Contemporary Art between Time and History

Wednesday, 16 January - Thursday, 23 May, 2013
Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, 185 St Catherine Street West

Since the late 1980s, contemporary art has investigated and challenged the main components of the modern notion of historicity: the archive as an element of proof; the teleological deployment of the historical narrative; history as a means of inclusion and exclusion of what is judged to be historical; memory and forgetting, as well as the idea of progress. In so doing, contemporary art has re-established but also profoundly altered the apparently obsolete genre of history painting.

As recently observed by historian Perry Anderson, this turn is surprising in a period in which postmodernism has distinctly omitted to think historically. Yet this turn has been a productive one. It has notably led to an innovative search for what historian Michel de Certeau has designated as the "unthought" of historiography: the temporal dimension of history. How does one define this temporality? How does contemporary art rearticulate, in its renewed interest for history, the relationship between past, present and future? How are these articulations conditioned by the twenty-first-century temporalities of acceleration, presentism, space-time compression and globalization? What happens to the notion of progress - one of the founding components of the modern regime of historicity - once it has been stripped of its content?

These questions are at the centre of Contemporary Art between Time and History, a series of lectures and conversation that brings art historians, curators, artists and philosophers together to discuss the aesthetic explorations of time through which contemporary art concerns itself with history. The series will include appearances from Nicolas Bourriaud, Director of the Ecole nationale supérieure des beaux-arts in Paris, Okwui Enwezor, Director of Haus der kunst in Munich, and Stan Douglas, artist living and working in Vancouver, among others.

Media@McGill is happy to co-sponsor this public event, jointly organized by Christine Ross, James McGill Chair in Contemporary Art History and Director of Media@McGill, and the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal.

Download the full program in PDF format below.

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Time and History Series_ENprogram.pdf

Time and History Series_FRprogram.pdf