- This event has passed.
First Annual Feminist Art History Conference at American University
November 5, 2010 - November 7, 2010
The Art History Program in the Department of Art in American University’s College of Arts and Sciences announces the first annual Feminist Art History Conference at American University: “Continuing the Legacy: Honoring the Work of Norma Broude and Mary D. Garrard.” The conference will take place on Friday and Saturday, November 5 and 6, 2010, on the American University (AU) campus in Northwest Washington, D.C. The conference is free and open to the public. Advance registration (before 5 p.m., Friday, October 22) is recommended (see link above). This inaugural conference celebrates the legacy of two pioneering feminist art historians who are both professors of art history at AU. With ten sessions on Friday afternoon and Saturday, the conference will provide a forum for forty speakers whose topics range from antiquity to contemporary art, demonstrating the myriad ways in which feminist research and interpretation have spread across the spectrum of art historical analysis and scholarship. The keynote address will be presented on Friday at 6:45 pm by Anna Chave, Professor of Art History at Queens College and the Graduate Center at the City University of New York. Her talk is entitled “High Tide: Deploying Fluids in Women’s Art Practice.” In addition to books on Mark Rothko and Constantin Brancusi, Professor Chave is known for her feminist publications on Georgia O’Keeffe, important articles on the gender politics of Minimalism, and her provocative analysis of historically gendered readings of Picasso’s Demoiselles d’Avignon. The work of Professors Norma Broude and Mary D. Garrard has significantly helped to define and shape the field of feminist art history over the last four decades. They are perhaps best known in the wider academic community for their four co-edited anthologies of feminist scholarship: Feminism and Art History: Questioning the Litany (1982), The Expanding Discourse: Feminism and Art History (1992), The Power of Feminist Art. The American Movement of the 1970s, History and Impact (1994), and Reclaiming Female Agency. Feminist Art History after Postmodernism (2005). By identifying and focusing attention on feminist themes and issues in work by art historians over several generations, the Broude-Garrard anthologies helped to inspire and direct new scholarship, and have become basic texts in many art history and gender studies courses in American universities and around the world. Broude and Garrard were early leaders of the American feminist movement in art professions, beginning with their foundational work with Women’s Caucus for Art. Each has been active in the College Art Association (CAA); in 2000, they jointly received an award from CAA’s Women’s Committee for their feminist scholarship. Professors Broude and Garrard have both served on editorial boards of art history journals and feminist journals, as speakers at numerous conferences and symposia, and as guest speakers at museums and universities. Equally important are their scholarly contributions to their respective fields, Modern European and Renaissance/Baroque art history. Broude is known for critical reassessments of Impressionism, the work of Degas, Caillebotte, Cassatt, Seurat, the Italian Macchiaioli, and most recently, G. B. Tiepolo. She is the author of The Macchiaioli: Italian Painters of the Nineteenth Century, and Impressionism, a Feminist Reading. Among her edited books are World Impressionism: The International Movement and Gustave Caillebotte and the Fashioning of Identity in Impressionist Paris. Broude also conceived and served as General Editor of The Rizzoli Art Series. Garrard is known for her work on the seventeenth-century Italian painter Artemisia Gentileschi, including two books, Artemisia Gentileschi, and Artemisia Gentileschi Circa 1622. Her scholarship also embraces critical studies of Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Sofonisba Anguissola, Titian, and gender issues in Renaissance art. The November 2010 publication of Garrard’s new book, Brunelleschi’s Egg: Nature, Art, and Gender in Renaissance Italy (University of California Press), will be celebrated at an event at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C., on Sunday November 7, immediately following the conference. This conference also celebrates the roles of these two leading feminist scholars at American University from the 1970s to the present, where they have inspired, guided, and mentored undergraduate and M.A.-degree students, many of whom now fill positions in major museums in Washington and elsewhere, or who have continued through PhD programs to become professors themselves. As continuing participants in the University arts community, Broude and Garrard recently co-curated an exhibition, Claiming Space: Some American Feminist Originators, for the AU Art Museum (2008). The impressive number of papers proposed for this conference is evidence of the ongoing centrality of the issues raised by feminist art history—a testimony both to the vitality of research by feminist scholars and to the influence that Norma Broude and Mary Garrard have had on feminist art historical scholarship in the United States and beyond over the past four decades. Given that Washington, D.C., is becoming a center for the nexus of gender and art, with the AU art history program’s longstanding emphasis on feminist methodologies and the presence of the National Museum of Women in the Arts, conference planners expect the Feminist Art History Conference at American University to become an annual event, and hope that it might function as a worthy successor to the Barnard College Feminist Art History Conference in New York, which served as an important forum for feminist scholarship throughout the 1990s.