The Annual Conference of the Art Association of Australia and New Zealand (AAANZ)
Session: INSTITUTIONAL MODERNISM: PUBLIC ART AND ARCHITECTURE
- Session chairs: Janina Gosseye & Hannah Lewi
In 1948 Siegfried Giedion suggested that ‘no real civilization exists which did not fulfil the irrepressible longing for institutions where … a kind of broader [community] life could develop’. He continued: ‘In different periods these institutions [have] had different aims, but whether they were called the Greek gymnasion [sic.], the agora, the Roman Thermae or fora, the guilds, the medieval market places or cathedrals, they all contributed in developing human values.’ The Swiss architectural historian and exponent of modernism thereby added to his 1943 argument that ‘people desire buildings that represent their social, ceremonial, and community life.’
In the second half of the 20th century, as Australia progressively suburbanized, government and religious institutions responded. An impressive array of new institutional buildings were commissioned and built which were deemed capable of shaping citizens’ ‘social, ceremonial and community life’: municipalities built kindergartens, local public libraries, civic centres and swimming pools; state governments built campuses for mass tertiary education; and the church – seeking to reinvigorate worship – invested in modern church buildings. According to Giedion a close collaboration between architects, landscapers, painters and sculptors was required to ensure that these buildings would function as true civic centres, where the artist’s talent ‘could touch the great public [and] form the people.’As a result, many of these new institutional spaces featured public artworks that sought to engage the community in interactive and expressive ways.
This session seeks proposals that critically re-examine how public art developed in conjunction with a new wave of ‘institutional’ modernism in Australia in the second half of the 20th century, and the ways in which this intended symbiosis between architecture and art was thought capable of representing and indeed coercively forming a new kind of humanist and civil society.
Send abstracts to: j.gosseye[at]uq.edu.au
Proposals should consist of the following:
- Completed session participation proposal form, or an email that provides the required information.
- A letter or email briefly outlining expertise and interest in the topic of the session and the conference theme.
- An abstract of the proposed paper, of no more than 400 words.
- A brief cv (last 5 years/ one page maximum).