CONF: Entangled Art Histories between Germany and the United States, 1960-1990: Production, Diffusion, Reception (9-11 Nov, WIELS, Brussels)

While documenta 2 in 1959 allowed the German public to discover Abstract Expressionism as a specifically American art movement, it was not until the early 1960s that a sustained and intense transatlantic dialogue has been established on the artistic, socio-cultural, institutional and economic levels. In the wake of movements such as Fluxus, Pop art, Minimalism and Conceptualism, a dense and extensive international network was gradually set up, involving artists, museums, galleries, curators, critics, and the art market.

Even today’s historiography often tends to view transatlantic relations in hierarchical terms, emphasizing American political, economic, and cultural domination. Instead of thinking of these relationships in terms of influence, preponderance or dependence, the focus will be on the study of interweaving, crossover and interference. In this respect, the theme of this conference is in line with what historians Michael Werner and Bénédicte Zimmermann have defined as an entangled history (histoire croisée). Hence, the objects of research are considered not “only in relation to each other, but also through each other, in terms of relations, interactions, circulation.” With regard to our field of study, this concerns the artists as much as the institutions, the market, the critical and theoretical discourse.

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