What do we know about Marcel Broodthaers (1924-1976)? Perusing the publications dedicated to the artist, including more than twenty separate museum monographs, the answer would seem to be both a lot and a little. Beyond the well-worn themes of Institutional Critique, word and image, art world role playing, and nationalism, the canon, as it were, has barely scratched the surface of the more oblique aspects of Broodthaers' oeuvre.
In response, the research group KB45 (Art in Belgium since 1945), Ghent University, in collaboration with the Broodthaers Society of America, Princeton University, will organize a two-part conference with new scholarship and artworks that address the more oblique aspects of Marcel Broodthaers' work. Our aim is to encourage fresh insights and uncover new perspectives on his work that expand upon the already impressive depth of scholarship devoted to this great Belgian artist.
If we take a different look at Broodthaers' work there are many examples of latent themes: his use of strict tonal binaries as poetic devices (white and black, light and shadow); his gendered performances of masculinity and reproduction; his faith and lack of faith in art; and his love of slapstick and Les Pieds Nickelés-type comedy. One of the most fertile of these unexamined aspects, however, is Broodthaers' relationship to America, a place he often referenced and even fantasized about, in part because he never set foot on either continent, North or South.
While the examples cited above and the list below are not exhaustive, the conference solicits contributions taking up any one or combination of these themes in relation to Marcel Broodthaers' oeuvre: a) race; b) class; c) feminism; d) science fiction; e) social media; f) America; g) the city; h) humor; i) violence; j) death.
The two-part conference, scheduled for fall 2024, is organized by Stefaan Vervoort (postdoctoral researcher) and Wouter Davidts (professor) of KB45 (Ghent University), and Joe Scanlan (professor) at Princeton University and founding director of the Broodthaers Society of America, with the support of their respective institutions.