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CFP: Latrobe Chapter of The Society of Architectural Historians 11th Biennial Symposium of the Historic Development of Metropolitan Washington, DC

  • Dates: 21 Jul – 05 Sep, 2014
  • Location: Washington, District of Columbia, United States
  • Contact: Susanneh Bieber
  • Email: biebersusanneh@gmail.com
The Latrobe Chapter welcomes proposals for papers that investigate the relationship between architecture and art in the built environment of greater Washington, DC. Numerous buildings in Washington feature murals, sculpture, and video projections, as well as other types of art. How do these artworks respond to and affect the built spaces around them? Many building, structures, and landscapes themselves are conceived as artworks, sometimes to the detriment of their functional capacity and economic profitability. Does the doughnut-shaped Hirshhorn Museum designed during the 1960s classify as a sculptural object? Why did Beaux-Arts architects aspire to have their designs recognized for their artistic quality? Conversely, why have numerous artists turned to designing functional structures? Do these diverse endeavors erase the distinctions between art and architecture?

Additionally, architects and artists, along with preservationists, public officials, and developers have used various artistic media to represent the built environment. Architectural photographs and renderings are often created with a practical purpose in mind, but they also convey other meanings through specific visual and artistic choices that influence the perception of the client or the public. What kinds of viewpoints do images selected for historical markers convey? How do they differ from the depictions used in promotional material for such projects as the McMillan Plan or from a scenic watercolor in which Montgomery Meigs captured back-yard slave quarters? In what ways did the 1939 film The City frame the town of Greenbelt and shape its public reception? How and why do presentation renderings at times mask the reality of the surrounding environment?

The purpose of the symposium is to feature recent research and encourage discussion. We seek papers that attend to close observation and analysis of images, objects, structures, buildings, and neighborhoods in their political, social, economic, technological, and cultural contexts as the bases for understanding the complex interactions between art and architecture.

Accepted papers will be grouped in thematic sessions to facilitate substantive comparative discussion among presenters, moderators, and the audience. All paper sessions will take place on Saturday, March 21, 2015, at the Catholic University of America. A bus tour of related sites in the area will take place the following day.

Please send a one-page, 350-word abstract for a 20-minute paper and an abbreviated curriculum vitae by Friday, September 5, 2014, to Susanneh Bieber, biebersusanneh@gmail.com, and Susan West Montgomery, smontgomery@savingplaces.org.

All applicants will be notified of the selection by Friday, October 3, 2014. Speakers will be required to send their final text to session moderators by Friday, January 23, 2015, who will provide comments and work with speakers to develop themes for discussion.