March 31, 2016

Slought Foundation

This talk will consider Joan Mitchell’s paintings from the late 1950s as part of a larger project on the global persistence of abstract approaches to artistic form circa 1960. In light of the pop, minimal, and other literal art that would soon displace abstract painting in American and European galleries, Mitchell’s work can seem narrow—nostalgically bound to an alignment of feeling with material, coherent central structures, and distanced pictorial space. But how might we understand her to be building upon an unfinished conversation, historically dominated by men , stalled in "all-overness," about what was necessary for transformative sociality to go forward within the still relatively new structures of modern life? 

Elise Archias is Assistant Professor of Art History at the University of Illinois, Chicago and currently a fellow at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Her book The Concrete Body—Yvonne Rainer, Carolee Schneemann, Vito Acconci will be released by Yale University Press in Fall 2016.

Event sponsored by Professor Kaja Silverman’s Mellon Foundation Distinguished Achievement Award and the Department of the History of Art, University of Pennsylvania. Free and open to the public.