April 2018 AAH [Association of Art Historians] annual conference
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We aim to challenge the deep-seated cultural conventions which disguise and deny the effect that women artists have had on other artists, notably male peers and followers. It is frequently assumed that art practice and innovation are learned by men, from men, and assimilated by women in a way that is reproductive or modified. Despite strikingly equivalent careers, Henry Moore was often presented as mentor to Barbara Hepworth. Pop artist Jann Haworth was co-recipient of a Grammy Award for the design and execution of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper album cover, but until recently both popular and art historical credit has gone to Peter Blake – her then husband. This elimination of female agency makes the careers of even the most recognised women artists appear without consequence, unconnected to wider art historical narratives. More importantly, a cultural map with these crucial links removed provides a threadbare history for everyone.
We’re seeking evidence-based cases-studies of woman artists’ effect on the character or development of the art of others, from anywhere in the world, medieval to modern. The effect could take the form of inspiration, as that of Amrita Sher-Gil in the Bengal Renaissance on contemporary Indian art; pedagogy, as in the case of Edna Manley, founder of and teacher at the Jamaica School of Art; mentorship, as that between Isabel Rawsthorne and a young Eduardo Paolozzi; and studio practice and collaboration, common in Arts and Crafts, photography and performance art. Conversely, women’s artistic effectiveness may be revealed in acts of hostility, appropriation, or re-attribution, as with portraitist Mary Beale. Papers might consider the survival of women’s art and biographies in collections, archives, publishing and exhibitions, and the secondary influence exercised by scholars, collectors and curators in the course of presenting such material.
Discussion will be orientated towards putting women’s work back into context, canons and creative legacies. We invite 250 word abstracts for 20 minutes papers, or short films, or 250 word interventions.