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Inaugural Symposium of the Association of Print Scholars

The Association of Print Scholars (APS) is pleased to announce a symposium to support new critical ideas and research about printmaking. The event will occur on November 7, 2015 at Hunter College, City University of New York (CUNY) during Print Week in New York, which includes major events such as the IFPDA Print Fair, the E/AB Fair and more. We invite two types of proposals:

- 20-minute papers for a scholarly panel that respond to the CFP (see below) entitled “Method, Material and Meaning: Technical Art History and the Study of Prints”
- 5-minute presentations for the Graduate Student Lightning Round. Proposed papers should come from current graduate students at the dissertation stage.

Interested participants are invited to submit an abstract of no more than 500 words along with a CV or brief biographical statement by August 15 to Please indicate in the subject line which type of paper (scholarly session or lightning round) you are proposing and apply to only one session type. Non-members may submit abstracts, but presenters must be APS members by the time of the symposium.

Method, Material, and Meaning: Technical Art History and the Study of Prints

Technical art history, an interdisciplinary methodology with growing popularity among scholars, curators, and conservators, draws connections between an object’s making and its interpretation. The application of technical art history to the study of prints is particularly fruitful as printmakers often draw upon diverse and complex techniques in order to generate imagery. From the sixteenth-century engravings of Hendrik Goltzius, who skillfully imitated other media, to the prints of contemporary artist Kiki Smith, who produces fleshy bodies on thin, skin-like Gampi paper, printmakers throughout history have engaged a variety of processes and materials in order to elicit particular ideas, emotions, or interactions. The selection of technique, matrix, ink, varnish or support may have a profound effect on the final product and its meaning.

This conference seeks to investigate the relationship between specific technical choices made by printmakers, printers, or publishers in order to rethink more broadly the relationship between process, material and meaning in the graphic arts. We seek papers that focus on a wide range of chronological periods and geographic locations in order to highlight overarching methodological issues.

Questions to consider:
- How can technical analysis aid in understanding artists’ strategic decisions, including their use of printmaking within a larger multimedia practice?
- What can conservation science tell us about the life and contemporary importance of a print?
- How has print scholarship grown beyond connoisseurship, towards a more holistic account of engagement with the viewer?
- How does the transfer of information from the matrix to the receiving surface affect the resulting imagery and its significance?

The symposium is supported with a grant from the IFPDA Foundation.

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