On Saturday, March 2, 2019 As part of the symposium Canonicity Revisited, Archaeologies of Knowledge featured talks by Kishwar Rizvi from Yale University, and Claire Grace and Benjamin Chafee, both from Wesleyan University. The symposium was envisioned as a critical interrogation of the problem of canons and canonicity in art history. This subject was a matter of intense debate in the mid 1990s, unfurling across the pages of a number of major publications in the field. By then, revisionist approaches had already begun to transform the discipline’s operating assumptions about what constitutes its canonical texts and artifacts, and about the very meaning and value of canonicity itself. Art history’s reevaluation has only increased in recent years thanks to the crucial work, now decades in the making, of feminist, postcolonial, and queer interventions, and to the development of visual and cultural studies. Nevertheless, it seems to us that canons and their variants in many ways still shape—or perhaps haunt—both the teaching and scholarship of art history. What accounts for their persistence? And how do they bear down on art historical thinking today?
Photos by Richard Marinelli. Click here to view the full album on Flickr.