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Call for Papers for 2008 Modernist Studies Association in Nashville, Nov. 13-16.

‘Manufacturing Scandal: Oskar Kokoschka and the Marketing of Modernism’

Recent research on modernism has focused on economic aspects of its placement in a market transformed by the proliferation of illustrated periodicals and private galleries. The recognition that these media were dependent on modern methods of advertising and publicity questions the validity of many dichotomies that shaped earlier theories of modernism, including high culture vs. mass culture, art vs. kitsch, applied art vs. high art, modernism vs. avant-garde. The life and multimedia work of Oskar Kokoschka present a paradigmatic example of this dynamic process. Whether it was submitting paintings to a show that provoked critics to brand the unknown artist a barbarian…staging a play in which the invisible wall separating audience and stage dissolved in a riot that warranted police intervention…publishing a deliberately misogynistic drawing on the cover of an upstart periodical…or appearing in public with a life-sized, anatomically-correct doll modeled after a celebrity diva, Kokoschka mastered the market for modern art by staging scandals that produced reams of free publicity. This panel revises the canonical understanding of Kokoschka’s work by investigating how the artist’s marketing of his modern art blazed a trail for the next generation of artists and writers who followed his economically successful strategy of striking a blow in the face of public taste.

Papers invited from any relevant discipline that investigate OK’s art/life as it relates to…
…novelty as a promotional strategy that fosters formal innovation.
…scandal as performance medium that brings art back into life.
…modernism’s secret, back-door path from applied art to high art.
…his role as the modernist-who-made-it in the ‘Kunstlumpdebatte’
…other materialist analyses of how modernists marketed their art.

Please send 150-word abstract and 100-word bio to Brent McBride at <[log in to unmask]> by March 31.

Douglas Brent McBride
Visiting Scholar
Department of German Studies
Cornell University

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