Circulaire 25

Dear Friends and Colleagues,
Epcaf has now been in existence for four years.

During these past years, our membership has grown to about 160. We created a website with resources for scholars working on European postwar and contemporary art; we organized a number of conference panels in the United States and Europe; we became an affiliated society of the College Art Association (our second panel will take place at the CAA meeting in New York in February); we established an Epcaf book series with an independent publisher in New York (more on this subject will follow); and last but not least, many of us have met new colleagues through Epcaf.

It thus seems timely to rethink Epcaf, its mission, scope and future. We are eager to hear your thoughts: Is the website useful to you? Would you be interested in a directory of members that would list their research interests? Do you find the Circulaires helpful? Would you be interested in an Epcaf conference? What would you like Epcaf to do for you?

Please, send me your ideas and suggestions at Yours sincerely,

Catherine Dossin


The artist’s book & materiality 

Kunstlicht, Volume. 36 (2015) no. 1 Deadline proposals: 17 October 2014

In a world in which our existence seems to be taking place mostly online and our memories and activities are kept ‘within the cloud’ – a new movement has emerged with a tendency towards the ana- logue. ‘Material’ itself has become source of fascination and identification. However, it would be too sim- ple to explain the world in terms of this online and offline divide, rather, its interweaving shows that ma- teriality actually traverses the border of what is called ‘real’ and ‘virtual’. Materiality is by no means an  outdated subject if its renewed attention – for example visible in the domain of the arts with the artist’s book – could be used in addressing these new matters.

When talking about the book as artistic medium, often Ed Ruscha’s Every Building on the
Sunset Strip
(1966) and Dieter Roth’s deconstructed crafty novels are mentioned – however, artists have been part of this process of book production much longer. For example, illuminated

manuscripts in the early Middle Ages were made accessible to the larger public through its
integration of text, image and form. In the 18th century, the artist’s book was represented by
William Blake’s richly illustrated books and in the early 20th century France, the ‘livres d’artiste’
were highly popular. Only the second half of the 20th century presented the artist’s book in the way as we know it nowadays.

If we would address the questions of our times through the lens of a new analysis of the
artist’s book, we should first be asking ourselves if the materiality of the object would actually be
attractive at all compared to the ‘bodyless’ existence of blogs and social media? Or could perhaps
the current focus on the artist’s book represent a romantic counter movement to this development?
Are the freedoms and practicalities of the virtual perhaps overrated, and is an artist therefore
better served with a physical product? These and other questions could direct research on the role and position of the artist’s book in the 21st century.
For the first issue of 2015, Kunstlicht invites academics and artists to relate to the diverse histories of the artist’s book and its role in light of the current digital world. Both reflections and opinions on the form and look of the artist’s book as well as proposals on the meaning of such an object in its current form are welcome. Even so, Kunstlicht will also distance itself to critically reconsider its material form. The artist’s book will be central in a magazine that examines its form as codex – a work of bundled pages – in the light of digital possibilities.

Writers and researchers are asked to send their proposals (200-300 words) including CV to before October 17th 2014. Selected authors will then be asked to
write an article of 2000-3000 words (footnotes not included). Texts in both English and Dutch are wel- come, however, we request Dutch writers to write in their mothertongue. Authors will receive three issues after publication. Kunstlicht does not provide copyright fees. Published articles will be added to the free online archive after three years.


The Geographical Information of Art History: How and Why to Retrace the Circulation of Knowledge and Facts.
Artl@s Bulletin 4, 2 (Fall 2015).

Deadline: December, 8 2014

“Traces by the thousands… it’s the dream of any researcher”, but the way to go from the archives or the field is seldom straightforward: “the physical pleasure of salvaging a lost trace is followed by feelings of perplexity and impotence of not knowing what to do with it”[1]. The spatial turn in humanities has enticed various disciplines to deconstruct the making of artistic facts: studying the circulation of artworks and artists now appears to be a fertile way to uncover the rationales, the constraints and the transgressions that shape the historical geography of art[2]. This ‘return to facts’[3] calls for a closer examination of the methods used to identify, collect, re-assemble and interpret the geographical information produced by artistic activity. To examine the traceability of artistic knowledge and facts is the primary aim of this issue of the Artl@s Bulletin.

Depending on the spatial and chronological framing of their studies, researchers are led to work on a vari- ety of documentary material that can inform on the circulation of art: such traces can be written, pictorial, photographic, cinematographic, institutional, individual, collective, etc. In each case, the traces available can be partial and only give access to specific types of information: origin, extension, destination, net- work, economic model, value, hierarchy, etc. It can consequently hinder or bias our understanding and analysis of artistic facts. The diversity of sources matches the surprising abundance of our conceptual and methodological approaches.

For this issue, we want to confront a wide range of sources (catalogues, institutional archives, photo- graphs, interviews, etc.), methodologies (qualitative, quantitative, comparative, multi-situated, carto- graphic, etc.) and areas of investigation (careers, movements, markets, etc.) in order to highlight the piv- otal and problematic role of traceability in the spatial study of art. Contributors from all the disciplines involved in the spatial turn are invited to submit essays that address one or several of the following ques- tions:

● Who produces the traces of art history? Who inscribes art in space? How does that ‘situ- ate’ our scholarship?

● Does the study of specific traces induce specific observation protocols and analysis?

● How can different methods make traces speak? Can a single trace therefore lead to multi- ple and contradictory conclusions?

● Putting scattered or disparate traces together exposes us to a “biographical illusion”[4] and the risk of artificially creating meaning. In what conditions can we establish the coherence between traces and trajectories or networks?

● What sense can be made out of the distribution of recorded traces through cartographic representations? Can they give substance to diffusionist notions that have riddled art history such as ‘style’, ‘influence’ or ‘school’? Are they able to contradict or nuance dominant models of think- ing such as centre/periphery? Or do they only mirror the situatedness of their recording process?

● Can we index traces in a comparative and global perspective or should the methods relat- ing to traceability take into account the specificities of local inscriptions?

● How far can/should the quest for traceability go? How do linguistic, cultural or material boundaries affect the legibility of traces? How to balance empirical data and theory?

The Artl@s Bulletin is a multi-lingual, peer-review journal co-published by the ENS and the CNRS, devot- ed to spatial and transnational questions in the history of the arts. The journal promises to never separate methodology and history, and to support innovative research and new methodologies. Its ambition is two- fold: 1. a focus on the “transnational” as constituted by exchange between the local and the global or be- tween the national and the international, and 2. an openness to innovation in research methods, particu- larly the quantitative possibilities offered by digital mapping and data visualization. By encouraging scholars to continuously shift the scope of their analysis from the local and the national to the transna- tional, Artl@s Bulletin intends to contribute to the collective project of a global history of the arts. The Artl@s Bulletin is a free online journal supported by Purdue Press. Currently in its fourth year, it has al- ready a great visibility (more than 5,000 single downloads of articles from December, 2013, to July, 2014).

For all queries, feel free to contact Olivier Marcel, the Guest Editor of this special issue, at:
Please submit your article by December 8 at:
For guidelines and publishing policies, see:

The World Goes Pop – Tate Papers 

Deadline: May 1, 2015

In September 2015 Tate Modern will present the exhibition The World Goes Pop, a ground-breaking reas- sessment of pop art. By mapping the pop phenomenon from a global perspective – encompassing pop art produced in the 1960s and 1970s in Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia and the Middle East, as well as Western Europe and the US – the exhibition will seek to challenge historiographic narratives that affirm the hegemonic position of New York art and will explore pop beyond the mainstream.

The often ambivalent and subversive nature of these global manifestations of pop is of particular im- portance. Reacting to the growing dominance of the American post-war economy and media around the world, pop art sometimes took the form of a destabilising reversal of the normative messages associated with American mass culture and consumerism. This approach was effectively and memorably put to use by feminists, political groups and independence movements in order to simultaneously critique the he- gemony of the West while drawing on its aesthetic mass appeal and graphic clarity. By surveying these global engagements with pop, the exhibition will offer an opportunity to re-examine pop’s origins and pol- itics, as well as question its existence and significance as a global movement.

To accompany this exhibition, Tate Papers aims to publish a range of scholarly articles addressing pop as a truly global phenomenon.

Questions and issues that may be addressed in the papers include:

  • How did national traditions and differing social and political contexts inform local manifestations of pop art? How did these manifestations cohere and/or differ from one another? Case studies may include (but are not limited to) Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Mali, Nigeria, France, Spain, Ger- many, Belgium, Czech Republic, Poland, the former Yugoslavia, Slovenia, Russia, Iran, China and Japan.
  • How did pop art reinforce or undermine conceptions of gender in these different contexts?
  • Was pop art an international language and if so what were its defining traits?
  • How could pop art aestheticise commodity culture and yet be a tool for political opposition? How
    could these two conditions co-exist in different settings and to what extent did they influence or
    impair each other?
  • How can we define the reciprocal influence between pop art and manufacturing and technology,
    news media, and mass communications?
  • What was the relationship of pop art to performance and film?
    Tate Papers is an online, peer-reviewed research journal that publishes scholarly articles on subjects that reflect Tate’s collection, exhibition programme and activities as an art museum.
    If you are interested in submitting an article, please contact the Managing Editor, Christopher Griffin, at
    Please note that articles should be c. 4,000–8,000 words in length and written in English. Articles accept- ed for publication following peer review will be published in the autumn issue of Tate Papers in 2015. Further information about the journal and the submission process can be found here:
    Pop Europe?
    Wolverhampton Art Gallery, December 2, 2014 Deadline: Oct 3, 2014
    In conjunction with Wolverhampton Art Gallery’s exhibition POP EUROPE!
    This symposium reviews the idea of Pop Art existing beyond Britain and America, addressing the issues concerning the geographical confinement of Pop Art. How did pop culture manifest itself artistically in Europe?
    Were there specific cultural parameters that enabled Pop to ferment?
    Exploring the relationship between Pop in Britain, America and Europe, the day aims to re-evaluate the limitations and boundaries.
    We invite proposals for 20-minute papers that explore the theme of Pop Art in Europe. Please send ab- stracts (no longer than 300 words) accompanied by a short biography to Connie Wan at con- by Friday 3 October 2014. Submissions from postgraduate students and researchers working within art history and related disciplines are encouraged.