Session: From the Wall, to the Press, to the Streets

Date & Time:  Friday, 15 February 2013, 5:30 PM-7:00 PM

Location: Hilton New York, Madison Suite, 2nd Floor

Session convenors: Eve Kalyva (e.m.kalyva@gmail.com) and Ignaz Cassar (ignazcassar@yahoo.co.uk)

The divide between art and language has historically functioned as a metaphor of the division between high and low culture. Many artistic practices have challenged this binary, where the concept of gallery enclosure can be understood as a literal and figurative qualifier of art: a space that is distinct from, yet exists within, the wider social sphere.

Especially in twentieth and twenty-first century art, the use of language has facilitated a material and discursive transgression beyond the traditional art-object and its institutional isolation. Works that combine image and text have appeared on gallery walls, the popular press, and other public sites such as billboards and pavements. Such activities widen the engagement with art and open new channels of communication and participation. They also challenge, and often alter, the traditional hierarchies that underline the artworld, from the production of art to its display and consumption.

Acknowledging the manifold social practices of contemporary art and the diversity of scholarship that IAWIS-AIERTI embraces, this session wishes to address the presence of image and text in the public sphere from both a historical and critical perspective. In what ways can the use of language in art practices transform the domain of the artworld? How have art institutions shifted their policies in response to such practices? With this session, we also hope to consider the sociality of art, as this becomes evident by artistic practices that transgress the gallery enclosure of art.

The papers in this session discuss the social interaction with works that manipulate the visual and the textual beyond the traditional frame of art – a frame that can be understood in material, institutional, and theoretical terms. They address subversive displays of word and image and the shifts between public readings and private gaze; the rhetoric of public art and how language is used to challenge the divides such as private/public and elitist/communal; spatial transgression as institutional critique and practices that work ‘around’ the frame; and open-access art in new sites: from art magazines and postcards to billboards, the internet, and social networking sites.

Session programme:

  • Miriam Kienle (University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana), ‘Pasted and Posted: Ray Johnson’s Networked Art, 1955-65’
  • Eve Kalyva (University of Buenos Aires),Across North and South: Conceptual Art Practices in a Variety of Contexts’
  • Jody B. Cutler (St. John’s University), ‘“I Can’t Imagine Ever Wanting to Be White”: The Resonant Afterlife of those Notorious Museum Tags’

Further information about the conference, including travel and accommodation information, can be found at http://conference.collegeart.org/2013/