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Mellon Research Initiative: Student Research Grants

Call for Proposals [IFA students only]

Surfaces (15th-19th Centuries)
Institute of Fine Arts-NYU
March 27, 2015

Deadline for submission: Friday, October 24, 2014, 5pm.

On March 27, 2015, the IFA will hold a one-day symposium on the subject of surfaces from the fifteenth to nineteenth centuries, organized by the IFA/Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Noémie Etienne. The symposium will include sessions on the topics: 1. Materiality and Meaning; 2. A Sense of Touch; 3. The Changing Surface.

IFA students are invited to submit proposals to present a 20-minute paper in each of the three sessions. Proposals must be the collaborative work of a current IFA art history student and conservation student. The symposium will address the issue of surface in paintings, sculptures, architecture and the decorative arts between the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries. It aims to interrogate how surfaces connect or disconnect the viewers from the material object and/or from the representation it carries. This question allows us to think about the correlation between materiality, meaning, image and sense.

Surfaces may be constructed or manipulated through artistic gestures that shape its production and reception. Among the questions the symposium will explore:
- How do the specific properties of surfaces challenge viewers?
- How do they determine a viewer’s consumption of and engagement with an object? 
- If a surface may be understood as an interface, how can it connect the artwork to the outside world while simultaneously defining its limit?
- Given that surfaces are characterized by specific textural qualities and properties (thickness, patina, darkness, softness, etc.), how can the specificity of a given material (oil, pastel, plaster, porcelain) be taken into account in order to understand how an artwork interacts with its viewers or users?
- What happens when a surface is intended to be unnoticeable, as in a trompe l’oeil painting?
- The concept of surface materiality may also be extended to encompass an object’s physical or sensory environment, for example: how does an art object function in a particular place, under a specific light?
- How may later modifications such as graffiti, repairs, or the traces of multiple hands be of interest in order to emphasize how the surface of artworks can be redefined over time?

Possible paper topics may include - but are not limited to: the materiality of brushstrokes and sprezzatura in painting; the challenges of photographic surfaces; textures of architectural works and decorative objects; the relationship between the surface and its representation; the material representation of skin; textiles arts and textility; surfaces in the history of art history; graffiti; vandalism; conservation treatments. 

How to apply:
IFA students are invited to submit proposals to give a 20-minute paper in one of the three sessions. Proposals must be the collaborative work of a current IFA art history student and a conservation student. 

The deadline for submission is October 24 at 5pm. Applicants will be notified of their acceptance by November 1. Students interested in submitting a proposal are encouraged to meet with Noémie Etienne ahead of the deadline. Contact ne477@nyu.edu to schedule an appointment.

Proposals should be emailed to ne477@nyu.edu and include a 250-word abstract that clearly outlines the paper topic and its relevance to the symposium.

Archive

March 12, 2014
‘Surface’ to ‘Substrate’ : The Archaeology, Art History, and Science of Material Transfer
IFA/Mellon Initiative Student Grant recipients are Elizabeth Buhe, Annika Finne, Elizabeth McGovern, Maria Veronica Munoz-Najar Luque, Andrew Ward.

February 1, 2014
Workshop on Digital Tools
IFA/Mellon Initiative Student Grant recipients were Claire Brandon, Elizabeth Buhe, Lindsay Ganter, Christina Long, and Margaret Wessling. More information and video from this conference is available here.

October 4-5, 2013
Art History and the Art of Description
IFA/Mellon Initiative Student Grant recipients were Joseph Ackley, Kara Fiedorek, Katerina Harris, IFA PhD, Brett Lazer, and Ileana Selejan. More information and video from this conference is available here.

April 12 - 13, 2013
Archaeology, Heritage, and the Mediation of Time
IFA/Mellon Initiative Student Grant recipients were Andrea Achi, Kirsten Lee, Brian Castriota, Rachel Boate, Allyson McDavid. More information and video from this conference is available here.

November 30th, 2012
Digital Art History
IFA/Mellon Initiative Student Grant recipients were Emily Bauman, Sara Ickow, and Allison Young. More information and video from this conference is available here.

April 28-29, 2012
Image and Ontology in Comparative Perspective
IFA/Mellon Initiative Student Grant recipients were Matthew Breatore, Marci Kwon, Sean Nesselrode, Brendan Sullivan, and Matthew Worsnick. More information and video from this conference is available here.

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