Clark Conference : "The fetish a(r)t work: african objects in the making of european art history 1500–1900"

La Clark Conference qui a pour thème The fetish a(r)t work: african objects in the making of european art history 1500–1900 se déroulera au Clark art institute, les 19 et 20 octobre 2023, elle est coordonnée par Anne Lafont (CRAL/CEHTA).

This conference convenes scholars across the humanities who examine the making and “invention” of African art in European discourse. The presentations will delve into diverse writings on African objects and interrogate various orientations which transformed these objects from ritual artifacts and fetishes to works on the art market and held in private collections and public museums. Discussion will be grounded in the texts and practices of the early modern period (1500 to 1900), encompassing sources as varied as global art history, natural history, travel literature, ship inventories, African geography, comparative religion texts, sales and private collection catalogs, as well as technical treatises.

In short, we will ask: How did encounters with African objects generate the redefinition of art for the discipline? A central thesis of this conference is that encounters with African art, objects, and ritual were central to the formation of the discipline and writing of art history. While this topic has been addressed in the twentieth century, we believe that this history has a longer genealogy, and we aim to unfold the multivalent ways in which African objects and beliefs structured concepts of art, aesthetics, economics, and value. This conference will thus be an opportunity to integrate known encounters between the African object and Western episteme, but also, on a fundamental level, to explore the plasticity of a discipline in the process of inventing itself at the time of colonial expansion.

The conference will not be recorded or live-streamed.

Arts, Visuel

Informations pratiques

  • Jeudi 19 octobre 2023 - 09:00 - Vendredi 20 octobre 2023 - 19:00
  • The Clark art institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts