"Haunted Modernity: Visions, Enchantments, and Apparitions in Nineteenth-Century European Art"
College Art Association's 105th Annual Conference
New York, NY
February 15-18, 2017
Chairs: Alison Hokanson, The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Melissa Buron, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
The spirit world was a significant source of inspiration for a wide range of artists in Europe during the second half of the nineteenth century. In an era marked by growing dissatisfaction with the perspectives that scientific rationalism and traditional religion offered on modern life, the prospects of otherworldly communication and supernatural visions galvanized new ways of looking at, responding to, and representing contemporary existence. The manifestations of this fascination with unearthly realms were rich and varied, from adherents of Spiritualism including James Tissot and James McNeill Whistler; to aficionados of the arcane and eerie, such as Fernand Khnopff; and occult influenced groups like the Nabis. Despite the profound visual and conceptual appeal of mystical beliefs, their creative impact has been largely underappreciated in art historical scholarship. This panel seeks papers that address the role played by unconventional forms of spirituality and by the paranormal in the development of later nineteenth-century European art. Papers might consider: representations of apparitions, visions, ecstatic trances, reincarnation, and the psyche or soul; the critical, literary, or popular context for such depictions; new technologies and experimental media as a means of capturing supernatural phenomena; the visual and material culture of occult movements; and artistic experimentation with esoteric ideas and practices, including Spiritualism, Spiritism, Theosophy, séances, and automatic drawings/paintings. The organizers are particularly interested in how artists met the challenge of depicting what was, by nature, intangible, mysterious, and ineffable.
Proposals are due to firstname.lastname@example.org by August 30, 2016. To submit a proposal for consideration, please follow the instructions provided in CAA's call for participation: http://www.collegeart.org/pdf/2017-call-for-participation.pdf.