The Society of Fellows at the Rockwell Center for American Visual Studies announces a seminal conference:

March 22 – 24, 2019: Organized by the DB Dowd Modern Graphic History Library and the Norman Rockwell Museum, this symposium brings together scholars from across the humanities and the arts to explore the history, context, and theory of illustration in the United States from the nineteenth century to now.

As a set of practices and a cultural force, illustration emerged in the nineteenth century as a new and distinctly modern phenomenon. A vital component of the visual cultures of advertising, design, publishing, and entertainment, illustration is omnipresent in modern America. Yet its historical, contextual, and theoretical specifics—from modes of production, distribution, reception, and repetition to mandates of communication and consumption—remain relatively unexamined by scholars, art critics, and practitioners. Likewise, a taxonomy of the field—shared definitions of illustration, for example—is lacking. This symposium aims to bring together scholars and researchers across multiple fields including art history, history, visual and material culture studies, American Studies, consumer studies, book arts, childhood studies, literary criticism, media studies, and more who would like to join others in constructive conversations focused on developing the emergent field of illustration studies.

Conference Schedule

Welcome/Opening Remarks from Denise Stephens, Vice Provost and University Librarian, D.B. Dowd and Stephanie Plunkett: Overview of Symposium Organization & Goals
Chair: Christopher Lukasik
Speaker: Michael Lobel, “Defining Illustration: An Art Historian’s View.” Panel_1_Lobel-pdf
Speaker: Jennifer Greenhill, “Illustration without Illustration.”
Speaker: Whitney Sherman, “Hidden in Plain Sight: How We Live with Illustration.” Panel_1_Sherman-pdf
Speaker: Jesse Kowalski, “Inventing America: Rockwell and Warhol.” Panel_1_Kowalski-pdf
Welcome remarks by Holden Thorp, Provost and Rita Levi-Montalcini Distinguished University Professor, Departments of Chemistry and Medicine
Chair: Erika Doss
Speaker: Christina Michelon, “Fragmented and Fugitive: Illustration’s Afterlives in the Antebellum United States.” Panel_2_Michelon-pdf
Speaker: Baird Jarman, “The Trouble with Thomas Nast.” Panel_2_Jarman-pdf
Speaker: Heidi Kolk, “Illustration and the Visual-Material Politics of Slum Tourism, 1870-1890.” Panel_2_Kolk-pdf
Chair: D.B. Dowd
Speaker: Lenore Miller, “Tony Sarg, America’s Puppet Master: Commerce and Fantasy in Twentieth-Century American Popular Culture.” Panel_3_Miller-pdf
Speaker: Roderick Mills, “Illustration as an Expanded Field of Practice: A Speculative Discourse.” Panel_3_Mills-pdf
Speaker: Brendan Leach, “Cross Listed: Illustration and Cultural Context.” Panel_3_Leach.pdf
Chair: Stephanie Plunkett, “Museums, Preservation, and Scholarship: Illustration History Online.”
Speaker: Roger Reed, “A New Data-Architecture Tool for Illustration Exploration.”
Speaker: Elizabeth Seaton, “The Curry Illustrations Project.” Panel_4_Seaton.pdf
Speaker: Jaleen Grove, “Old Texts/New Data: The Canon According to Illustration Experts, 1830-1970.” Panel_4_Grove.pdf
Chair: Christopher Lukasik
Speaker: James Peck, “Image/Text: Visualizing Indian Territory in the 1880s.” Panel_5_Peck-pdf
Speaker: Stephen Mandravelis, “Tantalizing Obtainability: The Illustrated Agricultural Press and the Re-Envisioning of the American Farmscape.” Panel_5_Mandravelis-pdf
Speaker: Ryan Hartley-Smith, “Yellow Journalism in the United States and the Emergence of Cuban Anti-Imperialist Cartoons.” Panel_5_Hartley-Smith-pdf
Speaker: Jane Dini, “Maxfield Parrish and the Magic of Arabia in America.” Panel_5_Dini-pdf
Welcome from Carmon Colangelo, Ralph J. Nagel Dean, Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, E. Desmond Lee Professor for Collaboration in the Arts
Chair: Michele Bogart
Speaker: Karen Fang, “Background Artist: Art and Immigration in the Life and Work of Artist Tyrus Wong.”
Speaker: Robyn Phillips-Pendleton, “The Persuasive Power of Illustration on Race and Cultural Identity in America.”
Speaker: Theresa Leininger-Miller, “‘Are They Equal in the Eyes of the Law?’: African American Soldiers in World War I Illustrated Sheet Music.”
Speaker: James Kimble, “Illustrations, Iconotexts, and the Adventures of the Kid in Upper 4.”
Chairs: Erika Doss and Christopher Lukasik
Speaker: Rose Bishop, “A Little Artifice is Our Best Ally: The Flexibility of
Photography, Illustration, and the Teenage Self in Junior Bazaar.” Lightning_Bishop-pdf
Speaker: Erica Bittel, “Re-Imagining the American Civil War: John Steuart Curry’s Illustrations for the Red Badge of Courage and John Brown’s Body.” Lightning_Bittel-pdf
Speaker: Joshua Kopin, “Drawing Speech: The Word Balloon as a Technology of Sound.” Lightning_Kopin-pdf
Speaker: Matthew Ward, “Fadeway Man: The Disappearance of C. Coles Phillips.” Lightning_Ward-pdf
Speaker: James Denison, “Coloring the Mind: Illustrating and Imaging the Fantastic in Early Twentieth-Century Pulp Fiction.” Lightning_Denison-pdf
Chair: Erika Doss
Speaker: Laura Fravel, “A Rose at Harper’s: Elizabeth Shippen Green’s Working Method and Sources.” Panel_7_Fravel-pdf
Speaker: Patricia Scanlan, “‘Her Real Hope Is in Black and White’: The Rise of Women Illustrators in Late-Nineteenth-Century Philadelphia.” Panel_7_Scanlan-pdf
Speaker: Shreyas R. Krishnan, “Becoming Rosie: Rosie the Riveter and Performing Gender.” Panel_7_Krishnan-pdf
Speaker: Margaret Denny, “For Love or Money: Women Photographers and the Illustrative Print” Panel_7_Denny-pdf
Chair: Stephanie Plunkett
Speaker: Michele Bogart Illustration Across Media-pdf
Speaker: Erika Doss
Speaker: Douglas Dowd
Speaker: Christopher Lukasik

LOCATION: Hunter College, CUNY, New York, NY
DATE: Friday, March 27, 2020

Read more about this year’s symposium