Emily at the Dallas art conference

Senior art history major Emily attended the College Art Association’s conference in Dallas. The conference brought together art historians, artists and scholars from across the country.

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Archiving the Avante-Garde

After I get out of class, I head downtown to the Adam’s Mark Hotel to catch a 12:30 session titled “Collecting the Avant-Garde: The Institutional Perspective – Taming the Untame.”

It’s the first day of the College Art Association’s annual conference, in which art historians, artists and scholars are grouped in panels to discuss their areas of expertise in the art field. I feel like this conference will illuminate to me what art historians do besides teach. I couldn’t believe how many people from all over the country came to Dallas to attend this conference.

I sit down in the dark conference room after making my way through the crowd of the conference, all of them adorned with nametags.

The panel begins, and the room remains relatively empty. All of the members of the panel prove to be interesting and obviously dedicated to their practice of museum archiving.

The Archives of American Art, the Getty’s archive and MOMA were all represented.

It seems that the top major institutional archivists have been brought together at this panel to discuss how archives come to be and how they are all going through the process of making these archives digital and thus more accessible via websites.

And then an individual collector has a personal archive of thousands of documents – from the art world to rare art publications and correspondence between artists that do not fall under the domains of a museum and will not be digitized and accessible to the public anytime soon.

Also check out this website: www.as-ap.org. It deals with archiving the American avant garde over time.

I take a small break and then meet up with my friend Stephanie to see a panel on Donald Judd. I figured I should listen to this session because I am interning in Marfa this summer at the Chinati Foundation, which was the part-time residence of Donald Judd.

His son Flavin Judd was on the panel and presented a paper that made it evident that he is not as astute as his father was. I mean, how do you live up to a name like “Flavin Judd”? It is the hybrid of two influential minimalist sculptors’ names, which make it possibly the most esoteric name in history.

And then a convoluted art historian talked about Judd in relation to psychoanalytic theory, and to be honest, I don’t think Donald Judd would have liked it at all. This man was talking about Marfa but had never gone himself. How can you be an expert on Donald Judd and have never visited the Chinati Foundation?

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