Art History and the Unseen

2005–2006

One of the founding principles of the Clark/Getty workshops is to foster self-reflexivity within the discipline. This year, we began with a curious question: If our discipline is essentially concerned with the visible—the "seen"—what might constitute the "unseen" of art history? We investigated how the history of art has dealt with the representation of the unseen—a category that might include ideas, values, emotions, the numinous, the past, the dead—and how certain artistic practices attempt to render the invisible visible. The quest to represent the unseen has been part of artistic striving for many centuries and in many cultures.

Participants included


Fred BohrerHood College and Getty Scholar
Robin CormackCourtauld Institute and Getty Scholar
Whitney DavisUniversity of California and Getty Scholar
Lynn GamwellIndependent Scholar
Mignon NixonCourtauld Institute and Clark Fellow
Jonathan RéeUniversity of Oxford
Jennifer RobertsHarvard University
Charles StewartUniversity College London and Getty Scholar
John TaggState University of New York, Binghamton, and Clark Fellow
Jennifer TuckerWesleyan and Clark Fellow
Martha WardUniversity of Chicago and Clark Fellow