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2015 History of Art Symposium: The Things You Own End Up Owning You: Art in the 1990s

Saturday, October 24, 2015
4:00 AM
U-M Museum of Art, Helmut Stern Auditorium, 535 S. State, Ann Arbor

View the conference schedule.

This symposium explores art in the 1990s from a variety of different perspectives. Held in connection to the exhibition "Come As You Are: Art of the 1990s" at UMMA, it features 8 internationally renowned scholars, curators, and artists.

As was the case in the 1980s, contemporary art in the 1990s continued to diversify itself in terms of medium, materiality, and concept.  And, like before, many artists concerned themselves with “identity,” the social and libidinal construction of what was formerly called the “subject.”  But even more intensely than before, artists began to engage with digital technologies, including photography, video, computers, and the Internet; and through these media, a new fluidity, immersiveness, and interest in the world and politics entered art.  In addition, the art world globalized during the 1990s, its conversation growing to include a variety of perspectives that previously had not been heard.

Symposium participants have been selected to represent the diversity and range of art in the 1990s.  They will include both those who came of age in the 1990s as well as those whose professional careers took root amidst the struggles over multiculturalism, freedom of expression, and personal choice in the 1980s.  Accordingly, this symposium is intended to historicize the visual art of the 1990s by placing it within a longue durée of multiple, overlapping filaments whose implications are only just being realized today.


Phong Bui, "Who's Afraid of Ai Weiwei"
Artist, writer, independent curator, and co-founder, editor-in-chief, and publisher of the Brooklyn Rail, a free monthly arts, culture, and politics journal.

Huey Copeland, "Dark Matters"
Associate professor of art history and associate dean for academic affairs, the Graduate School, Northwestern University

Holly Hughes, "Dyke Interrupted”

Performance artist and playwright, professor of art and design, theatre and drama at the University of Michigan

Suzanne Hudson, “After Endgame”
Associate professor of art history and fine arts, University of Southern California

Lane Relyea, “From Picture Reading to Information Handling”

Associate professor, art theory and practice, Northwestern University

Alexandra Schwartz, "Curating the 90s”
Curator of contemporary art, Montclair Art Museum

Eve Sussman, "Who has enlarged this hole?"
Artist and filmmaker, Rufus Corporation

John Tain, "Outside In, Inside Out"

Curator of modern and contemporary art, collections development, Getty Research Institute

Presented by the U-M Department of History of Art with support from U-M Museum of Art, Office of Research, Institute for the Humanities, Rackham Graduate School, and College of Literature, Science and the Arts.