Indiana University Art History Graduate Symposium "Networks of Display: Artists in/and the Public"

Amelia Berry's picture
Call for Papers
January 6, 2020
Indiana, United States
Subject Fields: 
Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Archaeology, Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, Fine Arts, Film and Film History

The Department of Art History at Indiana University Bloomington is pleased to announce a one-day graduate symposium: “​Networks of Display: Artists in/and the Public​” on Saturday, ​March 28th, 2020.

Keynote Speaker: Nii Quarcoopome, Curator of African Art and Department Head, Africa, Oceania and Indigenous Americas at the Detroit Institute of Arts

In July of 2019, Warren Kanders stepped down as vice chairman of the Whitney Museum of American Art after activists published his company’s role in manufacturing the tear gas used at the United States-Mexico border. Prior to Kanders resignation, eight artists withdrew from the Whitney Biennial, citing Kanders as their primary grievance against the museum. Other museums have also decided to examine their ties to major corporations in response to activist demands.

We know that this is not the first time museums and sites of public engagement have been called upon to evaluate their involvement in sociopolitical events. From the removal of Sam Durant’s ​Scaffold​ from the Walker Art Center in 2017, the staged protests of the Guerrilla Girls in the 1980s, to numerous calls for repatriation since the 1920s, museums and artists are held responsible for their exhibitions and artworks. The networks between museums, artists, and the public historically point to increasing engagements between the art object and viewer.

How does the relationship between museums, artists, and the public represent itself in visual culture? In what ways does art historical discourse engage in the network between public displays of art and viewership? What changes are seen in visual culture in light of the growing awareness of public display? With these questions in mind, the Art History Association at Indiana University seeks paper proposals that critically engage with the historical, social, aesthetic, and political facets of public display as a means of engaging with a cultural milieu. We also welcome proposals from a range of fields outside of art history. Possible topics include:

Decolonization and decoloniality

Gender and race in the museum

Artistic exploitation of politics

Depictions of environmental/political landscapes

Artist-led exhibitions

Cultural transmission and dissemination

Intersectional studies of public media and visual culture

Religious sites of visual engagement

Archives and archival materials

We invite papers that address the topic by engaging with related material from a broad variety of fields, periods, geographies, and social groups. Paper sessions, followed by a panel response and discussion, will occur on ​Saturday, March 28th​ followed by the keynote address. Current graduate students (MA, MFA, PhD) are invited to submit an abstract (maximum 300 words) for a twenty-minute presentation in addition to a current CV to ​​ by ​January 6th, 2020​. All presenters who attend from outside Bloomington, Indiana will be reimbursed up to $250 for travel expenses.

Contact Info: 

Please send paper proposals to our symposium email at

Questions and comments may be directed to the Indiana University Department of Art History's Outreach Coordinator, Amelia Berry (

Contact Email: