CIHA 2016 in Beijing

34th World Congress of Art History

About History Press Release Sessions Schedule Activities Participants Venue Discussion Registration Closed


Schedule of Session 4.pdf


Schedule of Session 4.jpg

The organizing committee for the 2016 Congress presented the following for Session 4:


“This session is about how a culture understands the function of art. For this topic, we recommend a discussion focusing on the functions of works of art or artifacts and how their function as artworks and artifacts is determined by the social roles that they play.”


The terms Appreciation and Utility and their cognates each have long histories in many cultures in regard to the contested terms “artwork” and “artifact/artefact.” What are those histories and what is the present discourse about the terms -- within individual societies, cultures, and in a global construct? How have these terms affected the production, use, marketing, exchange, consumption, and reception of “artwork” and “artifact” in the past and in the present? How have the elements of science and technology affected the essence or culture process of Appreciation and Utility within societies of varying degrees of industrialization? How have specific productions affected the meaning or use of Appreciation and Utility in the past and in the present? Are the terms limiting or unrestrictive? How do the terms Appreciation and Utility enrich the concepts of art history on a global scale or in cross-cultural understanding?


Proposals: Case studies of individual objects, groups or classes of objects or of an art category (e.g. conceptual art or decorative art) that elucidate the theme are one way to address Session 4. Has the object/objects or category been appreciated or valued differently over time and/or within different groups? Are there notable cases that have challenged classification as “art,” “artwork” or “artifact/artefact”? Another approach might be to concentrate on a key artist, artisan (in every sense of the term), author, publication, public exhibition, museum display, or monument. Yet another would be to consider the role of a philosopher, or of the discipline of the history of art, anthropology (including folklore), sociology, or archaeology in the consideration of an individual object/groups or classes of objects, art category, monument, display or exhibition.