We are currently soliciting papers for a session at CAA Annual Conference, New York, February 13–16, 2019:
When Home Won't Let You Stay: Art & Migration in the 21st Century
Co-chairs: Ruth Erickson (Mannion Family Curator) and Ellen Tani (Assistant Curator), Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston
This session considers how contemporary artists and curators have responded to the migration, immigration, and displacement of peoples, and how they have uniquely envisioned the sites and experiences of transit. Throughout history, people have moved around the globe for a variety of reasons—fleeing war, religious persecution, and environmental disaster, or seeking better social and economic circumstances. The twenty-first century continues to witness mass migrations of people from the Middle East, North Africa, and Central America within those regions and to Europe and the United States, which has precipitated several “refugee crises.” This session invites papers that address the varied and complicating roles that artists, curators, and artworks play in negotiating space and identity in migration. Convened during a moment of intense focus on migration—as Tania Bruguera notes, “Immigrants are the subject of the twenty-first century”—it seeks to address a series of questions: What is the nature of representation in artwork about migration? (Does it tell stories? Does it document experiences? Does it imagine futures?) What work can aesthetic practices truly carry out in solving the plight of migrants? How have institutions negotiated their own power in concert with exhibitions about migration? And how have art historians and theorists chronicled this phenomenon, from what T.J. Demos sees as the documentary possibilities of “the migrant image” to Ranajit Guha’s understanding of “the migrant’s time”? By bringing together differing perspectives and case studies from throughout the world, this session interrogates the concept of globalized, twenty-first century transience.
Ellen Tani, Assistant Curator, ICA/Boston
Ruth Erickson, Mannion Family Curator, ICA/Boston