History of Art


CITATIONS: An Enquiry into Literature in Art

Keynote by Elaine Reichek
5 June 2021, 10.30 - 19.00, Online, register via Zoom.

This conference looks at the relationship between literature and art, specifically visual artists who incorporate literary sources into their work. It is motivated by an interest in how these interventions put pressure on the practice of art history, and how they provoke a reconsideration of methodologies of visual analysis. Guided by the work of Elaine Reichek, who will give the keynote address, the conference will also situate the role of citational practices within the broader context of postmodernism.

By posing this methodological problem, the conference will stage an unlikely meeting of minds, including protagonists such as Glenn Ligon, Mary Shelley, Frank O’Hara, Gertrude Stein, Stéphane Mallarmé and David Wojnarowicz. Through a series of papers, the following questions will be posed: what happens to a work of art when literature is cited? How seriously should we take literature’s presence within this work? How do we write about it? Is interdisciplinarity our only model for analysis or is there another approach? The ambition for this conference is to cultivate a dialogue with those for whom these questions might resonate.

Keynote speaker: Elaine Reichek has been using thread as a core element in her work since the early 1970s, and was an early pioneer among conceptual artists in rethinking the role of craft in the fine arts and investigating alternative narratives and histories. Her most recent solo exhibitions include Between the Needle and the Book at McClain Gallery, Houston, TX (2020); Sight Unseen at Marinaro, New York (2019); Now If I Had Been Writing This Story at Vienna Secession (2018); Invisible Citings at the Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy, in collaboration with sculptor Jeanne Silverthorne (2017); and Minoan Girls at Shoshana Wayne Gallery, Santa Monica, CA (2016). Reichek lives and works in New York.



Image: Elaine Reichek, Sampler (It Was Something). 1998. Hand embroidery on linen. 21.25 x 27.75 in.