[artinfo] Conference and call for papers: "The transhistorical museum: objects, narratives & temporalities"

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Fri Oct 2 00:24:03 CEST 2015

Conference: "The transhistorical museum: objects, narratives & temporalities"

Day 1: 13 November 2015
Frans Hals Museum / De Hallen Haarlem
the Netherlands

Day 2: 25 February 2016 
Museum M


Info on ticketing, program and speakers will be posted to our websites soon.

Frans Hals Museum / De Hallen Haarlem (the 
Netherlands) and Museum M (Leuven, Belgium) are 
currently developing a research project on the 
notion of "transhistoricity" (or 
"cross-historicity") in curatorial practice 
within the museum field. The conference "The 
transhistorical museum: objects, narratives & 
temporalities," is an effort to bring together 
different perspectives (museological, curatorial, 
theoretical) on the subject of transhistoricity, 
in order to critically map this domain. It 
aspires to both trace its genealogies in existing 
theory and practice, and to present new ideas 
with regards to questions like: Can a 
transhistorical approach to exhibition making or 
collection display produce relevant new insights 
into the specific qualities of art objects, by 
manoeuvring them into unchartered 
contexts-historically, materially, and 
ontologically? What can we learn from historical 
artworks, when we study them through the lens of 
contemporary artistic production-or vice versa? 
How do we read art history forward into the 
present, and use recent practice as a vantage 
point from which to revise the past? 

Over the course of two days (13 November 2015 in 
Haarlem, and 25 February 2016 in Leuven), we will 
examine the ways in which curatorial, 
institutional and artistic practice relate to the 
notion of transhistoricity, and discuss and 
challenge museological concepts like "the 
encyclopaedic museum" and "the Wunderkammer." The 
two-day symposium will bring together an 
international roster of theorists, art 
historians, curators, and artists, from the 
fields of art history and philosophy. The 
symposium will present keynote lectures, case 
studies, papers and panel discussions. A 
publication is planned for the fall of 2016.

As Hal Foster notes, scholarly movement across 
different historical fields is hardly new: for 
example, even before the First World War, Wilhelm 
Worringer connected German Expressionism to the 
Northern Gothic tradition; between the wars, 
Meyer Schapiro moved easily between abstract 
painting and Romanesque sculpture; and after the 
Second World War, Leo Steinberg wrote with equal 
insight on 20th-century innovators like Picasso, 
Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns, and Old 
Masters like Michelangelo, Caravaggio and 
Velázquez. This traffic, as Foster explains, is 
busier than ever before, with art historians such 
as Hans Belting, Horst Bredekamp and Georges 
Didi-Huberman at work on various subjects from 
the premodern to the postmodern.

Since the turn of this century, we have moreover 
witnessed a significant expanse in the field of 
transhistorical exhibition practice: a diverse 
range of curatorial efforts in which objects and 
artefacts from various periods and art historical 
and cultural contexts are combined in display, in 
order to question and expand traditional 
museological notions like chronology, context, 
and category. Such experiments in transcending 
art historical boundaries can potentially result 
in both fresh insights into the workings of our 
entrenched historical presumptions, and provide a 
space to reassess interpretations of individual 
objects in relation to their contexts and 

We are pleased to announce a call for papers, 
that will offer the opportunity to present a 
paper at the second conference in Leuven, on 25 
February 2016, and/or inclusion in the 
publication scheduled for the fall of 2016. 

Proposals may include subjects like:

-The transhistorical museum: definitions, methods, models
-Artist projects in / with collection displays
-The autonomous artwork vs the exhibition experience
-Curatorial authorship vs art historical scholarship
-The transhistorical art object: relational or withdrawn?

Final entries will be reviewed by a selection 
jury, which will be announced at the first 
conference day in Haarlem (13 November 2015).

Please submit your piece, anywhere from 2,000 to 
6,000 words, with a maximum 250 word abstract and 
full contact information by 10 January 2016, to 
<mailto:papers at franshalsmuseum.nl>papers at franshalsmuseum.nl.

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