Midwest Art History Society
March 21 – 23, 2013
The Midwest Art History Society held its 40th annual Conference in Columbus Ohio, March 21Ė23, 2013. The conference was hosted by the Department of History of Art of The Ohio State University, with additional support from the Wexner Center for the Arts as well as the Columbus Museum of Art. Sessions took place in the state-of-the-art facilities of the recently constructed Ohio Union. Twenty-three thematic and open sessions were be featured, along with a special round-table discussion on appraising as a career path for art historians, co-sponsored by Jacob Fine Art, Chicago and the Appraisers Association of America. Among the thematic sessions were two panels devoted to Mark Rothko and Josiah McElheny, the subjects of special exhibitions at the Columbus Museum of Art and the Wexner Center for the Arts, respectively.
The keynote speaker was Charles Barber, Professor of Art History at the University of Notre Dame, one of the foremost scholars of Early Christian and Byzantine Art. He has written extensively on theories of the image in Byzantium. His publications include Figure and Likeness: On the Limits of Representation in Byzantine Representation (Princeton, 2002), and Contesting the Logic of Painting: Art and Understanding in Eleventh-Century Byzantium (Leiden, 2007). He is also working with his students at Notre Dame on publishing the Snite Museumís collection of Greek and Russian icons.
Columbus is rapidly emerging as one of the leading arts centers in the nation. The Wexner Center, which public building designed by postmodernist architect and theorist Peter Eisenman, has, since its opening in 1989, been regarded as one of the nationís premier venues for the exhibition of contemporary art. The Columbus Museum of Art, which hosted special viewing hours and a reception for conference attendees, boasts a large and encyclopedic permanent collection, with particular strengths in European and American modernism. Moreover, the Short North Arts District, located between OSUís campus and Columbusís downtown, is home to a number of art galleries as well as the cityís best restaurants and trendiest bars and clubs. Among the cityís other attractions are Victorian Village and German Village, two historic residential districts; a number of urban parks, including the recently designed Riverwalk and Columbus Commons as well as Topiary Park, which features a “topiary interpretation” of George Seuratís famous painting, A Sunday on La Grande Jatte; and Nationwide Arena, home to the NHLís Columbus Blue Jackets.