History of Art and Architecture


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world picturing



tradition and modernity

What is at stake in defining a work of art’s place in time? If we understand “contemporary” as a concept that points to multiplicitous ways of being in time––in particular, to awareness of what is it to be in the present while also alert to the “presence” of other kinds of time––it becomes clear that this concept describes not only the current moment, but also additional non-linear spatio-temporal accounts. Temporalities are constellated within notions of contemporaneity, history, decoloniality, connectivity, art worlds, and planetarity. Within an art historical context, we might ask ourselves how can the contemporaneity of difference and multeity be imagined as historical, differential, dynamic, self-organizing, and convergent? 

Seeking to contemplate these and other questions, the Temporalities constellation has offered a fluid platform for thinking across time and space. Collaborations emerging from the constellation include the recent participation of five HAA graduate students in the research and curation of Dig Where You Stand, an exhibition staged within the Carnegie International, 57thEdition. Temporalities has also functioned as a major theme in exhibitions and other curatorial interventions staged in the University Art Gallery, including an exhibition of Chinese video art titled Materializing Memory: Contemporary Video Art from China ,along with Chinese Apartment Art: Primary Documents from Gao Minglu’s Archive, 19870s-1990s and Paradoxes of Play: Concrete and Conceptualist Proposals from Brazil and Beyond. Special constellation-related events also include a screening of Xu Bing's  Dragonfly Eyesand associated conversation between Gao Minglu and NYU film professor Zhen Zhangalong with other special lectures, studio visits, field trips, museum tours, conversations, and other events featuring scholars, artists, and thinkers working across the discipline. Furthermore, the constellation has met regularly to discuss recent texts by Giorgio Agambem, Georges Didi-Hubermann, Keith Moxey, Erwin Panofsky, Terry Smith, Claire Bishop, Boris Groys, Christine Ross, and others.

The journal Contemporaneity remains a critical focus of this constellation’s work within the department and beyond. Contemporaneity’s 8th edition, titled “Yesterday’s Contemporaneity”, uncovers how cultures throughout the global past have negotiated temporalities, modernities, and historicisms to come to terms with what it means to be present in their own moment. This issue contemplates how history and modernity are visualized, contextualized, or conceptualized to create a sense of temporalities.