Dutch Postgraduate School for Art History
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Modern and Contemporary Arts



Section chairs:

Prof.dr. Katja Kwastek

Prof.dr. Ann-Sophie Lehmann


About the section:

The section Modern and Contemporary Art provides a forum for the exchange of ideas on modern and contemporary art amongst academic and independent researchers, students, museum professionals, and artists active in the Netherlands. Through the organization of workshops, seminars, lectures, and its annual meeting, the section seeks to foster debate about theoretical approaches to the study of art and aesthetics from 1800 onwards and to contribute to national and international discussions about the issues, regulations, and policies that affect the creation, collection, and display of art in today’s society.




Recognizing that the study and educational ambit of visual arts has increasingly challenged traditional geographical and disciplinary boundaries, this section aims to promote a broad and varied programme and to develop innovative critical and creative practices in collaboration with researchers drawn from a wide range of scientific fields.


This section of the OSK also aims to provide a platform for its members to network with visual arts professionals in other countries. To that end, the section welcomes opportunities for collaboration and exchange with members of the wider community of practitioners and researchers in the field of modern and contemporary art.


European Society for Nineteenth-Century Art (ESNA): A working group of the Modern and Contemporary Art Section of the OSK


ESNA is a working group of scholars, graduate students, and museum professionals based in the Netherlands whose research focuses on European art of the long nineteenth century. ESNA's aim is to provide a forum that promotes the exchange of ideas in this field, to support and encourage graduate research, and to enhance networking opportunities for participants. ESNA seeks to contribute to, and foster debate on, nineteenth-century art through its organization of an annual symposium, the invitation of visiting speakers, and co-ordination with other organizations and groups devoted to the study of the nineteenth century. ESNA is a working group formed under the auspices of the Netherlands Postgraduate Research School for Art History (Onderzoekschool Kunstgeschiedenis).



Section meeting(s):



March 27th, UvA 


Seminar 'Activating Artifacts: About Academia' 


he seminar is organized within the framework of the exhibition Activating Artifacts: About Academia, presented at Rozenstraat 59 by De Appel in partnership with UvA. In this solo-exhibition, the Spanish artist Muntadas addresses themes of privatisation, corporatisation, gentrification and globalisation in relation to American higher education. Through a meticulously laid out architecture, the project provides a space for reconsidering various intersecting spheres of institutionalized sites of learning and the neoliberal realm.


Through this seminar, the Muntadas exhibition will be activated to examine how the above processes, which also drive the relentless neoliberalisation of higher education beyond the US, resonate within the context of continental Europe post-Bologna and The Netherlands post-Uprising specifically. How do the themes of privatisation, corporatisation, gentrification and globalisation, which Muntadas so keenly dissects, resonate and ultimately transform the way we understand the often-conflicting ideological, economic and educational pursuits of the university apparatus, and how do these issues relate to particular geo-cultural frameworks? Two panel discussions will provide this (re-)contextualization, while reflecting on the role artists play in originating critical discussions about academia.


With: Christa-Maria Lerm Hayes, Sepp Eckenhuizen (Commoning UvA), Eva Fotiadi (lecturer in Contemporary Art and Theory, UvA), Steven ten Thije (research curator, Van Abbemuseum), Mieke Bal (Professor Emeritus in Literary Theory, UvA), Cecilia Guida (‎director, UNIDEE - University of Ideas, ‎Academy of Fine Arts, Bologna), Ronaldo Vázquez (assistant professor of Sociology, Utrecht University)



 April 20th, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam.


While 2017 salutes the centenary of the founding of the Dutch avant�-garde movement De Stijl, 2016 marks the sixtieth anniversary of the first monograph by Hans Jaffé. An international symposium, held at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam on April 20, 2016, both celebrates what Jaffé presented as "one of the longest lived and most influential of modern art movements" and examines its scholarly reception in terms of what has been accomplished and new directions in research.


Day-long symposium with morning and afternoon program with roundtables Short presentations of 18-20 minutes.






 9.00: Coffee/Tea


9.25: Opening words by Christa-Maria Lerm Hayes and Marek Wieczorek

• "Collective Reflections on Hans Jaffé and De Stijl"


9.40: Hans Janssen, Curator for Modern Art at Large, Gemeentemuseum, Den Haag.

• "The Present of De Stijl in the Gemeentemuseum, Den Haag."


10.05: Wietse Coppes, Editor Mondrian Edition Project / Curator Mondrian & De Stijl archives and documentation, RKD – Netherlands Institute for Art History

• "Sourcing Mondrian: from Private to Public Archives and the Mondrian Edition Project."


10.30: Alied Ottevanger, Curator 20th-�]century Prints and Drawings, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

• "Reading Van Doesburg"


10.55: Mariël Polman, Lecturer Historic Interiors, Programme Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage, University of Amsterdam / Architectural Paint Researcher Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands

• "The Material Dynamics of Theo van Doesburg’s Heritage in Drachten and Hyères."


11.20 Four UVA MA students, Programme Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage, briefly present work in progress:


Megan Kisters, student Historic Interiors

• "Wallpaper Reconstructed in the Van Doesburg Rinsema House: Finding the Balance between In Situ Fragments and Artistic Intent."


Antje Verstraten, student Historic Interiors

• "Concept or ractice? A Study of the Original Blue Paint Layers in the Van Doesburg Rinsema House in Drachten."


Stephan de Vries, student Wood and Furniture

•"Reconstructing Sybold van Ravesteyn's Furniture Ensemble in Villa Noailles, France."


Bram van de Wende, student Wood and Furniture

• "Wooden Cradle by Cornelis van der Wilk, 1924: Study of a World Exhibition Artifact."


11.40: Lunch Break and OSK Section Meeting (for members only*)


* The members of the OSK Annual Section Meeting Modern and Contemporary Art will convene between 11.45—13.00 at Hobbemastraat 22, Ateliergebouw (zaal B)




13.00: Ruth Hoppe, Painting Conservator, Gemeentemuseum, Den Haag.

• "Composition with Yellow Lines by Piet Mondrian: New Aspects of Condition"


13.25: Maarten van Bommel, Professor of Conservation Science, Programme Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage

• "After the Fact: Evaluating our Interdisciplinary Study of Mondrian’s Victory Boogie Woogie" (presentation of a paper co-�]authored with Hans Janssen and Ron Spronk)


13.50: Doris Wintgens, Guest curator Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam / Curator Museum De Lakenhal, Leiden

• "Peggy Guggenheim & Nelly van Doesburg: Friends in Stijl, 1938—1952"


14.15: Ida van Zijl, art historian, specialized in Rietveld and Dutch design of the 20th century

• "The House of Truus Schröder"


14.40: Michael White, Professor of History of Art, University of York, UK.

• "1001 Chairs"


15.05: Marek Wieczorek, Associate Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art History, University of Washington, Seattle

• "The De Stijl Paradigm"


15.30: Keynote: Nancy J. Troy, Victoria and Roger Sant Professor in Art, Stanford University

• "’Kleren maken de man’: The Mondrian Dress."



16.15: Roundtable



Writing Art And Creating Back: What Can We Do With Art (History)?


5 June


Welcome by Christa-Maria Lerm Hayes and introduction by Francesca Verga

(PhD students will introduce speakers and chair discussions throughout the day)


Gregory Sholette (artist/writer, CUNY), introduced by Florian Gӧttke

Maria Barnas (artist/writer, Amsterdam), introduced by Lotte Batelaan

Professor Alastair MacLennan (performance artist, Belfast), introduced by Janice McNab

"Pain to Pane"


Professor James Elkins (art historian/writer, School of the Art Institute, Chicago), introduced by Jan van Oirschot

“Limits of Writing in Art History"


Panel discussion, chaired by Jan van Oirschot


Professor Christa-Maria Lerm Hayes (art historian/curator, UvA)

“Writing Art And Creating Back: What Can We Do With Art (History)?”




19/20 June 2014: "The Mediatization of the Artist"


EYE Film Institute & Bethaniënklooster Amsterdam


Organisation:  Rachel Esner & Sandra Kisters




(1) The Artist on Film

Screening: Schaffende Hände: Drahtplastiken. Alexander Calder (Hans Cürlis, 1929)

Pierre Saurisse, Sotheby’s Institute of Art, London: Creative Process and Magic: Artists on Screen in the 1940s

Steven Jacobs, Ghent University: Things, Paintings, Artists, and Films: Magritte by Luc de Heusch


Screening: De Werkelijkheid van Karel Appel (Jan Vrijman, 1962)

Angela Dalle Vacche, Georgia Institute of Technology: Alain Resnais’ Life-Like Van Gogh versus Vincente Minnelli’s Vivification

Marcel Bleuler, University of Bern: In Bed with Marina Abramovicì. Mediatizing Women’s Art as a Personal Drama


(2) The Artist in the Popular Media

Screening: Traum des Bildhauers (c. 1907-1910)

Joke de Wolf, Groningen University: Laughing with Nadar: Caricatures on Photography and the Arts in the Journal Amusant (1856-65)

Laura Bravo, University of Puerto Rico: The Myth of the Artist in Children’s Illustrated Literature


Screening: (Fragment) Love is the Devil. Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon (John Maybury, 1998)

Marco de Waard, Amsterdam University College: Derek Jarman’s Caravaggio and the Aesthetic Regime of Art

Niharika Dinkar, Boise State University / Wissenschaftskolleg Berlin: Mythologies of the Artist in Modern India: The Many Lives of Raja Ravi Varma


(3) The Artist in the (Illustrated) Press

Screening: Ceux de Chez Nous (Sacha Guitry, 1915)

Alain Bonnet, Université Pierre Mendès France (Grenoble 2) / LAHRA : Art and Artists in the Magasin Pittoresque (1833-1914)

Lieske Tibbe, Radboud University Nijmegen: Success Stories and Martyrologies: Images of Artists in Elsevier’s Geïllustreerd Maandschrift around 1900


Poppy Sfakianaki, University of Crete: Artists’ Confessions to Tériade in L’intransigeant, 1928-29: The Construction of the Public Image of the Artist through Illustrated Interviews

Elise Noyez, VU University Amsterdam: With the Artist’s Blessing: Photographs of Artists as Publicity Material


(4) Artists’ Self-Mediatization

Beatrice von Bismarck, Academy of Visual Arts Leipzig: Be on Show! Publicity’s Imperative and Artistic Self-Representation

Tutta Palin, University of Turku: Media Strategies of Female Artists in Inter-War Finland

Herwig Todts, Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp: “Les épisodes de la vie d'artiste intéressent beaucoup. Ensor and Artistic Identity

Stephanie Marchal, Leuphana University of Lüneburg: Gustave Courbet’s Self-Mediatization



2013: 7 November, Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam.


For program see Dutch page.



4 December 2012: "Contemporary Art’s Confrontation with the Monstrous".


Location: Filmzaal, Amsterdam Museum, Kalverstraat 92, Amsterdam

Date and Time: 4th December, 2012, 10.00–17.00






Introduction to the Amsterdam Museum



Kathryn Brown (Tilburg University): Meeting Monsters



Session 1: Monstrous Bodies


Natalie Lettner (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna): ‘The Monstrous and the Hidden Norm of Ambiguity in Contemporary Art’.

Chelsea Nichols (Brasenose College, University of Oxford): ‘Confronting and Collecting Monstrous Bodies in the Medical Museum: Zoe Leonard’s Preserved Head of a Bearded Woman, Musée Orfila).






Session 2: Play, Recreation, and Horror


Kerstin Borchhardt (Friedrich-Schiller University, Jena): ‘Monstrous Shell, Human Core: Humanized Hybrids and the Delighted Horror’.


Esra Plumer (University of Nottingham): ‘Anagrams and Automatism: Exploring Unica Zürn’s Monsters in Graphic Notebooks’.






Session 3: Monstrosity as Political Allegory


Sabine T. Kriebel (University College, Cork): ‘The Political Grotesque: Repulsion and the Monstrous in Interwar Montage’.


Fernando Herrero Matoses (University of Illinois): ‘Antonio Saura’s Imaginary Portraits of Phillip II: The Sovereign and Allegories of the Monstrous’.






Session 4: Biology and Beyond


Rob Zwijnenberg (Leiden University): ‘Bioart and the Role of Art in Society’.


Jenny Boulboulle (Maastricht University): ‘In Touch with the Other: On Bio-artists’ Hands-on Approach towards Life Sciences’ new life forms’.






Keynote: Petra Lange-Berndt (University College, London):

Monster Soup. Plasticities, Mutations, Swarmings.




2011: Annual Section Meeting

25th November, 2011, de Pont Museum, Tilburg, Netherlands


This year’s Annual Section Meeting provides a forum for discussing ways in which modern and contemporary artworks defy the imposition of a single interpretive framework and provoke reflection on the way in which we write about visual art and conceive of its history. The internationalization of art school training, the emergence of a global art market, and the peripatetic studio practices of artists who absorb and express a range of cultural influences count amongst some of the factors that undermine the possibility of culturally or geographically bounded interpretations and approaches to contemporary visual art. Contributions to the meeting will consider different ways in which art critical and historical methodology has been, and is being, driven to reconceive of itself not by disciplinary demands, but by the themes and content of art objects themselves. Through close examination of works by contemporary artists, roundtable discussion involving museum curators, and the contribution of artists themselves, the meeting will focus on objects, images, and practices that prompt a re-evaluation of cultural, educational, curatorial, and critical identities.




11.00 Welcome & Introduction: The Collection at de Pont Museum

11.20 ‘Often Durham Employs’: A Reflection on Cultural Identity and Approaches of Contemporary Art – Linda Boersma (Utrecht University)

11.40 Between the Rubble and the Ruins: Art at Work – Kitty Zijlmans (Leiden University)

12.00 Looking at Senegal: Global Difficulties in Understanding and Experiencing Otherness – Patrick van Rossem (Utrecht University)

12.20 Computer Art and the Networked Other – Kathryn Brown (Tilburg University)

12.40 Discussion

13.00 Lunch (Business Meeting)

14.00 Presentation by Guest Artist: Warren Neidich

14.30 Discussion

14.45 Keynote Address: Cosmopolitan Imagination… or, the Promises of Contemporary Art – Marsha Meskimmon (Loughborough University,United Kingdom)

15.30 Discussion

15.45 Coffee

16.00 Roundtable Discussion - Chair: Margriet Schavemaker (Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam)

16.30 Drinks


Other activities:




28 June 2017, in collaboration with NICA. Organized by Tessel Bauduin (UvA)


Masterclass 'From reception studies to transhistorical art history:

method & theory in the study of the Nachleben of art and literature'




October 1st: Lecture by Michelle Foa (Tulane University,USA): “Seurat and the Art of Visual Experience”


Location: VOC-zaal, Bushuis, Klovenierburgwal, Amsterdam, 15.15h


Few artists of the modern period are as closely associated with the subject of vision as the Neo-Impressionist Georges Seurat, but the precise nature of his interest in visual perception has yet to be fully understood.  Looking carefully at his placid seascape paintings and his pictures of popular urban entertainments, this lecture will explore Seurat’s body of work as a sustained investigation into different kinds of visual engagement with the external world.  To seek knowledge or pleasure, to produce or to consume, to be oriented or dazzled – Seurat shows us the very different ends to which vision could be put to use in late nineteenth-centuryFrance.

Michelle Foa is an Assistant Professor of nineteenth-century European art in the Art Department of Tulane University in New Orleans.  She holds a doctorate from PrincetonUniversityand is currently writing a book on Georges Seurat. Recent and forthcoming publications include an essay on Seurat’s seascape series in the catalogue for the exhibition Georges Seurat: Figure in Space, held at the Kunsthaus Zürich and the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, an essay on Emile Zola’s novel L’Oeuvrein an edited volume on art and music in the nineteenth century, an article on late nineteenth-century photographic criticism in Britain in History of Photography, and an article entitled “(Anti-) Biography and Neo-Impressionism” in a special Neo-Impressionism issue of RIHA: The Journal of the Research Institutes of Art History. Before joining Tulane in 2008, she taught atMountHolyokeCollege, theUniversity ofPennsylvania, andPrincetonUniversity.


July 10th: “Under the Skin: Bodies and Visibility”. A One-Day Workshop on 19th and 20th-Century Painting and Photography


Location:HuisMarseilleMuseumvoor Fotografie

Keizersgracht 401, Amsterdam


Nanda van den Berg (Senior Curator, Huis Marseille): Introduction to Huis Marseille’s Photography Collection

Sandra Kisters (UniversityofUtrecht): Auguste Rodin and Photography

Gülru Cakmak (AmherstCollege): Skin, Surface and the Past in Gérôme and Rodin

Kathryn Brown (TilburgUniversity): Sensation and the Symbolist Body

Shao-Chien Tseng (National Central University,Taiwan): Sport and Embodiment: Degas’s Horse Racing Pictures

Mayken Jonkman (RKD,The Hague): The Paris Experience: 19th-century Dutch artists in theBigCity

Sanne van Maarel (UniversityofUtrecht): Insider Art: The use of the painting-in-painting motif by British artists c. 1900–1920

James Rubin (StonyBrookUniversity): Pictures, Persons, Performances: Manet’s Figural Paradoxes


10 februari: Paper by dr. Rachel Esner (UvA): "Visiting the Artist's Studio with L'Illustration"

Place: Utrecht, Drift 25, 1.02, 15.30 h.

Respondent: dr. Sandra Kisters (UU)




7-8 October 2011: Conference: Towards a Contemporary Aesthetic Education, Tilburg University


This conference asks whether the Enlightenment concept of an aesthetic education as propounded by writers such as Schiller, Winkelmann, and Herder has become marginal to the making and reception of contemporary art or whether it still has a role to play in the shaping of artworlds and their audiences. With a particular focus on engagements with contemporary art, literature, and musical performance, this conference asks whether our encounter with artworks teaches us primarily to comprehend other artworks or whether aesthetic engagement has a broader effect on individual character and choice? If the concept of an aesthetic education still has currency in today’s artworld, this conference asks who is educated, by whom, how, and to what effect? Speakers at the conference are Kathryn Brown (Tilburg), Alison Denham (Oxford and Tulane), Julian Dodd (Manchester), Berys Gaut (St. Andrews), Edward Harcourt (Oxford), Odile Heynders (Tilburg), Dominic McIver Lopes (University of British Columbia), Bence Nanay (Antwerp and Cambridge), Jonathan Neufeld (Charleston), Michael Newall (Kent), Kathleen Stock (Sussex) and Alan Thomas (Tilburg). 


For more information visit the conference website: 




Friday 23rd September, 2011, 12.00 p.m. - 2.00 p.m., Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam


Presentation by Prof.dr. Mieke Bal: Anachronism for the Sake of History


If you would like to attend this event, please email Martijn van Beek

(Secretary Dutch postgraduate School for Art History) before September 16th info@onderzoekschoolkunstgeschiedenis.nl   

Attendance is free.



The presentation consists of three sections that explore the relationship between history and the figure of anachronism in three different ways. First, I will show a 20-minute video documentary staging the French philosopher and art historian Hubert Damisch (1928). At the occasion of a colloquium that brought together the French I.N.H.A. and the American Clark Art Institute, Damisch, who authored many books on various subjects of art history, offers a plea for anachronism not against, but for the sake of history.


This will be followed by a presentation of images, and if possible, clips, from an exhibition project I am currently doing with Michelle Williams Gamaker in the Ars Nova Museum in Turku, Finland. This exhibition, titled Landscapes of Madness, consists of sixteen video installations through which the idea of “madness” is given a variety of interpretations. It is an experiment in audio-visual story-telling. Distinct from cinema, in the installation the “second-person” the visitor is in charge of making the stories through their own itinerary and combination of stories, portraits, props, and scenes on view. The elements stage a confrontation between late-medieval Fools – members of political street theatre groups – and contemporaryMad.The encounter is more than an anachronism; it is also a spatial challenge to our logic.


The temporal narrative of film is spatialized; visitors compose their own narratives by choosing itineraries and pace. The patients in the exhibition unravel their life stories in such a way they keep visitors fascinated enough to spend the time necessary to really experience the encounter. Hence, it is no longer the time of the videos that determines the experience but the pace, choices, coordination and combination, the spatial behaviour and the degree of interest that sets the clock.


I’d like to end on a brief presentation of another exhibition I am preparing for the Peter and Paul Fortress inSaint Petersburg. This is entirely set in the present tense and addresses contemporary migratory culture. In four groups of videos, the exhibition tries to achieve two, seemingly contradictory, goals at once: to celebrate the positive aspects of the cultural transformations migration has brought about in European – here, Russian – culture, and to understand, and sympathise with, the difficulties migrants experience upon entering that culture. The first goal is meant to benefit in the first place people who are used to European culture and sometimes ill at ease with the current mass migration.


Foregrounding the conceptual, aesthetic and sensual pleasure these transformations offer, the videos aim to encourage a positive, indeed festive mood. The second is meant to benefit in the first place immigrants who feel met with suspicion, tension, or even outright hostility. Here, sympathy may help to change a reticent ambiance into a hospitable one. In both cases, the move towards the other as the exhibition title has it, stands for an outstretched hand, a keen interest, a desire for encounters, a joyful and fearless wish to endorse change as liveliness, not as threat. It is in that interest in change – the key term of history – that this project joins the two others.


For further background see – http://www.miekebal.org/


17 June 2011: Graduate Symposium OSK/PMK, Radboud University Nijmegen

During the Graduate Symposium, MA and Research MA students will present their (thesis) research results. This is includes both ‘work in progress’ and recently completed studies in the field of the visual arts and architecture of the modern period (after 1789) or topics related to this focus area. The presentations are focused on specific research topics as well as matters of demarcation, formulating research questions, methods, theoretical frameworks and positioning oneself as a researcher in the field.


In correlation with current developments in the academic climate, the intent of this symposium is to stimulate and cultivate a national graduate culture, in which lively debates and exchange of ideas take place on various issues in the field of the modern and contemporary arts.




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