This fall, University of Michigan History of Art graduate students Nick Hartigan, Alice Sullivan, Wendy Sepponen, Jennifer Gear, Ximena Gomez, Allison Martino, Elizabeth Rauh, and Emily Talbot organized "From Bodies to Billboards: Alternative Sites of Display," the 2012 history of art graduate student symposium.

The event, which took place on October 27 at the U-M Museum of Art, built upon recent developments in curatorial practice and museum theory by focusing attention on alternative sites and modes of display. 

"The speakers’ papers together created several interesting talking points on modes of artistic display, which resulted in a very engaging discussion of the reception of artworks, as well a challenge to the concept of how truly 'alternative' a site could be," remarked co-organizer Allison Martino.

The symposium featured five talks by graduate students:

  • Sarah Schaefer, Columbia University, “’Where the Godly Take Their Children’: Exhibiting Gustave Doré’s Christ Leaving the Praetorium”;
  • Emily Cook, Columbia University, “Images, Ornament, and Liminality in the Reliefs of the Ara Pacis Augustae”;
  • Mya Dosch, Graduate Center, The City University of New York, “Magazine Muralist: Diego Rivera and Mexican Folkways, 1926-1927”;
  • Kim Conaty Hollely, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, “Breaking Ground: Avalance Magazine, Agent and Vehicle for the ‘New Forms of Art-Making’”;
  • Christopher Oliver, University of Virginia, “Art Offered as Spectacle: Popular Exhibitions of American Art, 1850-70.”

Mary Coffey, associate professor of art history at Dartmouth College, gave the keynote address, “Museums, Trans-Nationalism, and the Ethno-Geographies of Mexican Folk Art. ” 

"We were so pleased with how the symposium turned out. Each speaker presented original, thought-provoking work that addressed the themes of our symposium in diverse ways," explained Emily Talbot. "The conversation at the end of the day was particularly successful--thanks to the good questions from our audience--and many of the speakers remarked that the feedback from conference attendees helped identify new directions for their various projects."