KEYNOTE SPEAKER | Dr. Miguel de Baca, Senior Program Officer, Getty Foundation
MODERATOR | Dr. Anna Lovatt, Associate Professor of Art History at SMU
The Rachofsky Collection hosts the 2022 graduate symposium with Southern Methodist University graduate art and art history students presenting on the theme of Affective Minimalism, related to the current exhibition Tender Objects: Emotion and Sensation after Minimalism, curated in collaboration with SMU Department of Art History. The term Affective Minimalism announces this symposium’s intention to challenge the enduring presumption that Minimalist works are inherently dispassionate, objective, and nonreferential. While several artists did indeed react against the autobiographical exuberance found in the previous decade’s Abstract Expressionist works, for some, to create art linked to Minimalism’s tenets did not mean sensitive engagement with audiences had to be erased. The subtleties that these artists captured through reduced forms and seemingly objective practices instead enable the activation of fleeting, indefinable emotional responses from viewers.
The term “affect” has been used by theorists including Sara Ahmed, Brian Massumi, and Silvan Tomkins to address those aspects of experience that resist verbal articulation, including sensations, atmospheres, and emotions. The affective, as described by Gregory J. Seigworth and Melissa Gregg, is, at its most anthropomorphic, “the name we give to those forces — visceral forces beneath, alongside, or generally other than conscious knowing, vital forces insisting beyond emotion….” It marks a body’s encounter with and belonging to the world.