Donnerstag, 25. November 2010

Graduate Symposium Holland-America

A little plug for a graduate symposium organized by Wouter Davidts:

When Donald Judd had his first solo show at the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, The Netherlands in 1970, a local newspaper headlined that the American artist was “glad that the whole European tradition was over and done away with.” Judd belonged to a generation that, in the wake of Abstract Expressionism, wanted to change the perception of modern American art as a meagre imitation of the European avant-garde and resolutely claimed a leading position for American art.

The two-day symposium Holland-America aims to investigate the artistic relationship and dialogue between Europe and the United States in 1950s and 1960s. While this liaison is all too often portrayed as one of rivalry and competition, epitomized by the waning of Paris and the rising of New York, it has equally well been one of association and exchange, taking place in then expanding international networks of artists, critics, and curators. The symposium Holland-America will focus on the role and position of the Netherlands played in this transatlantic exchange.

Whereas the Stedelijk Museum already showed important exhibitions of American abstract art in the 1950s, it was only with the advent of minimalist and conceptual art in the 1960s that other major Dutch museums welcomed the new art from the United States with large survey shows (New Shapes of Color, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, 1966; Compass 3: Painting after 1945 from New York, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, 1967; Minimal Art, Haags Gemeentemuseum, The Hague, 1968) and major one man exhibitions for key protagonists such as Judd, Robert Morris, Carl Andre and Dan Flavin. At the same time, Dutch artists increasingly found their way to the US.

The symposium Holland-America aims to unravel the complex history of the distribution and the reception of American art and artists in the Netherlands in the first two decades after World War II. Our aim is to investigate the interchange between two countries with a shared social and economical history yet with distinct art historical traditions. Who were the key players in the transatlantic traffic of people, ideas and artworks? Which exhibitions or art events could be identified as major moments of intercontinental exchange?

We seek papers that unpick dominant narratives of postwar European and American art history and uncover new perspectives and insights into the complex relationship between art, artists, and art institutions within the Netherlands and the United States; papers with a historical, theoretical, or critical focus as well as case studies qualify.

The symposium Holland-America takes place on 17 & 18 February 2011 within the context of the exhibition Abstract USA 1958-1968. In the Galleries at the Rijksmuseum Twenthe (Enschede, NL; It is organized by the Department of Art History, VU University Amsterdam ( and the Netherlands Institute for Art History (RKD; Please submit an application by January 5, 2011 to Wouter Davidts (w.davidts[at] and Jesse van Winden (jessevanwinden[at]

Graduate students working at any level—from MA to PhD candidates—are eligible. Candidates should include the following in their applications: curriculum vitae (maximum two pages), an abstract (maximum 350 words), and the name of a faculty adviser who will review the final paper and provide support in preparing the presentation. The abstract should be printed in eleven-point font, double-spaced, with margins no smaller than one inch. Papers must be written and presented in English.

Image: One of Frank Stella's Irregular Polygons, from Abstract USA 1958-1968. In the Galleries at Rijksmuseum Twenthe.

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