Terra Foundation-supported Events

Symposium: “Crash and Burn: Destruction in American Art”

This symposium attempts to establish a genealogy for the destructive impulse as it was specifically activated in American art, charting its evolution from the colonial era to the present. How do American artists reconcile destruction with their own processes of creation? What motivated artists to incorporate destruction into their art, and how have these contextual meanings changed over time? The symposium interrogates destruction as a theme addressed by artists through their work, but also considers those external forces that have seen the artwork itself subjected to the forces of destruction. Presentations will consider works of art of all mediums and periods, as well as a wider range of visual and material culture.


  • Hélène Valance, Terra Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow, Courtauld Institute of Art; and
  • Alex J. Taylor, Terra Foundation Research Fellow in American Art, Tate

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