I skip class to attend the second day of the conference. For some reason, I feel like it’s worth it for me to see as many sessions as I can today, plus the book fair started today, in which a lot of art books from prominent publishers are cheaper than any other place I could find them.
I’m trying to start an art book collection, slowly because art books are expensive. So I was excited about the prospect of art books marked down. I knew I was a nerd when my friend and I were walking through the different booths of Yale University Press and MIT Press gawking at the prices and different books. I ended up buying two books: one on photographer Cindy Sherman and the other on video art.
“The Cultural Patrimony in Iraq” was the first panel I attended at 9:30 in the morning. I rode the Dart to avoid traffic and parking problems downtown. I timed the Dart, and it took exactly 5 minutes to get downtown, and it dropped me off right in front of the Adam’s Mark Hotel.
The main speaker and ex-director of the Iraqi museum could not make it to the panel. But the other speakers discussed implications of looting and destruction of museums, archives and architecture in Iraq, especially in Baghdad.
It seems like a really desperate situation over there, but I found really interesting all of the photographs these speakers had of the city of Baghdad documenting buildings, destruction and changes since the 2003 invasion. Donald Rumsfield was quoted saying, “Freedom is untidy” in reference to the imminent destruction of Iraq.
In the afternoon, I end the day by attending a session titled “Those Were the Days: New York in the 1970s” in which the panel was a hodgepodge of art historians talking about feminist video collectives, graffiti art of Matta-Clark and modernist paintings by Jo Baer. This panel seemed to have no direction or anything in common except they occurred in the same place and decade.