Marxism(s) in Art Historiography

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01/31/2020 - 02/02/2020 | Berlin

Marxism(s) in Art Historiography

Conference

Conference organized by the chair of Art History of Eastern Europe (Vert.-Prof. Dr. Katja Bernhardt, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin) in cooperation with the Institute of Art History and Visual Culture (Estonian Academy of Arts, Tallinn) and the Leibniz Institute for the History and Culture of Eastern Europe (GWZO).

The historical and dialectical materialism of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels provided a complex means of approaching the analysis of social processes that encouraged one to understand and analyse art as a moment integral to these processes. This approach presented an alternative worth taking seriously to art-historical models that had previously dominated discussion; models based on the idea of art as something that developed intrinsically. Nevertheless, it has always been a challenge to adapt Marxist theory for use in art-historical analysis and to link that theory to existing approaches to the subject. For art history, grappling with Marxism meant more than just a need for constant methodological reflection and updating. It was also necessary, and remains necessary, to define the Marxist conception of art itself within the various historical contexts in which it arose. Since Marxist theory aims at achieving social change, applying Marxism has demanded not only that art be set in relation to the social conditions that apply to it, but also to making a critical revision of the history of art and to revealing its social role in the relevant context in each case.

The conference sets out from these starting points. It aims to reflect on the history of Marxist approaches to Art History, hoping to reveal new insights for the wider discipline. It forms the third part in a series of conferences whose task was set as to investigate the history of art history in Eastern European countries formerly under socialist rule. In the wake of the first two conferences, “Art History and Socialism(s) after World War II” (2016, Estonian Academy of Arts, Tallinn) and “Socialist Internationalism and the Global Contemporary. Transnational Art Historiographies from Eastern and East-Central Europe” (2017, GWZO Leipzig), this third conference will make a programmatic break from the geopolitical framework set out up until now. It will thus bring together considerations on Marxist art history that have up until now generally been treated separately in accordance with the political systems within which they arose. We believe that the potentials of and the variations between the various different Marxist approaches to art history – both in relation to the concepts that they contribute to art history methodology and in terms of their socio-political functions – can be elaborated using a comparative approach and can thus be subjected to a differentiated critique. The historical beginning of the period for our observations is set roughly around 1945. We would like observations to extend into the period after 1989 and all the way up until the present day, so that we can include in our reflection the response made to what was a fundamentally transformed political situation.

Information on participating / attending:
Free registration under marxisms.art.history@hu-berlin.de until 15th January 2020

Date:

01/31/2020 - 02/02/2020

Registration deadline:

01/15/2020

Event venue:

Humboldt-University Berlin
Main Building – Unter den Linden 6, Senatssaal
Berlin
Berlin
Germany

Target group:

Scientists and scholars

Relevance:

international

Subject areas:

Art / design, History / archaeology, Social studies

Types of events:

Conference / symposium / (annual) conference

Entry:

01/10/2020

Sender/author:

Virginie Michaels

Department:

Presse- und Öffentlichkeitsarbeit

Event is free:

yes

Language of the text:

English

URL of this event: http://idw-online.de/en/event65666


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