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CFP: Byzantium/Modernism: Art, Cultural Heritage, and the Avant-Gardes
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4/12/2011 to 9/1/2011
When: 4/12/2011
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Art, Cultural Heritage, and the Avant-Gardes

20-22 April 2012, Yale University

Keynote Speakers:
Marie-José Mondzain, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
Robert S. Nelson, Yale University

The Byzantine Empire cultivated a thriving community of theologians and
philosophers that debated the ontological, phenomenological, and broader
epistemic foundations of the image, upon which the Empire and the Church
grounded their physical and metaphysical rule. Since the nineteenth century,
artists, critics, and scholars have utilized the Byzantine as a manner of
articulating the development of modernity and its image-world. For example, in
1958, Clement Greenberg famously remarked on the formal homologies between
Byzantine art and contemporary abstraction. Before him, Roger Fry coined the
term "Proto-Byzantines" to describe the Post-Impressionists, and Alfred Barr
described Byzantine art and its iconic heritage as fundamental to modern art.
The connection between Byzantium and modernity, however, is usually relegated
to passing references or mere formal parallels, lacking a sustained
consideration and archaeology of its conceptual grounding.

What does modern art have to gain from Byzantium? How can Byzantine philosophy
enrich our understanding of the modern and contemporary image? The goal of this
conference is twofold: First, to investigate the prolific interest in Byzantine
art at the turn of the century and its effects on the historical Avant-Gardes
in art, architecture, archaeology, and visual culture to the present; second,
to articulate how Byzantine art and image philosophy can contribute to modern
and contemporary visual culture. The intention is to produce an intellectual
history of art from the nineteenth century to the present that uses
Byzantium/Modernism as a paradigmatic fissure for the co-identification of said

The core of this analysis is a shared visual heritage with a complex social
life, layered with political, economic, social, religious, and ethnic turmoil
that indexes the complex processes of orientalization and modernization in
America, Western and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. Papers are
encouraged from all relevant disciplines, which further the investigation of
modern and contemporary visual worlds through the question of the Byzantine.

Please send a 500-word abstract and CV to by 1 September

Organizers: Roland Betancourt and Maria Taroutina

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