Conference: Reframing the '90s

Alice Maher, Cell, 1991 (detail).

Alice Maher, Cell, 1991 (detail).

Reframing the '90s: Historicising late 20th-century Irish Practice, 2-3 Nov, 2018

Reframing the 90s: Historicising Irish Art Practice was a two-day programme of presentations, panel discussions and interactive dialogue that focused on the arts landscape in Ireland at the close of the millennium. The event brought together art historians, curators, writers and artists from all over the country to discuss the varied topography of the art world during the 1990s, establishing a more nuanced sense of the variations within Irish art at this pivotal moment. Key questions for this conference focused on understanding this period historically, thinking through the influence of the political and social landscape of 1990s Ireland, considering the ways in which the international art world was both influential and increasingly accessible, and examining the role played by artists’ groups, collectives and networks within and without the island of Ireland.

The conference was organised by Sarah Kelleher (UCC) and Dr Rachel Warriner (Courtauld), who operate as curators Pluck Projects, to coincide with Alice Maher’s exhibition of new work Vox Materia at the Crawford Art Gallery, Cork, and was generously supported by the  History of Art department UCC; the School of History, UCC; the department of Film and Screen Media, UCC; Cork City Council Arts Office; CIT CCAD; the Crawford Art Gallery; and the Lewis Glucksman Gallery. The conference received significant attention before the event and this was reflected in the audiences. It was well attended by a range of interested groups including UCC students from History of Art, English and Film and Screen Media, local and national artists, and those working in both local and national arts institutions. In the audience were figures such as Pat T. Murphy the director of the RHA, Dublin and Ruth Carrol, curator at the RHA, James Harrold, the City Arts Officer from Galway City Council, Miguel Amado, the Director of Cork Printmakers, Mary McCarthy, the director of the Crawford Art Gallery, Livia Paldi, curator at the Project Arts Centre, Dublin,  Maeve Mulrennan, curator at the Galway Arts Centre.

Conference Schedule

Friday 2 November, CACSSS Seminar Room, UCC

10.00 – 10.30: Introduction: Rachel Warriner and Sarah Kelleher

10.30 – 13.00: Gender and Sexuality in the ‘90s

  • Dr Jane Humphries (UCD): How the Domestic God/dess Awakened the Sleeping Giant of Feminist Art Practice and Discourse from the early 1990s
  • Ellen Byrne (Glucksman Gallery): The Role of National Identity and Memory in Representations of the Female Body as a Contested Site in Contemporary Irish Art: Alice Maher and Amanda Coogan
  • Pádraig Spillane (independent): Why ‘Now’ is Not Enough? – An artist’s response to the work of Billy Quinn
  • Dr Kate Antosik Parsons (UCD): Changing States and Becoming Beloved: The Maternal in the Work of Pauline Cummins from the Early 1990s

13.00 – 14.00: Lunch break

14.00 – 14.45: Danny McCarthy in conversation with Dr Áine Phillips (Burren College of Art)

14.45 – 15.00: Break

15.00 – 17.15: Exhibitions/institutions/collectives

  • Matt Packer (Director, EVA): the emergence of the ‘curator’ and curatorial discourse through the specific example of EV+A / EVA
  • Sarah Kelleher (UCC): In a State: Challenging Identities; Curating and the Politics of Cultural Representation
  • Dr Rachel Warriner (Courtauld Inst of Art): ‘The Necessary Museum’: Establishing Ireland’s Modern Art Museum
  • Valerie Connor (DIT): Blue Funk n. inf., Chiefly Brit. a state of great terror (1990-1999)

17.30 – 18.15: Alice Maher in conversation with Fiona Kearney (Director, Glucksman Gallery)

18.30 -20.00: Conference dinner

20.00-21.30: Vivienne Dick – Friday night Screening and Q & A with Pat Murphy (artist-in-residence, Film and Screen Media, UCC)

Saturday 3rd November, Crawford Art Gallery Lecture Theatre

11-12: Dr Fionna Barber (Manchester School of Art) – Keynote address

12.45-2.15: Roundtable on Irish art in the ‘90s with Alice Maher, Danny McCarthy, Vivienne Dick, Fionna Barber and Valerie Connor.

History of Art

5 Perrott Avenue, University College Cork, CORK, Republic of Ireland.