Christy at art conference

Christy is a junior majoring in art history, with minors in classical studies and archaeology. This spring she attended College Art Association, a conference that unites a creative community of artists, art historians, art educators, critics, curators and museum professionals.

Hearing and seeing anew

Today is the great finale to an exciting CAA week. I find myself excited for the day’s sessions. I was so eager for today’s session that I had selected them weeks in advance! Despite my anticipation, I find myself exceedingly exhausted from this week’s events. Nonetheless, I attend sessions all day.

Saturday’s mid-day sessions marked a shift from art as objects to a look at performative art. Most eye-opening and unusual was a session entitled “Sound Art.” It was interesting for me to rest my eyes – an art historian’s most useful tool – and allow my ears to take over. I have always wanted to incorporate sound in my study of the visual. This was a very different yet interesting way to look at art.

I leave this last session before the last two papers are read to attend a weekend symposium in honor of SMU’s Dr. Annemarie Weyl Carr. As I snake my way back to campus through rush-hour traffic, I reflect upon my CAA experience.

There is something profound in being surrounded by such a numerous and diverse group of individuals united in their passion and desire for a learned exchange of ideas concerning the subjects of art and art history. How grateful am I to the Art History Department for allowing me to attend these sessions. I feel as though I grew in my knowledge of Art History and was given the opportunity to network and meet with several eminent scholars from across the nation and from abroad. This was an unforgettable experience.

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Discovering new intrigues

Since yesterday’s topics dealt mostly with subjects relating to my independent research, I decide that for these two CAA days, I will sit in on sessions that deal with topics of which I know little.

One of these sessions is titled “Persons of Interest: Locating the Artist in Times of Conflict.” This session explores the role and responses of artists to 20th- and 21st-century military conflicts to locate the identity and locus of the artist.

Of particular interest is a paper presented by Christine Filippone (Rutgers University) concerning the work of Martha Rosler and Carolee Schneemann. Dr. Filippone’s work explores artists’ ambivalence toward military, domestic and entertainment technologies against the backdrop of the Vietnam War and the Cold War. Until now, I have never been exposed to these two artists. I find their juxtaposition of dystopic and utopic approaches to technology and gender fascinating!

This session made me realize what a wonderful opportunity I have in attending the CAA conference, for it has and will continue to allow me to experience new scholarship in areas with which I would have otherwise never had any contact.

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Once in a lifetime for art historians

It is the first day of College Art Association (CAA), a four-day conference where thousands of artists, art professionals and scholars come together to exchange ideas and information in art and the history of art.

For an undergraduate student of Art History, my attendance is an amazing opportunity, considering that over 13,000 artists, art historians, scholars, curators, collectors, educators, art publishers and other visual arts professionals attend. Another 2,000 university art and art history departments, museums, libraries, and professional and commercial organizations hold institutional memberships as well.

Given my interest in ancient art and architecture, this first day of the CAA conference is extremely useful to me because of the session offerings relating to my interests.

A nod to Etruscan art
I leave the SMU campus and arrive at the Adam’s Mark Hotel in downtown Dallas to attend the first of my lecture sessions, titled “Giving Etruscans their Due.” After maneuvering through the spacious yet labyrinthine hallways of the Adam’s Mark, I find my conference room without much difficulty.

After taking my seat, I notice a few familiar faces from campus: Dr. Gregory Warden, who chairs this particular session, and two graduate students in the Art History department. The graduate students and I talk excitedly about what sessions we will go to next as the lights darken and the paneled session concerning Etruscan art commences.

The panel consists of Dr. Jocelyn Penny Small (PhD, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey), Alexandra Carpino (PhD, Northern Arizona University), and Dr. Jennifer Neils (PhD, Case Western Reserve University) among others. The aim of these prestigious scholars is to address the tendency to regard Greeks as the dominant culture in the ancient world, thereby denying the cultural contribution of other cultures such as the Etruscans. Paper topics range widely from analysis of Etruscan architecture to the interpretation of mythological images on domestic implements.

On to Ancient Greek and Roman art
Mid-day I attend an open session on Ancient Greek and Roman art. Highlights include a fascinating re-reading of the Sarpedon Vase by Jennifer Neils. I remember this vase from my very first introductory Art History class and from numerous articles, journals, and textbooks. It was incredibly fascinating to revisit this object in detail.

In this session, I sit with a graduate student who is in the middle of researching this object’s history in the 19th century. We discussed the implications of its history during this session’s break. In those moments and in many to come, I truly feel as though I understand and have experienced the purpose for the CAA conference: a free and open-ended exchange of ideas concerning the arts.

The tale-end of this open session featured the work of several graduate students. As someone who desires to attend a graduate program in ancient art history, I was inspired to see the effort and enthusiasm that each brought to the session.

Meeting scholars
Throughout the day, I am able to make several important contacts with Art History scholars from across the nation. Two of these scholars in particular have authored several scholarly works that serve as the foundational theories for my recent independent research concerning Ancient Greek Art History. What an honor to discuss and receive feedback from these great scholars in the field of Art History!

Back on campus, after the conference ends, I have a long night ahead of me as I research many of the suggestions and new ideas born from my discussions with several scholars.

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