2009 CAA Symposium in Los Angeles


Concourse Meeting Room 408A, Level 2
Los Angeles Convention Center

Cubes and Anarchy: David Smith, Geometry, and Mid-century Sculpture

Carol S. Eliel, Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Christopher B. Bedford, Wexner Center for the Arts, Ohio State    University

Carol Eliel joined LACMA in 1984 where she is now Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art and Curatorial Coordinator of Exhibitions.  Exhibitions she has organized include:
 Lee Mullican: An Abundant Harvest of Sun (2005)
 L’Esprit Nouveau: Purism in Paris, 1918-1925 (2001)
Annette Messager (1995, co-organized with MoMA)
The Apocalyptic Landscapes of Ludwig Meidner (1989)
—all accompanied by significant catalogues—
SoCal: Southern California Art of the 1960s and 70s from LACMA’s Collection (2007)
Contemporary Projects 2: Los Carpinteros’s Transportable City (2001)
Contemporary Projects 6: Mariko Mori (1998)
She is currently working on Cubes and Anarchy: Geometry in David Smith, slated to open at LACMA in spring 2011.  Carol is also actively involved with acquisitions of modern and contemporary art for LACMA’s permanent collection.
Carol received her B.A. from Yale and her M.A. and Ph.D. from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University.  In 1999 she was named Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government for her dedication to presenting French art to American audiences.  In addition to her work at LACMA she has lectured across the country, has written on a wide variety of subjects ranging from 18th-century French painting to cutting-edge contemporary art, and serves on the board of the Association of Art Museum Curators.

Christopher Bedford, formerly Assistant Curator in the department of Contemporary Art at LACMA, is Curator of Exhibitions at the Wexner Center for the Arts, The Ohio State University.  Current curatorial projects include a retrospective of Chris Burden, a mid-career survey of LA-based artist Mark Bradford’s work, Mixed Signals: Artists Consider Masculinity in Sports (a touring exhibition organized for Independent Curators International), Hardware: Machine Aesthetics in the Digital Age, and Silvia Kolbowski: an inadequate history. 
Along with co-curators Jennifer Wulffson Bedford and Kristina Newhouse, Christopher received the 2008 Fellows of Contemporary Art Curators’ Award for the traveling exhibition Superficiality and Superexcrescence: Surface and Identity in Recent California Art.  He holds a BA in Art History from Oberlin College and is a PhD candidate in Art History at the Courtauld Institute of Art, where he is writing his dissertation on Chris Burden’s early performance work with Dr. Mignon Nixon.
Christopher has published essays, book reviews, editorials and exhibition reviews in The Burlington MagazineArtforum, Artforum.comArt in AmericaTema Celeste, the Sculpture JournalFrieze, The Art BookAfterallOctober and caa.reviews.  He is currently working on edited volumes for Duke University Press and the Sculpture Journal and is on theeditorial board of the Los Angeles-based journal, X-TRA.

Sculpture “as Found”: The Reality of Incongruity
Alexander Potts, University of Michigan
Alex Potts is Max Loehr Collegiate Professor of the History of Art at the University of Michigan. His current research focuses on the artistic culture of postwar Europe and America and on the new understandings of the artist’s project and artistic commitment that emerged both in response to and in reaction against the consumerism of the 1950s and 1960s. In his book on modern theories of sculpture, The Sculptural Imagination, he traced the transformations that took place in conceptions of sculpture from the late Enlightenment through to the Minimalist and post-Minimalist aesthetic of the late capitalist world. He is now carrying out a study of how artists responded to the radically contradictory pressures placed on sculpture in the public sphere in the mid-twentieth century.
His earlier book on Winckelmann, Flesh and the Ideal, examined the ideological and psychic investments that shaped Winckelmann’s highly influential theories on the distinctive beauty and historical evolution of ancient Greek and Roman art.  Potts has published a number of other studies on the fascination with a purified classical ideal that played such a central role in Enlightenment, early Romantic, and fin-de-siècle thinking about the visual arts.


Down David Smith’s Garden Path
Kenneth E. Silver, New York University
Kenneth E. Silver is Professor of Modern Art at New York University, where he received his Bachelor’s Degree. He has also taught at Columbia, Vassar and Yale, from which he received his M.A. and Ph.D. His book, Esprit de Corps: The Art of the Parisian Avant-Garde and the First World War (1989) won the Charles Rufus Morey Award of the College Art Association and the Prix du Livre, from Beaux-Arts magazine, for its French translation (1991). Ken is a Contributing Editor to Art in America magazine and is Adjunct Curator of Art at the Bruce Museum, Greenwich, Connecticut.
An authority on both European and American modern art, Ken is the author of numerous books and catalogues, including JFK and Art (2004); Making Paradise: Art, Modernity and the Myth of the French Riviera (2000); and David Hockney (1994). He has co-curated a series of exhibitions at New York’s Jewish Museum: The Circle of Montparnasse, with Romy Golan, which won a Henry Allen Moe Prize (1985); An Expressionist in Paris: The Paintings of Chaim Soutine with Norman Kleeblatt (1998), which won an International Association of Art Critics award; and, with Carol Ockman, Sarah Bernhardt: The Art of High Drama (2005), which won the Victorian Society of America Exhibition and Catalogue Award. Ken’s exhibition, Paris Portraits: Artists, Friends, and Lovers (2008) closed at the Bruce Museum in January 2009. He is currently organizing “Chaos and Classicism: Art in France, Italy, and Germany, 1918-1936,” to open at the Guggenheim Museum, New York, in fall 2010.

Constructions: Gender Assignment and David Smith’s Statues
David J. Getsy, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
David Getsy is the Goldabelle Finn Distinguished Associate Professor of Art History at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  He is the author of Body Doubles: Sculpture in Britain, 1877-1905 (2004) and editor of Sculpture and the Pursuit of a Modern Ideal in Britain (2004).  In addition, he has published widely on the history of modern sculpture, including recent articles on Rodin for the Revue de l’Art, on John Chamberlain for an anthology for the Chinati Foundation, and on Herbert Read and Clement Greenberg for Sculpture Journal.
He has received fellowships from the Getty Foundation, the Leslie Center for the Humanities at Dartmouth College, and the Kress Foundation.  He has just completed a book manuscript titled Rodin and the Sexual Origins of Modern Sculpture as well as an edited anthology titled From Diversion to Subversion: Games, Play, and Twentieth Century Art.  In 2009-2010, he will be an Ailsa Mellon Bruce Senior Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, where he will be working on a book titled Abstract Bodies in Modern Sculpture, of which this talk is a part.

Labor, Skill, and David Smith
Anne M. Wagner, University of California, Berkeley
Anne Wagner was educated at Smith College, Yale University (BA cum laude 1971), Brown University (MA 1974) and Harvard University (Ph.D. 1980).  Before coming to Berkeley in 1988, she taught in the Department of Art History, Vassar College and in History, Theory and Criticism, MIT.  Her books include Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux: Sculptor of the Second Empire (1986), Der Tanz: Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux(1989), Three Artists (Three Women):  Modernism and the Art of Hesse, Krasner, and O’Keeffe (1996) and most recently Mother Stone:  The Vitality of Modern British Sculpture (2005).
Among her recent published essays are “de Kooning, Drawing and the Double, or Ambiguity Made Clear,” in Willem de Kooning:  Tracing the Figure (2002);  “Kara Walker: “The Black-White Relation,” in Kara Walker:  Narratives of a Negress (2003); and  “Splitting and Doubling:  Gordon Matta-Clark and the Body of Sculpture,” Grey Room 14, Fall 2004.  Soon to appear are studies of the implications of Eva Hesse’s titles, the spatial politics of Dan Flavin’s installations, and the ambiguities of Bruce Nauman’s attitudes towards sculpture.   She has also contributed essays and reviews to The Threepenny Review and Artforum.