Art/Work: Labour in Modern and Contemporary Art

This session invites papers that explore the intersections between labour and art in Western and non- Western art from the late 19th century to the present. Developments over the last several decades, such as the introduction of post-Fordism and precarious labour, the rise of the artist and academic as cultural workers in the New Economy, and the 2008 financial crisis, have afforded an opportunity to re-examine labour in/as art. Contemporary projects by Santiago Sierra, Steve McQueen, Ai Weiwei, and others, demonstrate a sustained interest in labour as a subject of art. Furthermore, there is a need to examine these practices in a historical context, where the preoccupation with labour can be traced back to the elevation of the working class in the paintings of the French Realists, or to American artists’ participation in labour unions and WPA projects during the New Deal era. Papers may focus on individual works, artists or movements, or may provide a cross-cultural or cross-historical analysis. Possible topics include, but are not limited to: images of labour in art, artists who position themselves as workers, artistic interventions into sites of work and labour, and artists’ involvement in labour unions.

Please submit a proposal to the session chair that includes: name of individual submitting the paper and their email contact, paper title; abstract (150-word maximum); keywords; and a brief curriculum vitae (300-word maximum) that specifies their rank and institutional affiliation (if applicable). Session Chair: Meghan Bissonnette, Valdosta State University: mlbissonnette[at]