H.A.D.S.A. pulled off the near-impossible last February. With only 24 hours notice, they were allocated a budget to send three graduate students from the History of Art and Design department to the 2009 CAA conference in Los Angeles. With the start of the conference a day away, they diligently coordinated an essay contest to determine who would take advantage of this fantastic sponsorship. The H.A.D.S.A. officers in the final hours made their decision and three students were granted an expense-paid trip to the west coast and a remarkable professional experience at CAA. Here are their stories first hand.
Nina Accorsini (M.S.)
Being selected to attend the annual College Art Association Conference in Los Angeles was an amazing opportunity. It was a fun and exciting atmosphere with so many interesting people from all over the world gathered for the same purpose, to critically discuss art and art history. The most personally useful talks I heard were in the two part session titled “The New Woman in Art and Visual Culture: An International Perspective.” Women’s new roles in modern culture is of particular interest to me, and these two sessions allowed me to hear ten talks all dealing with the issue. The most interesting thing about it, however, was the truly diverse perspectives each presenter contributed. Each scholar’s research centered on slightly varied periods in history and different nations and cultures, greatly expanding my understanding of how modernity reached different parts of the world and how each culture has dealt with its arrival. The discussion portions of each session were also great as the audience was able to participate with the presenters and the whole panel was able to answer specific questions from their unique points of view. It was fascinating to see how in some areas the research that people are doing overlaps in so many ways, yet in others totally different ideas are being explored. It was a wonderful experience and seeing how much is still left to explore in the field was exciting and challenging.
Cynthia Brenwall (M.S./M.S.)
Looking back on my trip to the annual CAA conference in Los Angeles this February, I am amazed at both the opportunity that HASDA made available to us as well as the amount that I was able to do over the course of an entirely art-filled weekend.
The conference was packed with interesting and insightful sessions given by leaders in our field from around the country ranging from the use of social tagging in museums to a celebration of the 100thanniversary of Italian Futurism.
I had the chance to attend nearly 20 presentations over two days that included an emerging scholar presentation on new theories on Josef Albers *Homage to the Square* and an interesting talk about rethinking use of archives from an art historical perspective given by an archivist from the Getty.
In addition to attending the conference, I had the chance to check out a bit of the Los Angeles art scene by going to the Los Angeles County Museum to see their recent acquisition of Arts & Crafts furniture, the Getty Villa in Malibu and their collection of Greek and Roman art and the impressive Getty with their varied works. A highlight of the trip was the show in the Getty Research Institute titled *Tango with Cows: Book Art of the Russian Avant-garde, 1910-1917. *Finally, the weekend was capped off with a trip to LA’s gallery scene in China Town for a bit of full-on contemporary art before leaving balmy California and heading back to a snow storm in New York.
Charlotte Meyer (M.S./M.F.A.)
During the CAA Conference, I had the opportunity to attend light and space artist Robert Irwin interviewed by Lawrence Weschler, and The Cool School: a Film Screening, (which includes Irwin footage). Both of these events allowed me to further investigate the shift towards perception in my own work, as well as deepen my understanding of Irwin’s relationship to Art History and Contemporary Art.
I also attended several seminars, the most engaging of which was a discussion of the sublime by noted art historians Ivan Gaskell and Kelly Dennis. Subjects included conservation for damaged historical artworks, and Richard Misrach’s photographs of military testing grounds. Kantian theory was invoked to explain the concept of nature’s intervention on our notion of damage. Gaskell asked us to consider repair in a new way, to embrace damage and to treat it as sublime intervention, rather than imposing our current standard of returning the piece to its original state.
As the Conference was held in Los Angeles I was able to visit several museums including The Getty Museum, and Garden, designed by Irwin, and the Fowler museum at UCLA showing the exhibition “Continental Rifts,” which included an emotionally charged video Africa Rifting: Lines of Fire: Namibia/Brazil, 2001 by Georgia Papageorge. I also visited LACMA Museum showing Francis Alys’ Fabiola installation.