AHAA’s Symposium on American Art

More than 100 professors, graduate students, independent scholars, and museum professionals from across the country and as far away as Paris, France came to St. Francis College for the Association of Historians of American Art’s (AHAA) first independent symposium, “Current Research in American Art” from Oct. 7 to 9.

Attendees heard a wide variety of papers on American art and visual culture, then went out across the city to take in artwork at places including the Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Historical Society, the Renee and Chaim Gross Foundation and the Michael Rosenfeld Gallery.

“We’ve heard nothing but great things about the event,” said symposium co-Chair and St. Francis College Fine Arts Professor Jennifer Wingate. “It was a unique opportunity to hear so many strong papers and reflect on the range of current research in the field. A lot of people want us to host a symposium again next year.”

Michael Harris, Associate Professor at Emory University, delivered the keynote address, “Etymologies and Black Love: Another View of African American Art,” while eight additional sessions with themes ranging from “Folk/Outsider/Self-taught art” to “Sculpture” to “Colonial/17th -18th Century” were also offered. A lightning round of 12 graduate students summarizing their research and a screening of the movie Rouge Ciel, about Art Brut (Outsider Art), were also highlights of the weekend.

“Brooklyn is a wonderful place to explore important American art collections that are right here in our backyard, not to mention the dozens of museums and galleries throughout New York City,” added Professor Wingate. “It proves again, St. Francis’s commitment to the arts and also American Studies.”

The Association of Historians of American Art (AHAA) is a membership organization and an affiliated society of the College Art Association (CAA). AHAA was founded in 1979 in response to the need for an advocacy group that would promote scholarship in American art.

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