Come as You Are: Art of the 1990s, History of Art's 2015 fall 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 the U-M Museum of Art (Oct 17 - Jan 31, 2016), it features internationally renowned scholars, curators, and artists. The department is especially pleased to welcome back alumnus Alexandra Schwartz (PhD 2004) curator of contemporary art at the Montclair Art Museum, who curated  Come as You Are, the "first major American museum survey to examine the art of this pivotal decade in its historical context." 

About the symposium: 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.

Symposium Participants

Huey Copeland, associate professor of art history and associate dean for academic affairs, Northwestern University

Suzanne Hudson, associate professor of art history and fine arts, University of Southern California

Holly Hughes, performance artist and playwright, professor of art and design, theatre and drama, University of Michigan

Lane Relyea, associate professor and chair, Department of Art Theory & Practice, Northwestern University

Alexandra Schwartz, curator of contemporary art, The Montclair Art Museum

Eve Sussman, artist

John Tain, curator of modern and contemporary art, collections development, The Getty Research Institute

Symposium Organizers

Matt Biro, professor of history of art and chair, University of Michigan

Joan Kee, associate professor of history of art, University of Michigan