CFP: Art Contra Politics

Olga Johnson Announcement
New York, United States
Subject Fields
Art, Art History & Visual Studies, European History / Studies, Philosophy, Sociology

SECAC 2023, October 11 - 14, 2023, Richmond, Virginia

Secular, capitalist modernity requires any viable artistic enterprise to work out its scope of effect and social engagement as a self-determining liberating project. The irrefutable condition of modern art exposes the internalized artistic aims as forces of its historical progression, meaning that no modern institution can safeguard art’s continuity or relevance. For example, Manet’s visible brushstrokes in Olympia (1865) propelled all subsequent paintings toward abstraction, marking individual experimentation with artistic media as the achievement of art’s unintelligibility and dissolution. However, Manet grasped the unworkable artistic Academism and wrecked its illusionistic methods, revealing how technical perfectibility precludes the invention of legitimate newness. Manet’s painting’s freedom is a political accomplishment, and Modernist history is a fertile context for art’s realizing its political potential.

Against such a philosophical framework, this panel seeks to reevaluate the convoluted crossroads of Modernist art and politics to test their prospects for relevance. Potential questions include but are not limited to: does art emerge in a political context, or does politics constitute creative human agency; how does art with explicit political content affect its audiences, or how does art, lacking politics, becomes a tool in institutional persuasion?

All proposals must be submitted by May 1, 2023, through the secure submission platform at

Membership in SECAC is required within ten days of paper acceptance; membership and conference registration are separate fees. Conference registration will open in August; conference registration fees are required for all.

Contact Information

Olga Johnson, Independent Scholar

Questions may be directed to the academic conference director, SECAC 2023, Tracy Stonestreet ( For logistical assistance, contact SECAC Administrator Jennie Fleming (

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