Call for Papers: Design Intervention in American Art History

Call for Papers: Design Intervention

This is a picture of a aluminum chair.

Knoll, Inc., Washington Skeleton Chair, 2013. Nickel-plated die-cast aluminum, steel, 32 1/2 × 18 × 20 1/4 in. Cooper Hewitt, Gift of Knoll, 2015-11-1

American Art, the peer-reviewed journal co-published by the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the University of Chicago Press, seeks papers that answer the question, “What is the place of design in American art history?” In an effort to explore this topic, the journal plans to publish several short, scholarly essays that demonstrate how the history of design can contribute to art history. Our conception of design encompasses objects, places, environments, experiences, systems, and sites shaped by culture. While we are open to a range of historic periods, there is a particular editorial interest in material from the nineteenth century and earlier.

Articles should be argument-driven case studies and/or position papers that incorporate design into the history of art, thus pushing the boundaries of the latter beyond painting, drawing, sculpture, prints, and photography. It is our hope that this intervention will enable future explorations of design in American Art and possibly answer some of the following questions: In the past, how have institutions (schools, museums, publishers, fairs) conceptualized the permeable boundaries between design and art history? When objects traverse these constructed categories, how are those objects and the production and/or consumption of them transformed? When design elements are depicted in art, what does design history reveal about those works? In what ways does including design in art history foster new questions about materials and technology? And how can a focus on design lead to novel ideas about methodology, theory, and historical context?

For consideration, submit an essay of 2,000–2,500 words (including endnotes) by November 1, 2019, to AmericanArtJournal@si.edu. The organizers, David Brody, Professor of Design Studies at Parsons School of Design, and Robin Veder, executive editor of American Art, will work with outside reviewers to facilitate double-blind reviews and to select essays for publication in 2021. Accepted manuscripts will be further workshopped with authors. Send pre-submission inquiries on “Design Intervention” to brodyd@newschool.edu.