CFP: [General] Artists' Writings 1750-present

full name / name of organization: 
Linda Goddard

Artists’ Writings 1750-present

Courtauld Institute of Art, 6-7 June 2009

Despite Matisse’s warning that ‘he who wants to dedicate himself to painting should start by
cutting out his tongue’, artists in the modern period have frequently expressed themselves in
writing (whether memoir, fiction or theory). This conference will ask what motivates artists to
write, how they view the relation between their visual and textual practice, and how they use
writing to manipulate or challenge the public reception and critical interpretation of their work.
Challenging the myth of the visual artist as an intuitive anti-intellectual, it will demonstrate the
extent and diversity of artists’ contributions to modern literature and criticism in various
languages. It will also investigate how scholars interpret these texts: are they works of art in
themselves or simply evidence about the artist’s life and craft? Do they conceal as much as they
reveal? How has the role and perception of artists’ writings changed over time?

Topics could include, but are not limited to:

Questions of genre
Public versus private writing
Authorship, authority and intention
Writing as justification / explanation / polemic
Writing as obfuscation
Self-expression versus silence
Fact and fiction
The politics of identity (ethnicity, gender, sexuality)
Travel writing
Ekphrasis / transposition d’art / synaesthesia
Interchange and rivalry between the arts
The artist as critic
Artists’ interviews
Public lectures, instruction and guidance
Manifestos and treatises
Text-based art works and artists’ books
Writing and visuality
Writing and performance

Contributions are invited from art historians, literary scholars and artists. Please send proposals
(max 300 words) for presentations of 20 minutes to by 15
September 2008

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Received on Mon Jun 09 2008 - 08:12:29 EDT