Contemporaneity in the History of Art


This fall’s workshop convened by Terry Smith focused on the challenge of seeing contemporary art from historical perspectives, while at the same time revisiting the art of the past with an eye to the contemporaneities present within it. This ostensible paradox might seem to promise an enriched approach to the entire history of art. Looking directly at the present, we might ask whether or not contemporary conditions have reshaped our conception of “the world,” and thus our conception of the currents manifest in global contemporary art. Are the evident interconnections between each region, people, city, even locality in the world today sufficient to enable us to speak of a new, contemporary phase in the “world” history of art?

Participants included Alex Alberro (Barnard College and Columbia University), Okwui Enwezor (San Francisco Art Institute), Peter Galison (Harvard University), Andrea Giunta (College of Fine Arts, University of Texas at Austin), Boris Groys (New York University), Caroline Jones (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Keith Moxey (Barnard and Columbia University), Joshua Shannon (University of Maryland), David Summers (University of Virginia), Anne Wagner (University of California, Berkeley), Wu Hung (University of Chicago).