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FSU Art Historians at the 103rd Annual CAA Conference

Published January 29, 2015


Two Florida State University Art History professors, one current graduate student and two alumni are presenting papers at the 103rd annual College Art Association Conference, which will be held February 11 through February 14 in New York, NY. CAA is the primary professional association of artists and art historians in the United States. This year’s conference will feature more than 200 sessions, a Book and Trade Fair, walking tours, gallery openings and numerous workshops and professional networking opportunities. In collaboration with our fellow departments at USF and UF, the Departments of Art and Art History are hosting a CAA Alumni Reception for FSU and other Florida alumni, faculty and friends on Friday, February 13, 5:30-7:30 pm, at Brasserie 8-1/2, 9 West 57th St.

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PhD student Kristi Peterson will present “Mountains and Huacas: Recontextualizing the South American Landscape in The Virgin Mary of the Mountain” in the session Composite Art in the Colonies of Europe: Stealing, Smiting, Enshrining, Erasing, Recarving, and Recontextualizing, Wednesday 2/11 at 9:30 am.

On the same morning, alumnus Anne Heath (MA ’98, now Associate Professor, Hope College) is presenting “Moving Forward, Looking Back: Spatial Perception in the Benedictine Abbey of Saint-Germain d’Auxerre” in Performative Architecture Before the Modern Era.

Also on Wednesday, Professor Robert Neuman will present “From Hollywood to Frontierland: Disneyland and the Construction of a Mythical West” in an afternoon session devoted to the art of Walt Disney. When Disneyland opened in July 1955, a souvenir brochure boasted that a team of “museum authorities” had collaborated with Disney and his Imagineers to help “accurately” represent the pioneering spirit of the nation’s past in Frontierland. Dr. Neuman argues that this stated commitment to historical verisimilitude belied the fact that Frontierland was equally indebted to the fantasy world of that cinematic genre widely derided as shoot-’em-ups, oaters, or horse operas.

WDFrontierAlthough the film industry made its own claims to authenticity in these productions, the Hollywood Western, from its infancy, embraced a system of conventions and stereotypes that generated a composite history of the westward movement that was far from truthful. Frontierland, Dr. Neuman proposes, was of a piece with that mythical history. He traces the impact of the Hollywood Western on essential elements of Disney’s themed “land.”

Associate Professor Michael Carrasco is participating in the National Endowment for the Humanities panel Pushing the Boundaries: NEH Funding for Global Art History on Friday afternoon, February 13. Professor Carrasco will discuss his NEH grant project, The Mesoamerican Corpus of Formative Period Art and Writing, which addresses the origins of Mesoamerican writing. He will describe the collaborative process of his multidisciplinary international team and their development of a database and associated applications to aid in understanding the art and writing of the Middle Formative period Olmec.

On Saturday afternoon, February 14, alumnus Catherine A. Fernandez (BA ’01, now Princeton University, Index of Christian Art) is presenting “Charlemagne’s Pectoral: Talismans of the Legendary Emperor in Western Medieval Church Treasuries” in the session The Talisman: A Critical Genealogy.