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Yale’s American Art Graduate Symposium, Deadline Jan. 31

Published January 23, 2024

19th Annual Yale University American Art Graduate Symposium 


Deadline: January 31, 2024

Conference Date: April 6, 2024


 Condition rhetorically encompasses vast references: an immediate state (flaking on a canvas reveals the poor condition of a painting), a manipulable nature (leather must be conditioned before use), the overarching atmosphere (weather conditions or the human condition), and a temporal position (the conditional tense). It also implies intimate ties with the body, the condition of the individual and the collective. To condition a body involves training towards optimal health, whereas a body with a condition must grapple with illness. Social conditions—semiotic systems, political hegemony, nation-state borders—prescribe and constrain our capacity to move through the world while we, in turn, condition ourselves and our surroundings to enact desired states of being, living, and working. In the words of Tina Campt, condition enacts the tense of the “will have had to happen.” Art can imagine multiple ideas of the past and of contingent futures. Art can embody transformations that must take place to bring about a liveable world or remake the past to claim a different present.The Nineteenth Annual Yale University American Art Graduate Symposium asks: what possibilities might thinking through condition offer in response to urgent calls for new forms of community, meaning, and direction amidst environmental, social, political, economic, and public health crises? What conditions illuminate and/or complicate ongoing relationships to history and the archives? What are the material enactments of conditioning? As a tool in building worlds, realities, and relations, how can we think through the multifacetedness of condition(-ing, -al, -ed, pre-)?We welcome submissions exploring art, architecture, visual, and material culture across all of the Americas, including the Caribbean, North, Central, and South America.
Possible topics include, but are not limited to:
  • Activation of the conditional tense as an art historical method
  • Engagements with conditions of being, whether that be human, work, social and/or artistic conditions
  • Durational performance and the conditioning of the body, including as it relates to health and/or illness
  • Conditions needed for particular outcomes
  • Weather and manipulated atmospheric conditions
  • Conditioning  as it pertains to behavior, change, and acceptance
  • Materials used by artists and makers that require conditioning
  • Condition assessment, condition reports, condition and attribution, condition and monetary value
  • Speculative and conditional world-(re)building from archival speculation to digital art
To apply, submit a 350 word abstract and a CV to