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Multiple Modernisms

A Symposium on Globalism in Postwar Art is organized by Louisiana Research as part of the programme Multiple Modernities. The symposium Multiple Modernisms will take place at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art on 2-3 November 2017.

The symposium will be held in English. Accordingly, the information on this site will be in English only. See below for programme and registration.


Recent years have heralded a paradigm shift in the way we think about modernity and aesthetic modernism as expressed in notions of multiple modernities (Eisenstadt 2000), global modernisms, and even planetary modernisms (Friedman 2015). In particular, the crucial years of the mid-20th century after the demarcation line of 1945 have been subject to reassessment and new interest in academic studies as well as in curatorial activities. The canonical understanding of the formation of new artistic paradigms during this period has been enriched by addressing parallel artistic shifts from a global perspective and how these alternatively depart or are informed by the former.

This posits a central challenge for academic art history as well as for museums of modern and contemporary art: How to understand the heritage of twentieth century art in the contemporary, globalized reality? We propose to see the postwar era as a key moment in the globalization of art with new contexts and circulations, as well as divides and controversies. This points to the significance of the postwar era and new conceptions of modernism, but also raises questions. Why is this happening now, is modernity multiple, and how can a multiple modernism be presented in the museum and how can it be researched? The aim of the conference is to pool ideas around this remarkable field and put forward possible answers and establish roads ahead: for art history as well as for the exhibition world.


Louisiana invites art historical academics as well as museum professionals and curators for a two-day exchange of research and critical debate on global modernism(s). The aim of this international conference is to rethink the arts, artists, museums and mechanisms and movements of the postwar art world 1945-1970 in light of global orientations through presentations by leading researchers, as well as by emerging scholars. The program combines keynote lectures with shorter presentations selected through an internationally distributed open call. The conference will be supplemented by a master class and young researcher’s colloquium for Ph.D. students.

The starting point for the conference is how the world must be seen as more consistently modernized after 1945 in political, social, geographical and cultural ways – and as in much closer contact with global contemporaneity. We are thus encouraging analyses of the arts as different expressions of a fundamentally modernized world, as vision as well as condition, especially in the globalized sense of modernism embedded in (multiple) modernity; of art engaged in modern world-making, not outside it, with the complexities, controversies and questions this implies. The Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, founded in 1958, forms an especially relevant and inspiring scene for the discussion of the postwar era.


  • Terry Smith, Professor, University of Pittsburgh, USA.
  • Sam Bardaouil, curator and researcher, co-founder of Art Reoriented.
  • Romy Golan, Professor, City University of New York, USA.
  • Masha Chlenova, curator and expert on Russian Avant-garde.
  • Hiroko Ikegami, Associate Professor, Kobe University, Japan.
  • Pamela M. Lee, Professor, Stanford University. 
  • Michael Sheridan, Architect and author of the forthcoming book on the architecture of Louisiana.



8.45-9.30 Registration and coffee.

9.30-10.00 Welcome: Poul Erik Tøjner, Director, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. Opening remarks by organizers.

10.00-11.00 Opening keynote by Terry Smith (University of Pittsburgh): Multiple Modernisms to Global Contemporaneity: Where, When, How, Why, and In Whose Interests?

11.00-12.30 Session 1: TRAVEL AND MIGRATION
Art history and musealization tend to create regular places for artists and phenomena. But what about the journeys, exiles, and migrations of individuals as well as groups, objects and ideas?

  • Karen Kurczynski (University of Massachusetts Amherst): Cobra Itineraries: Comparative Perspectives on Ferlov, Mancoba and Tajiri.
  • Sooran Choi (City University of New York and Fashion Institute of Technology, The State University of New York): Fluxus, Revisited in Global Context: Fluxus in South Korea in the 1960s and 1993, the Meta-Avant-Garde.
  • Nikolas Drosos (Independent Scholar, Toronto): Fellow Travelers: Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros in Postwar Eastern Europe.

12.30-13.30 Lunch in The Boat House.

13.00-13.15 Introduction in the exhibition BEING THERE by Mathias Ussing Seeberg, Curator at Louisiana.

13.30-14.30 Keynote by Masha Chlenova (Stedelijk Museum): Traveler’s Tales: Alfred Barr, Soviet Union and International Modernism in the Post-War Period.

Curated exhibitions and collections presented in new museums were an important feature of the global postwar art, staging meetings between avantgardistic experiments, institutional traditions and the public.

  • Katarina Wadstein Macleod (Södertörn University Stockholm): Curating at the Centre of the Periphery: Lunds Konsthall in the 1960s.
  • Camila Maroja (Colgate University): Showcasing Brazilian Modernity? The Case of the Museum of Art of São Paulo (MASP).
  • Nadine Siegert (Iwalewahaus, Universität Bayreuth): African Modernism and Entangled Collections – a critical reconstruction of collecting activities between Kampala, Frankfurt and Bayreuth.

16.00-16.30 Coffee break in The Boat House.

16.30-17.30 Keynote by Romy Golan (City University of New York): Renato Guttuso’s Boogie Woogie, A Geopolitical Tableau.

17.30-18.30 Keynote by Sam Bardaouil, curator and researcher, co-founder of Art Reoriented: Surrealism in Egypt and the making of the exhibition Art et Liberté.

19-22 Conference dinner in The Boat House (sign-up needed before 31 October).


9.00-9.30 Registration and coffee.

9.30-10.30 Keynote by Hiroko Ikegami (Kobe University): New Inspirations, New Conflicts: Robert Rauschenberg in the 1980's.

10.30-12.30 Session 3: NEW CITIES – NEW LOCATIONS
The privileges of old-world metropoles are being challenged by new centres and spatial connections: which cities and sites can direct our attention to different narratives of becoming modern?

  • Kate Cowcher (University of Maryland): Hyphenated Modernisms as Prelude to Revolution in Ethiopia. Sabrina Moura: Between 'rootedness and openness:' the Dakar School of visual arts and the modern project for post-independence.
  • Sabrina Moura (University of Campinas Sao Paulo): Between 'rootedness and openness:' the Dakar School of visual arts and the modern project for post-independence Senegal.
  • Sarah C. Johnson (Freie Universität Berlin): Archaeology's Multiple Modernisms: uncovering modern art's role in shaping archaeology in mid-twentieth century Iraq.
  • Karen Stock (Winthrop University): Blinded by Mao: The Challenge of Seeing Modernism in the Art of the People's Republic.

12.30-13.30 Lunch in The Boat House.

The question of commensurability between the manifold phenomena is central and inevitable: Was pop art really global? Can we speak of one modernism, or of alternative or multiple moderns?

  • Sofia Gotti (The Courtauld Institute of Art, London): Semiotics of the Living Room: South American Proto-Feminist furniture by Teresa Burga and Beatriz Gonzalez.
  • Mariola V. Alvarez (Temple University, Philadelphia): Calligraphic Abstraction and Postwar Art.
  • Susanne Altmann (Curator and author, Dresden): East Looking East. Geometrical abstraction and architectural practice subverts ideologies.

15.00-15.30 Coffee Break.

15.30-16.30 Keynote by Pamela M. Lee (Stanford University): 1973: or, the Arché of Neoliberalism.

16.30-17.00 Presentation on the history and architecture of the Louisiana Museum by Michael Sheridan.

17.00-17.15 Outro and Closing remarks.



Registration for the symposium has been closed.


  • Kristian Handberg, Postdoc at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art and The University of Copenhagen
  • Marie Laurberg, Curator at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art
  • Flavia Frigeri, Teaching Fellow, UCL - University College London (former Curator, Tate Modern)
  • Karen Westphal Eriksen, Postdoc, The University of Copenhagen

Questions about the conference can be addressed to Kristian Handberg at 

The symposium is supported by: Statens Kunstfond, The Carlsberg Foundation, The University of Copenhagen, The New Carlsberg Foundation and Independent Research Fund Denmark.