CFP: “A Way/s From Home: Blackness Across Nations” @ CAA2018

The following session is for the 2018 College Art Association Annual Conference in Los Angeles, February, 21 – 24, 2018. Proposals from ACRAH members most welcome.

A Way/s from Home: Blackness across Nations
Chair(s): Julie L. McGee, University of Delaware, mcgee@udel.edu

In 1964, African American writer and artist Allen Polite, living then in Stockholm, organized “10 American Negro Artist[s] Living and Working in Europe” for Copenhagen’s Den Frie, one of the oldest venues for contemporary art in Denmark. Polite included work by Harvey Cropper, Beauford Delaney, Herbert Gentry, Arthur Hardie, Clifford Jackson, Sam Middleton, Earl Miller, Norma Morgan, Larry Potter, and Walter Williams. Polite’s justification for the grouping was poetic if not opaque: “In short, apart from their distinguishing racial features these exhibitors have only this in common: they are all living in Europe at present. And that is natural enough when one considers the unwritten tradition in art history that makes the artist a wanderer, an observer and digestor [sic] of cultures; a restless soul in search of the images and symbols.” Many black artists took up residence in Europe after WWII to study or to live on a semi-permanent basis. Many found both camaraderie and exhibition opportunities with other African American artists living abroad. To what extent they escaped racial discrimination or exchanged one kind for another is debatable: personal, conceptual, and artistic freedoms and external perceptions of blackness are codependent. Disputes over artistic freedom and both real and hypothetical homefront responsibilities haunt this history and artistic practice. Europe’s inconsistent place within a “freedom narrative” illuminates the complexity of blackness and artistic agency on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. This session encourages presentations that revisit, revise, or otherwise creatively engage the problematic of the “expat.”

Please send 250-word proposals, a completed session participation proposal form, and a short academic CV to Julie McGee mcgee@udel.edu by 14 August 2017.

Please consult the guidelines at the end of the CAA Call for Participation (http://www.collegeart.org/pdf/call-for-participation.pdf) for further details.

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Author: Camara Dia Holloway

I am an art historian specializing in early twentieth century American art with particular focus on the history of photography, race and representation, and transatlantic modernist networks. I earned my PhD at Yale University in the History of Art Department. Besides my leadership role as the Founding Co-Director of the Association for Critical Race Art History (ACRAH), I am recognized for my expertise on African American Art, particularly African American Photography, and as a seasoned consultant for exhibitions, museum collections, and symposia/lectures planning.

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