Call for Submissions

Surface Tension

For our third edition, the Journal of Art Criticism at Barnard seeks submissions of art and art criticism, particularly work that conceptualizes surfaces—material as surface, skin as material, the tactility of surfaces, bodily sensations evoked through surfaces, and surfaces as screens or as tools for masking. The following prompt may guide submissions, though other topics within contemporary art may also be addressed.

In a sociopolitical context that is fraught with tensions both visible and invisible, surfaces play an important role in evoking (or masking) such frictions. The aesthetics and politics of artists’ chosen materials lend layers of meaning to the works they construct. Materials can recall corporeal containers and bodily experiences, or explore relationships between art and objects, a work’s life cycle, a material’s history and objecthood.

In her 2014 publication, Surface: Matters of Aesthetics, Materiality, and Media, Giuliana Bruno argues that materiality is centered in the relations between substances rather than the materials in isolation. Felix Ensslin and Charlotte Klink’s Aesthetics of the Flesh also posits that skin-like surfaces transcend their material conditions toward more spiritual embodiments. Additionally, Petra Lange-Berndt writes on the ways in which “materials obstruct, disrupt, or interfere with social norms, emerging as impure formations and messy, unstable substances.”

What role do surfaces play in a work of art? What tensions arise when one can or cannot touch a work of art? How might internal identities and lived experiences be embodied externally, through tactile materials? How do abstracted representations express what it is like to live in certain bodies? How do artists reveal things that are hidden by surfaces? What is at stake when artists make things that are (in)tangible, or evoke physical sensations? Why do we need the physical?

Submissions will be due January 23, 2018.

View our submission guidelines here.

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