This symposium will focus on the literary and intellectual ambitions and accomplishments of American artists working over many generations. For many American artists—as diverse as Washington Allston, Marsden Hartley, Ad Reinhardt, Robert Motherwell, and John Cage—writing was an essential art-making procedure, connected to other creative practices. By considering both artistic and utilitarian writings of American painters, this three-day conference will offer a literary perspective on the contribution of artists’ philosophical and aesthetic thought to the development of American culture and society. Organizers aim to challenge one stereotype that artists do not create new ideas but merely interpret, in visual form, those of others.
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