Call for Papers

Conference – Der Blaue Reiter

Tate Modern, UK, 25 – 26 November 2011

This conference celebrates the centenary of the first exhibition of Der Blaue Reiter. This occasion presents a perfect opportunity to review and extend existing scholarship in the field of German Expressionist studies. The formation of what is commonly, though erroneously, referred to as the German Expressionist ‘artists’ group’ Der Blaue Reiter, was signalled on 18 December 1911 at the Galerie Thannhauser in Munich via an exhibition enigmatically entitled ‘The First Exhibition of the Editors of the Blaue Reiter’. This was the first of what turned out to be only two exhibitions held by an emergent group of avant-garde artists organised by Wassily Kandinsky and Franz Marc. The title of the first exhibition pointed towards what was to be one of the artists’ most significant group achievements, the production of the almanac Der Blaue Reiter, published in Munich in 1912 by avant-garde supporter and publisher, Reinhard Piper.

Der Blaue Reiter was a global project encompassing a variety of art forms and essays on an international scale, including work as diverse as Japanese art, Russian folk art, children’s drawings, Bavarian glass painting and artworks by contemporary European artists, musicians and writers. Such diverse content suggests a number of related research questions that remain important to scholars, but that have not been previously addressed together. The conference will seek to establish the divergent as well as related patterns of intention, outcome and influence presented under the name Der Blaue Reiter and explore its legacies for today. We hope the conference may provoke a wide range of responses, from the historical to the speculative. While we expect some presentations to address the specific historical moment, or the influence of Der Blaue Reiter on subsequent art, others may engage key issues raised by Der Blaue Reiter such as their significance for the international, interdisciplinary and intermedia nature of art today.

We invite proposals for 25-minute presentations from academics, graduate students, artists and other professionals in the field that may consider any of the following questions:

  • What were the historical concepts, practices and precedents in which Der Blaue Reiter was grounded?
  • How were Der Blaue Reiter almanac and the related exhibitions assembled? What was the nature of key individual contributions? How did those contributions cohere and/or differ?
  • What are the legacies of Der Blaue Reiter a hundred years on? Are there still ways in which it relates to contemporary forms of art and understanding and if so, how?

Please submit abstracts of up to 500 words together with a 100 word biography by 28 February 2011 to Amber McClory, with “CfP Der Blaue Reiter” in the subject line.

This conference is part of a two-day event exploring German modernism jointly organised by Tate Modern, The University of Bristol and Cardiff School of Art and Design.

Supported by The Bristol Gallery, Bristol