Beyond Kandinsky: Revisiting the Spiritual in Art

Posted by on Mar 27, 2011 in Art education, Events, Faculty | No Comments

Starting this Wednesday, March 30, VCS Department Chair Tom Huhn and I will both be participating in Beyond Kandinsky: Revisiting the Spiritual in Art, a 10-day online symposium sponsored by the BFA Fine Arts Department and organized and moderated by artist, writer and faculty member Taney Roniger and writer and filmmaker Eric Zechman. The symposium commemorates the 100th anniversary of the publication of Wassily Kandinsky’s groundbreaking book/manifesto On the Spiritual in Art, and will bring together a group of artists, historians, filmmakers, writers, and philosophers to revisit its concerns and claims.

The symposium will be divided into a series of sessions, each of which will explore a broad theme related to Kandinsky’s book and the role of spirituality in contemporary art. Session topics include: The Spiritual Then and Now; The Changing Shape of Art; Art and Its Audience; The Artist in Society; and a concluding session to be held on April 8th. (To see the session schedule, visit this page at the symposium’s web site.)

In addition to the online discussion, the symposium will include a screening of four works by avant-garde filmmaker and symposium participant Nathaniel Dorsky: Sarabande (2008), Winter (2008), Compline (2009) and Aubade (2010). The films will be shown on Tuesday, April 5, 7pm at the SVA Theatre at 333 West 23rd Street in New York City. The screening is free and open to the public.

Other symposium participants include and BFA Fine Arts Department Chair Suzanne Anker; scholar, critic and MFA Art Criticism and Writing Department Chair David Levi Strauss; SVA alumna and art historian Anney Bonney (MFA 2010 Computer Art); media historian Deirdre Boyle; James Elkins, professor of art history, theory and criticism at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; and many others. A complete set of participant bios is located at this link.

In order to introduce themselves and set out their basic perspectives on Kandinsky’s book and the symposium’s other topics, each participant has prepared a brief introductory statement. You can find them on this page (my statement is at here, and Tom Huhn’s is here). In addition, separate essays by moderators Taney Roniger and Eric Zechman set out some of the symposium’s deeper thematic currents and philosophical or art-historical concerns.

For a lot more information about “Beyond Kandinsky: Revisiting the Spiritual in Art,” including synopses and schedule information, check out the symposium’s web site (

Visual & Critical Studies