Center for Humanities: Monday Night Lecture Series

Monday, February 11, 2019
6:00 PM - 8:30 PM (ET)
Usdan University Center Usdan 300 (Daniel Family Commons & Lounge)
Event Type
Savage, Erinn

Catherine Damman, Andrew W. Mellon Postdocoral Fellow, Wesleyan University

The Work of Art in the Age of Half-Hearted Reproducibility 

Anxieties about authenticity and originality have long saturated modernist art history—from the photograph to the readymade. This talk considers the resurgence and transformation of those apprehensions just as “performance” emerged as a distinct genre in American discourses of the 1970s, both artistic and academic. The decade saw an explosion of activity under the term, as well as fierce debates about its meaning. In the definition that has since dominated, performance has often implied a prohibition against narrative, artifice, technique, and theatricality. A genealogical approach to this history reconsiders “performance” in the wake of an increasingly service-based economy—where the cultivated display of self and emotion are conscripted into the strictures of waged work—and contemporaneous feminist interventions around affective labor, theorizing the speculative possibilities of its destabilization, both artistic and political.



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