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Ecologies of Paper in the Early Modern World (The Huntington, San Marino, CA, 5-6 Nov 20)

This conference will explore the transmutation, preservation, and loss of paper as a cycle of archiving and forgetting that defined early modern artistic practice, economic transaction, and political statecraft. Speakers will map paper's various guises, its ability to retain meanings associated with its material origins as well as its desire to conceal its former states or to encourage belief in a value beyond its material reality. Charting the journeys of early modern paper in drawing, print, and document, this program will not only restructure our understanding of paper's importance in early modern artistic practice and political life but also reconstruct the governing roles of environment, place, and origin in modes of making and address.


Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020

9:00 a.m. (PST) Welcome and Introduction: Steve Hindle, The Huntington
Shira Brisman, University of Pennsylvania
Caroline Fowler, Clark Art Institute

9:15 a.m. (PST) Session 1: Documents and Foundations

Asheesh Kapur Siddique, University of Massachusetts-Amherst
“Documenting the Body of State: Paper, Early Modernity, and the Matter of the U.S. Constitution”

Cheryl Finley, Cornell University and the Atlanta University Center Collective for the Study of Art History & Curatorial Studies
“Paper, Print, and Activism”

John Gagné, University of Sydney
“Toward a History of the Conservation of the Premodern Documentary Heritage”

10:30 a.m. (PST) Break

10:45 a.m. (PST) Session 2: Backgrounds and Foregrounds

Jennifer Chuong, Harvard University
“Overmarbling and Paper’s Disorderly Metamorphoses”

Iris Brahms, Freie Universität Berlin
“Blue Paper as Metaphor and Efficient Solution”

Caroline Fowler, Clark Art Institute
“The Matrix and The Mould: Counter-Histories of Reproduction”

Heather Wolfe, Folger Shakespeare Library
“Interpreting the Materiality of Paper through Digital Images”

12:15 p.m. (PST) Closing Discussion: Shira Brisman, University of Pennsylvania

Friday, Nov. 6, 2020

9:15 a.m. (PST) Session 3: Scarcity

Joshua Calhoun, University of Wisconsin-Madison
“The Transformation of a Plant; or, Rags Do Not Make Paper”

Shira Brisman, University of Pennsylvania
“Contriving Scarcity in Early Modern Art and Law”

10:15 a.m. (PST) Break

1030 a.m. (PST) Session 4: The Paper Age

Esther Chadwick, The Courtauld Institute of Art
“Material Sinews of the Paper Age”

Nina Dubin, University of Illinois-Chicago
“Rags to Riches: Paper Culture in the Age of Bubbles”

Richard Taws, University College London
“Laissez-passer: Afterimages of Revolutionary France”

11:45 a.m. (PST) Break

12:30 p.m. (PST) Closing Discussion: Caroline Fowler, Clark Art Institute

If you would like to receive a copy of the speakers' papers for this event please register at the 'External Link' below by October 30.

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