“‘A Long and Tumultuous Relationship’ East-West Interchanges in American Art” at Smithsonian American Art Museum

October 1 & 2, 2009
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC

The history of American art has long been discussed primarily in terms of European training and influence. When scholars have looked eastward, they often have considered the Asian influence on art of the United States as a unidirectional and limited development, suggesting that Asian culture was monolithic and unchanging while characterizing American artists as dynamic and original in their ability to absorb and meld the best of diverse global outlooks. This two-day symposium explores the complicated interactions between American and Asian artists and visual traditions from the eighteenth century to the present, focusing on what scholar Bert Winther-Tamaki has called in his book Art in the Encounter of Nations the “contentious interdependency” born out of a “long and tumultuous relationship” between East and West.

The embedded video features welcoming remarks by Elizabeth Broun, The Margaret and Terry Stent Director, Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the first presentation, “Reflections on The Third Mind: Topics for Intellectual Inquiry,” by Alexandra Munroe, Senior Curator of Asian Art, Guggenheim Museum—please click here to view all of the symposium sessions on YouTube.