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 AlberroBarnard College and Columbia University
Okwui EnwezorSan Francisco Art Institute
Peter GalisonHarvard University
Andrea GiuntaCollege of Fine Arts, University of Texas at Austin
Boris GroysNew York University
Caroline Jones, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Keith MoxeyBarnard and Columbia University
Joshua ShannonUniversity of Maryland
David SummersUniversity of Virginia
Anne WagnerUniversity of California, Berkeley
Wu HungUniversity of Chicago