Art History, Aesthetics,
Visual Studies

May 4–5, 2001

This conference, convened by Keith Moxey and Michael Ann Holly, addressed the extent to which the history of art has been indebted to aesthetic theory, from its foundations through its twentieth-century practice. What are the dominant aesthetic assumptions underlying art historical investigation? How have these assumptions been challenged by visual studies? Are questions of quality, form, content, meaning, and spectatorship culturally specific? Can we still define the parameters of what should properly constitute the objects of the history of art? Have art history and visual studies anything to learn from one another? Where do ideas about the aesthetic begin and end, both in the academy and in the museum?

Participants included:
Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann, Princeton University; Philip Fisher, Harvard University; Hal Foster, Princeton University; Ivan Gaskell, Harvard University Art Museums; Jonathan Gilmore, Columbia University; Michael Kelly, Columbia University; Michael Leja, University of Delaware; Karen Lang, University of Southern California; Stephen Melville, The Ohio State University; Kobena Mercer, Middlesex University, UK; Nicholas Mirzoeff, State University of New York, Stony Brook; W. J. T. Mitchell, University of Chicago; Keith Moxey, Barnard College and Columbia University; Griselda Pollock, University of Leeds, UK; Gary Shapiro, University of Richmond; Irene Winter, Harvard University

In order of discussion

In Time
Moderator: Michael Leja

Defining 'Aesthetics' for Non-Western Studies: The Case of the Ancient Near East
Irene Winter

Romare Bearden: African-American Modernism at Mid-Century
Kobena Mercer

Chaos and Cosmos: Points of View in Art History and Aesthetics
Karen Lang

National Stereotypes, Prejudice, and Aesthetic Judgments in the Historiography of Art
Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann

Out of Time
Moderator: Gary Shapiro

Darkness and the Demand for Time in Art
Philip Fisher

Aesthetic Autonomy, Internal Art History, and the Political Origins of Artistic Form
Jonathan Gilmore

Danto and Krauss on Cindy Sherman and Meaning
Michael Kelly

The Aesthetics of Difference
Griselda Pollock

Thanks for the Memories: Recollections of Rembrandt's Jeremiah
Ivan Gaskell

With Time
Moderator: Keith Moxey

Ghostwriting: Working Out Visual Culture
Nicholas Mirzoeff

Theory, Discipline, and Institution
Stephen Melville

The Dialectics of Seeing
Hal Foster

The Work of Art in the Age of Biocybernetic Reproduction
W. J. T. Mitchell

Timeliness: Problems and Issues
Panel discussion among all participants and members of the audience