• 09 Jul 2018

Call for Papers

Public sculpture in the expanded field
Session at the Association for Art History Annual Conference, 4-6 April 2019, University of Brighton
Deadline for submissions: November 7, 2018

Is public sculpture part of the “expanded field”? In its forms, public sculpture is still largely governed by persistent traditions and conventions: the use of the figure, the statue on a pedestal, and the medium of bronze. Even in its modern incarnations, public sculpture still seeks to fulfill the promise of permanence in the public sphere. Responses to public sculptures tend to oscillate between indifference and moments of highly-charged debate, often evidenced by actions that seek to destabilize sculpture’s authority. As a locus of political unrest, sculptures might be variously decorated, dressed up, vandalized, or removed, thereby interrupting the stasis of their meanings and presence.

This interdisciplinary session seeks to draw upon the energy of current debates about the role of public sculpture to develop new frameworks for interpretation. How does art history intervene in understandings of public sculpture that mediate between past and present? What is the role of museums and collections, beyond serving as repositories or graveyards for contested statues? How can we connect the temporal and geographic dimensions of the often fierce debates about public sculpture taking place across the globe?

To submit a proposal, please e-mail an abstract of no more than four hundred words and a short CV or bio of no more than two pages to martina.droth@yale.edu and svturner@paul-mellon-centre.ac.uk.

Details about the conference can be found on the Association for Art History website.

Image credit: Installation of Sophie Ernst's Silent Empress in Castrop Rauxel Square, Wakefield, 2012. Courtesy of the artist.