Call for Papers
Made in the USA: The History and Legacy of Cold War Art & Design
(2nd Annual Undergraduate Art History Conference at UMass Dartmouth)
Showcased at the 1959 American national exhibition in Moscow, the work
of American designers Buckminster Fuller, Charles&Ray Eames, and George
Nelson, among others, epitomized the power and prestige of the USA at
the height of the Cold War. Meanwhile, the art of Jackson Pollock and
other Abstract Expressionists were being utilized as ideological
weapons through the traveling exhibitions of the Marshall plan.
concrete and linear and blockish forms, this architectural style can be
found in structures such as the J. Edgar Hoover Building in Washington
D.C (designed by Charles F. Murphy and Associates, 1965), the Yale
School of Architecture (designed by Paul Rudolph, 1963), the Boston
City Hall (designed by Kallmann McKinnell & Knowles, 1968), and here on
the main campus of the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth (designed
by Paul Rudolph, 1968). Although fashionable at the height of the Cold
War(1950s-1970s), Brutalism was later characterized as unpleasant and
cold and became the subject of intense scrutiny. In recent years, the
controversy has grown so prevalent that many of these buildings are
threatened with demolition.
This narrative is representative of a larger trajectory whereby the
material culture of the Cold War lingers on in our time in often
controversial and paradoxical forms. The genre of the disaster film
which was born during the Cold War has helped lay the groundwork for
representations of contemporary disaster in cinema. The design elements
of the Cold War continue to resurface in recent television shows such
as Mad Men and the recent Cold War drama, The Americans, or the
Futuristic settings of Planet of the Apes.
The Art History Department of the College of Visual and Performing Arts
(CVPA) at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth seeks proposals on
the topic of Cold War architecture, design, art, and visual culture.
We invite papers from undergraduates as well as graduate students—in
all categories of Art/Architectural History and related fields,
including BFA/MFA and BArch/MArch programs—which will comprise a broad
range of methodologies and media (painting, installation, performance,
film, video, digital media, comic books, and so on). We also welcome
proposals on the presentation of one’s creative design or artwork.
Possible topics include but are not limited to the following themes:
- What social, economic, and political factors contributed to the rise
and fall of postwar/Cold War design in America?
- How did artists (e.g., Donald Judd) criticize the military-oriented
mindset of the Cold War?
- How did Cold War design in the U.S. help set the stage for similar
movements across the globe?
- Is protecting the design legacy of the Cold War era worthwhile?
- How does popular media contribute to the "return" of the Cold War
material culture and why?
- How do the design elements of the Cold War resurface in recent
television shows and popular films?
- How has American visual culture engaged with the anxieties of the
- Are the widespread criticisms of the prevalent architectural style of
the Cold War (Brutalism) legitimate?
Please submit a 200-word abstract to umassdarhyahoo.com by Monday,
March 11, 2013.
Submission Format: all submissions must include your name and contact
information, institution, and a titled description of your project.
Send a .doc/.docx, .pdf or .jpg file to umassdarhyahoo.com.
Name of Organization:
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth,
College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA)
Time and Place of the Conference:
Claire T. Carney Library, Room 314; University of Massachusetts,
Dartmouth. 285 Old Westport Road, Dartmouth, MA 02747.
Thursday, May 2, 2013 from 1:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Lodging will be arranged at no cost to participants who travel from far
Light refreshments will be provided during the conference at no charge.
Conference Type: Undergraduate/Graduate
1. Timothy Rohan, Associate Professor of Architecture and Art
History at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst - Bay State
Renaissance: Paul Rudolph’s 1960s Projects for Boston and Southeastern
Massachusetts (with discussant Anna Dempsey, Associate Professor of Art
History at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth).
2. Jennifer McGrory, Architect - UMass Dartmouth Claire T. Carney
Questions? Please email Lauren Scharf at Lscharfumassd.edu.
CFP: Made in the USA (Dartmouth, 2 May 13). In: ArtHist.net, Feb 2, 2013 (accessed May 25, 2022), <https://arthist.net/archive/4631>.