Behold, America! Symposium, Part 1
Patricia Kelly, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Critical Studies at the Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver, Canada
Measuring Here and There, or the Decentralization of American Art
When influential art critic and curator Lucy Lippard staged 955,000 in Vancouver, BC in January 1970, she was acknowledging the international aspirations and interconnectivity of much American conceptual art. Participating artists such as Robert Smithson, Douglas Huebler, and Sol LeWitt, had, by this time, well established practices concerned with mapping and relationality. Lippard's push towards decentralization signaled a broader desire among contemporary artists and critics to increase opportunities for sustained intellectual and creative inquiry, to understand art practice from a global (rather than regional) perspective, and to expand networks of like-minded artists across national borders in often unexpected and creative ways. Using this exhibition as a point of departure, this paper will explore the circulation of artists between the US and the West Coast of Canada in the late 60s and early 70s, and its potentially destabilizing effect on American art history.