Richard Killeen (b. 1946), Welcome to the South Pacific, 1979. Acrylic lacquer on aluminium in 16 parts. 840 x 570 mm (largest), 400 x 375 mm (smallest). Victoria University of Wellington Art Collection.

The Art Association of Australia and New Zealand 2011 Annual conference focused on a single overarching theme: Contact.  ‘Contact’ evokes encounters between cultures, peoples and objects and the issues and outcomes they spark. Papers were presented on topics or issues related to this theme. They included  papers on encounters between one culture and another, between viewer and art work or between one artist or art work and another.

You can download the AAANZ 2011 Conference Booklet here 2011 program


Okwui Enwezor Intense Proximity: Concerning the Disappearance of Distance

The idea of Contact adopted as the theme of this conference is a timely one. Contact presupposes an encounter, as well as suggesting the possibilities that such an encounter could provoke. In the second decade of the 21st century, contact is on trial. It has become part of the programme of a rising politics of negation, a xenophilic construct manifesting a rabid form of anti-difference. The troubled history of contact is well known. And its appearance in modern and contemporary art is known as well. In this lecture, I propose to use an upcoming exhibition to address the complicated issues that are part of the legacy of contact. The exhibition in question—Intense Proximity—which opens next year at Palais de Tokyo in Paris, is partly grounded in an examination of the lingering forms of ethnographic poetics that has shaped the world of contact. One of the project’s central curatorial features is the critical legacy of French ethnography in the first half of the 20th century, a discourse directly based on contact. The phenomenon of ethnographic poetics to which Intense Proximity refers could be understood as part of the great heritage of modernity, a model of global relations in which the precise measure between the near and far was blurred. Intense Proximity is in turn a form of curatorial speculation on the continuous fascination between ethnographic poetics and contemporary art, a probing into the metastasizing politics of anti-difference.

Okwui Enwezor is a curator, writer, and scholar. He has recently been appointed Director of the Haus der Kunst in Munich. He is the founding publisher and editor of Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art. He has held positions at the International Center of Photography, New York, the Art Institute of Chicago and the San Francisco Art Institute. He has held visiting professorships in Art History at the University of Pittsburgh, Columbia University, the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and the University of Umea, Sweden. In 2011 he will deliver the Alain Leroy Locke Lectures at Harvard University and, in 2012, he will serve as Kirk Varnedoe Visiting Professor at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. Okwui Enwezor’s visit is made possible with a grant from Creative New Zealand. TE PAPA (Thursday evening keynote venue) I

Professor Darcy Grimaldo Grigsby  When Contact is a Bullett: Manet’s (Painterly) Execution

In this paper, Grigsby addresses the persistent blindness of extant interpretations of Manet’s Execution of Maximilian of 1867, a painting long appreciated as a condemnation of Napoleon III’s intervention in Mexico.

Darcy Grimaldo Grigsby was born in the Panama Canal Zone. She is Professor of the History of Art at U.C. Berkeley and author of Extremities: Painting Empire in Post-Revolutionary France (Yale University Press, 2002) and Colossal: Engineering the Suez Canal, Statue of Liberty, Eiffel Tower and Panama Canal (Periscope Publishing, 2011). With Huey Copeland and Krista Thompson, she recently co-edited a special issue of Representations entitled New World Slavery and the Matter of the Visual (Winter 2011). Her essay for that issue, “Negative-Positive Truths,” concerns Sojourner Truth’s cartes-de-visite and introduces ideas from a book in progress called Shadows and Substance. Her talk “When Contact is a Bullet: Manet’s (Painterly) Execution” stems from another book project entitled Creole Looking: Portraying France’s Foreign Relations in the Nineteenth Century that examines France’s relationship to the Caribbean and Americas

Conference Convenors

David Maskill, Victoria University of Wellington

Sarah Caylor, Victoria University of Wellington

Conference Committee

David Maskill, Victoria University of Wellington (Chair)

Christina Barton, Victoria University of Wellington

Geoffrey Batchen, Victoria University of Wellington

Roger Blackley, Victoria University of Wellington

Peter Brunt, Victoria University of Wellington

Heather Galbraith, Massey University

Raymond Spiteri, Victoria University of Wellington

2011 PhD Prize and Book Prizes

See the AAANZ Prizes page for more information on 2011 prize winners:

2011 Sponsors

No conference is possible without the support of many institutions and individuals. For sponsorship towards bringing Okwui Enwezor to New Zealand, we acknowledge the support of Creative New Zealand. For sponsoring five travelling scholarships for post-graduate students, we acknowledge the Chartwell Trust. For additional sponsorship, we acknowledge Victoria University of Wellington, the Art History Research Cluster, the Adam Art Gallery, the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and Vic Books. Our thanks also go to the following individuals: Deborah Willis, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, William McAloon, Megan Tamati-Quennell and Jude Turner at Te Papa, and our student helpers.