CFP: [20th] Art in Public Spaces @ Cultural Studies Assn Conf NYC 22-24 May 2008

full name / name of organization: 
Kelly Dennis
contact email: 

The Visual Culture Division invites submissions for the Sixth Annual Meeting of the Cultural
Studies Association (U.S.) to be held on the campus of NYU in Greenwich Village, in New York
City, May 22-24, 2008.

Deadline: October 22, 2007

Art in Public Spaces

Public art, particularly in the form of monuments, has a centuries-old history, one traditionally
associated with civic and state idealsâ€"ideals that were increasingly subverted in the post-
revolutionary era by the destruction of extant monuments and the erection of anti-monuments.
Urbanization provided an important backdrop to the development of the public spaces of
modernism, enabling as it did the flourishing of mass culture and mass media. As the nature and
function of public space continued to shift over the course of the twentieth century, so did the
meaning of “public” and of “art” in those spaces.

>From Vladimir Tatlin’s Monument to the Third International to Maya Lin’s Vietnam Memorial; and
from Spencer Tunick’s Naked States to Creative Time’s Panasonic-funded The 59th Minute: Video
Art on the Times Square Astrovision, not only have the role and function of art in public spaces
changed, so has the definition of public art’s “social responsibility.” As the rhetoric of
globalization increasingly de-emphasizes the city in favor of the flows of capital, information,
and identity, what is meant by “public space” is less clear as the boundaries between public,
private, and corporate space are increasingly blurredâ€"if indeed they ever really were secure.
Theories of “public space” now often include not only the “virtual” public space of, for example,
Second Life, but, more problematically, even the “private spaces” now made public on the
Internet via webcams and surveillance.

In the face of Robert Smithson’s “non-sites,” of controversy over Richard Serra’s Tilted Arc, of
graffiti gone high art, and of home videos gone “viral,” how are we to understand the ways that
the art and visual culture of public spaces intersects with or redefines social responsibility today?
Can we even talk about “public space” or “public art” anymore? What, if anything, is lost or
gained by the redefinition of these terms?

Topics might include, but are certainly not restricted to the following:

• The nomadism of site-specific art characterizing encounters between local and global
artists characterizing biennales of the last decade
• The AIDS quilt
• The ongoing destruction of traditional monuments such as the Bamiyan Buddhas by the
Taliban in Afghanistan and that of Saddam Hussein by US troops
• Graffiti art, street art, tagging, web graffiti, hacking
• Homelessness and private space in public
• Public space and invasion of privacy
• Surveillance in public and self-surveillance in private

Please submit via email a 500-word abstract of a 15-20 minute paper proposal, including name,
department, and institutional affiliation, email address, and one-page CV by October 22 to:

Kelly Dennis
Chair, CSA Visual Culture Division
Department of Art and Art History
830 Bolton Rd U-1099
University of Connecticut
Storrs, CT 06269-1099

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Received on Mon Sep 10 2007 - 12:52:43 EDT