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The Artist's Hand: Technology in Practice at Harvard Art Museums

  • Deknatel Hall, Harvard Art Museums 32 Quincy Street Cambridge, MA, 02138 United States (map)

Panel discussion 1: The Artist’s Hand: The Role of the Artist’s Hand in Artistic Practice

Moderator—Wang Zan, Deputy-director, China Academy of Art

Eugene Wang: Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Professor of Asian Art, Harvard University

Andrew Raftery: Professor of Printmaking, Rhode Island School of Design

Daniel Heyman: Senior Critic, Rhode Island School of Design

An event uniting artists and art historians in an exploration of the role the artist’s hand in contemporary artistic practice—featuring demonstrations by experts in calligraphy, painting, printmaking, papermaking, and more

Artistic process is a relentless negotiation of new technologies and norms in relation to what has come before. “The Artist’s Hand: Technology in Practice” seeks to explore the role of the individual artist’s hand in relation to current trends in medium, technique, and art historical analysis. In the age of digital production and reproduction, what role does the hand play in the formation of an original artwork? How do artists negotiate new trajectories within the boundaries of tradition? Despite the close relationship between artistic production and art historical analysis, a gap often exists between practicing artists, modes of creation, and scholarly interpretation. There is a continued need for sustained international dialogue between artisans and art historians on the forefront of these issues. “The Artist’s Hand: Technology in Practice” is a three-day conference uniting professionals from top programs around the world. The 2016 event is centered on academic panels and artist workshops exploring the artist’s hand within the specific context of ink, design, print, and paper.

The “The Artist’s Hand” is uniquely situated to generate global significance. The Harvard University History of Art and Architecture Department is working in conjunction with two sister institutions: the China Academy of Art and the Rhode Island School of Design. These prestigious art institutions are contributing experts and students working creatively on issues of material and technique. The participation of these partner institutions offers a rare opportunity for in-depth access to meaningful hands-on experience in an academic workshop setting, while providing special access to the contemporary technologies and techniques of East Asia. These topics are designed to motivate scholars and practitioners to consider how their work shapes international artistic discourse. The Harvard Art Museums will host two days of academic panels, master classes, and demonstrations. The final day of programming will consist of studio visits and workshops hosted by practicing experts in the fields of printmaking, papermaking, and painting at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD).

Following a successful Harvard event, the Chinese Academy of Art has offered to host a sister conference in Spring 2017 to bring artists and art historians to Hangzhou, China, to extend the global reach of the conference. Alongside an academic event, the Academy will provide the opportunity for artists to exhibit their work in a joint gallery show. This event will further promote dialogue within the international community of artists and art historians. It will also provide a continued forum for understanding the artistic techniques and practices of the non-Western world. “The Artist’s Hand: Technology in Practice,” proposes a truly interdisciplinary, international, and inter-institutional event. Broad in implication, it is our hope that this event will bring much needed attention to intersections of technology and traditional practice, their relevance in art-interpretation, and the importance of addressing these issues in the context of the non-Western world. By bringing together young artists, art historians, and experts, it is our hope to create a sustained international dialogue amongst the next generation of professionals.