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Art History

Graphic element for the subject of History and Theory of ArtArt History at Södertörn University is both thematic and rooted in contemporary life. We let history enrich the present day and vice versa.

Students work with various themes that are linked to concepts, narratives, issues or methods, instead of following a single chronological line. The subject unites classic Art History with visual cultural studies; from artworks and other aesthetic rarities to mass-produced images, architecture and design. Theory and empiricism are linked from the very beginning and are applied practically, with study visits as part of every module. Campus courses involve a number of invited guests from the professional field – artists, experts, museum directors, etc. The multicultural perspective and gender and class aspects are continually integrated into the various modules.

Past Conferences

The conference Art in Transfer. Curatorial Practices and Transnational Strategies in the Era of Pop, takes place at Södertörn University Campus and Moderna Museet, Stockholm, November 6-8, 2014. Organizers are the department of Art history together with the Centre for Baltic and East European Studies at Södertörn University. The conference is generously supported by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

CURATORIAL PRACTICES AND TRANSNATIONAL STRATEGIES IN THE ERA OF POPArt in Transfer. Curatorial Practices and Transnational Strategies in the Era of Pop* is taking a new look on the appearance of popular culture and American art in Europe in the long 1960s as it can be assessed from the Stockholm scene. This is a time and place where the Cold War atmosphere was constantly felt politically and culturally, also in fluctuations between tension and relative openness. The decade opened the "Era of Pop", reputed not least in Sweden for new intense artistic engagement with the USA. But there were also other kinds of input. The Swedish capital, located in a neutral country between the USA and the Soviet Union, is taken as a point of departure to reassess Neo-Avantgarde and East-West transnational strategies. During the long 1960s, artistic regeneration happened in networks both outside and inside institutions, between metropolises and peripheries.

Art history surveys have had a tendency to turn these complex modernist cultural exchanges into a heroic success narrative. But the West European understanding of the 1960s art world is now undergoing a shift. Recent scholarly exchange, release of archival resources in Eastern Europe and access through digital media offer new material for comparative studies. New generations of scholars that were themselves not part of the 1960s culture have begun to explore this field in interesting ways. The conference proposes new theoretical and methodological approaches to explore this complex field. While redefining the field of the Neo-Avant-garde after the Second World War geographically and conceptually to include Socialist Europe, it also presents a richer texture of cultural transfer, including new curatorial practices and transnational strategies. In this light, the Stockholm art scene not least offers a spatio-temporal model of how power structures were reshuffled, as new production forms, positions and liaisons emerged on the markets and in the fieldsof art.

Our Call for paper was responded with some really interesting and inventive abstracts. We are honored to present the following program with twenty presentations by scholars from several institutions internationally, present really thought provoking approaches and perspectives. We also would like to warmly thank Hiroko Ikegama, Branden W. Joseph and Piotr Piotrowski, who responded to our invitation to give key-note lectures.

Helena Mattson, Associate Professor in History and Theory of Architecture at KTH School of Architecture and a docent in Architecture, has participated in our scientific board, invaluably contributing to the assessment of abstracts and planning of the program. Without Oscar Svanelid, MA in Art History, our excellent Conference Manager, this conference would never have been able to put together. We also whole heartedly thank Daniel Birnbaum, Moderna Museet for the generosity to give space for the conference during two its days, as well presenting a display with documentary material. Special thanks to Anna Tellgren and Annika Gunnarsson, Moderna Museet, for the cooperation and the curating of a display of documentary material from the American Pop Art exhibition in 1964 in conjunction with the conference.

Stockholm, June 2014

Charlotte Bydler and Annika Öhrner

Senior lecturers at the Department of Art history, School of Culture and Communication of Art history, School of Culture and Eduction, Södertörn University. Bydller is Research Leader of the Cultural Theory stream at the Centre forBaltic and East European Studies and Öhrner Subject coordinator of Art History, Södertörn University.

* The title of the conference was inspired by the film Stockholm a l’heure du Pop, (Swedish title Popen kommer till stan )produced 1964 by the Belgian artist Olivier Herdies (1906-1993), residing in Sweden since 1937.

If you wish to register for attending this conference please send an email to oscar.svanelid@sh.se with your name, title and affiliation before 31th of October. The conference is free of charge.

Art in transfer-program.pdf



The European artistic avant-garde c. 1910-30: formations, networks and trans-national strategies

A three-day interdisciplinary symposiumA three-day interdisciplinary symposium is being organised by Art History, Södertörn University, 11- 13 September 2013. Attention will be given to the avant-gardes of the period c. 1910-1930 across Europe, with a focus on those of the Nordic Countries, Central and Eastern Europe, and their orientation to the Parisian avant-garde.

Keynote speakers:

  • Professor David Cottington (Kingston University, London)
  • Professor Piotr Piotrowski (Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan)

Venues: Södertörn University and Moderna Museet, Stockholm

At a time when modernist art history of the early avant-garde is being urgently questioned using different approaches, an exploration of theoretical tools for the study of the early avant-garde and its trans-national strategies is needed, as well as a mapping of the research within the field that is now developing in different parts of Europe. This symposium is intended as a starting-point for such (a) collective project(s).