Amelia Jones Lecture



Ulises Carrión,Gossip, Scandal, and Good Manners, 1981; video of performative action

Encountering: The Conceptual Body, or a Theory of When, Where, and How Art “Means”

A public lecture by Amelia Jones, the Robert A. Day Professor, Roski School of Art and Design, University of Southern California

In histories  of western contemporary art conceptualism has been staged as a very separate movement from that of body or performance art, and the two modes of production are seen as driven by completely different concerns. Focusing on the process of encountering that certain art practices put into play, I argue that, from our current point of view in which we are rethinking the value of the radical rights movements of the 1960s and 1970s, the most complex and productive works in this period crossed over conceptual and embodied concerns in ways that began to transform the basic question of art’s value, meaning, significance, and role in society. Attending to the tensions among concept, body, event, and “art” that surface around 1960 in the Western world is thus the most effective way to understand how art becomes “event” in the sense of potentially shifting larger ways of thinking and being.

Amelia Jones is the Robert A. Day Professor at the Roski School of Art and Design at University of Southern California. A feminist curator and a theorist and historian of art and performance, her recent publications include Seeing Differently: A History and Theory of Identification and the Visual Arts (2012), Perform Repeat Record: Live Art in History (2012), co-edited with Adrian Heathfield, the edited volume Sexuality (2014), and, co-edited with Erin Silver, Otherwise: Imagining Queer Feminist Art Histories (2016). Her exhibition Material Traces: Time and the Gesture in Contemporary Art took place in 2013 in Montreal and she programmed the events Trans-Montréal (2015) in that city, followed by a related publication “On Trans/Performance,” a special issue of Performance Research (2016). Her Live Artists Live performance and conference program took place at USC in 2016. Jones is currently working on a retrospective of the work of Ron Athey and a book tentatively entitled In Between Subjects: A Critical Genealogy of Queer Performance.