Art, art history and visual studies

20-22 September 2010


Art, art history and visual studies: contemporary problems and concepts of research and writing
Prof. James Elkins, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Intensive graduate seminar is sponsored by the Estonian Graduate School of Culture Studies and Arts (GSCSA)

The language of the seminar is English!

Preliminary reading is requested (please look at the program).

Day 1:Seminar lecture: What is art history? And what is visual studies?
(Keynote [i.e., Powerpoint] lecture “Concepts of Art History, Bildwissenschaft, Kunstwissenschaft, visual studies, and Iconology”)

Theme: An investigation of the ways that several overlapping fields are currently conceptualized.

“Is There a Canon in Art History?” in “Partisan Canons,” ed. Anna Brzyski;
“Skeptical Introduction to Visual Studies,” excerpts

Seminar lecture: Judgments of Value in Art History and Postcolonial Studies (Keynote lecture, adapted from a report on the work in progress called “Success and Failure in Twentieth Century Painting,” University of Chicago, February 2010)

Theme: The difficulty of writing about modernism worldwide, including the necessity of issues of quality and value.

“Writing About Modernism Outside North America and Western Europe,” in “Compression and Expansion” (Williams conference);
John Clark, “Modern Asian Art,” excerpts;
Steven Mansbach, “Modern Art in Eastern Europe,” excerpts;
my “Chinese Landscape Painting as Western Art History” (Hong Kong University Press, 2010), excerpts

Intensiivseminar on toetatud Kultuuriteaduste ja kunstide doktorikooli (KTKDK) vahenditest.

Seminariks on vaja eelnevalt lugeda programmis ettenähtud kirjandust!!!

Registreerimine hiljemalt 22. august – en

Osalemiseks saata oma doktoritöö probleemistiku kirjeldus inglise keeles (kuni 1 lk) 31. augustiks kontaktile:

Day 2:

Seminar lecture: What is an image?
(Keynote lecture, first given in 2008)

Theme: Current conceptualizations of the image, picture, and painting, in art history, theory, and criticism, with special emphasis on ontological and non-ontological accounts (eg,Boehm’s and Mitchell’s).

“What is an image?” seminar, from the Stone Summer Theory Institute, July 2008, with Gottfried Boehm, Tom Mitchell, Jacqueline Lichtenstein, Marie-José Mondzain, twenty others;
Boehm, unpublished essays, excerpts; letters between Tom Mitchell and Gottfried Boehm

Seminar lecture: Beyond the Aesthetic and the Anti-Aesthetic

Theme: The difficulty of defining what artistic practices might be independent of both modernism (aesthetic positions) and postmodernism (non-aesthetic or anti-aesthetic positions)

Seminar, from the Stone Summer Theory Institute, July 2010 (text available August 15, 2010), with Hal Foster, Jay Bernstein, Diamruid Costello, twenty others;
Jacques Rancière, excerpts

Day 3:

Seminar lecture: Theorizing the Body in Contemporary Visual Art

Theme: This is a survey, completed for a course I taught in spring 2010, of current attempts to write theories of the represented body in art.

Introduction and chapters 1 and 2 of Pictures of the Body, revised edition (this edition is unpublished)

Seminar lecture: Concepts of Documentary Photography

Theme: This is a survey of theories of documentation and documentary photography, presented in Princeton and in Oslo last year; it is an attempt to assess current projects

Reading: TBA (no reading necessary)

Books, vita, unpublished texts:
Uploaded texts:
Theory conferences in Chicago:
Conferences in China:

GSCSA is a project of the EU Structural Funds