The Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C presents "A Long and Tumultuous Relationship: East-West Interchanges in American Art" to take place on October 1-2, 2009. Paper submissions are invited for this symposium, which will address the complicated interactions between American and Asian artists and visual traditions from the eighteenth century to the present. Proposals DUE: Feb. 2, 2009.
"A Long and Tumultuous Relationship"
East-West Interchanges in American Art
October 1-2, 2009
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.
Paper submissions are invited for this symposium, which will address the
complicated interactions between American and Asian artists and visual
traditions from the eighteenth century to the present. Scholars are
encouraged to send in proposals engaging all media of visual art, and
including craft, architecture, and the moving image. Original,
innovative scholarship is sought investigating all manner of artistic
interchanges, including issues of patronage, art markets, and popular
culture, and engaging a wide range of geographic sites where these
exchanges took place.
The title for our symposium stems from the writings of Bert
Winther-Tamaki, a professor at the University of California, Irvine, who
talks in his book Art in the Encounter of Nations about the need to
avoid merely binary understandings of U.S.-Asian cultural exchanges and
to steer clear of expectations that East and West have "core
characteristics." Earlier scholarship often has looked at the Asian
influence on American art as a unidirectional and limited development,
suggesting that Asian culture was unchanging and monolithic while
characterizing American artists as dynamic and original in their ability
to absorb and meld the best of diverse cultures. This symposium aims to
consider instead what Winther-Tamaki calls the "contentious
interdependency" born out of a "long and tumultuous relationship"
between these cultures.
Scholarship is invited that complicates or reimagines the historical
meanings of "East" and "West" as well as terms such as "orientalism"
through the prism of multi-directional cultural exchange. The symposium
will reflect an understanding that the "East" is made up of a wide
variety of countries -- not just Japan and China, whose influence on
American art has been most discussed to date. In addition to high-art
visual exchanges, interdisciplinary explorations of immigration, border
cultures, and transnational flows in popular culture are welcome.
"A Long and Tumultuous Relationship": East-West Interchanges in American
Art is being organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) in
partnership with the Smithsonian's Freer Gallery of Art/Arthur M.
Sackler Gallery and the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program, and
is supported by a generous grant from the Terra Foundation for American
To submit a paper, please send a two-page, double-spaced abstract
(300-500 words) and a short c.v. to East-West Symposium, Smithsonian
American Art Museum, P.O. Box 37012, Victor Building, MRC 970,
Washington D.C. 20013-7012. Proposals may also be submitted via e-mail
Proposals must be received by February 2, 2009. Confirmed speakers will
be required to submit the text of their 20-minute symposium
presentations by September 1, 2009. A final text of the essay with
endnotes will be due by January 5, 2010, for possible publication in the
symposium proceedings. The symposium will be available for viewing in a
simultaneous and, later, an archived webcast.