Today art historians typically understand constructivism to be limited to Soviet cultural production from the years following the October Revolution. However, in the 1960s, the taxonomy was far more flexible and referred to artists of various generations and nationalities. George Rickey’s widely read Constructivism: Origins and Evolution (1967) groups together all manner of works that are geometric in form, modular in construction, and often kinetic. Major “constructivist” exhibitions, like the Albright-Knox’s Plus by Minus: Today’s Half Century (1968) and MoMA’s The Machine as Seen at the End of the Mechanical Age (1968), showed works by contemporary artists alongside those of the historical avant-garde. Beyond the US, David Medalla and Paul Keeler viewed the Latin American artists in their London-based Signals Gallery (1964-66) as heirs to the constructivist tradition too. Naum Gabo (more than Aleksandr Rodchenko or Vladimir Tatlin) was cast as the movement’s key progenitor; artists who might seem worlds apart now—from Lygia Clark to Larry Poons to Hans Haacke—formed part of a common field. Building on Maria Gough’s “Frank Stella is a Constructivist” (2007) and Hal Foster’s “Some Uses and Abuses of Russian Constructivism” (1990), this panel will importantly flesh out scholarship. Contributors will explore alternative perspectives on cultural production in the 1960s (and after) in order to enrich understandings of twentieth-century art. What neglected connections can transnational constellations of “constructivism” reveal? What are the implications of adopting and adapting of “Soviet”-coded forms during the Cold War? How might “constructivism” enable a redrawing of art world boundaries?

Please direct inquiries and submit proposals (due August 14, 2017) to John Tyson using the following address:  J-TYSON[at]NGA.GOV.  

  1. Completed session participation proposal form, located at the end of the CAA CFP brochure. Make sure your name appears EXACTLY as you would like it listed in the conference program and conference website. Make sure your affiliation appears as the official, recognized name of your institution and do not list multiple affiliations. No changes will be accepted after September 18, 2017.
  2. Paper abstract (strict 250 word maximum) in the form of one double-spaced, typed page with final title for paper at top of page. Make sure your paper title and abstract appear EXACTLY as you would like them published in the conference program and Abstracts 2018; no changes will be accepted from you or your session chairs after September 18, 2017.
  3. Brief Letter explaining your interest, expertise in the topic, and CAA membership status.
  4. CV with email address and phone number. Include summer address and telephone number, if applicable.
  5. Documentation of work when appropriate, especially for sessions in which artists might discuss their own work