Call for papers

‘Regarding Nicolas Calas’

Portrait of André Breton by André Masson – invitation for the colloquium “Posthumous Life of Surrealism” (The Elena and Nicolas Calas archive, Nordic Library at Athens)

Poet, critic, curator, and theoretician Nicolas Calas’s work spanned the formation of modernism in Greece, the theoretical and political orientation of French Surrealism in the late 1930s, Surrealism’s American interlude in the 1940s, and the directions of postwar art in the US. This symposium seeks to open Calas’s theories and practice to a broader public and invites proposals to reflect upon the contexts of his theoretical, critical, poetic output, as well as his curatorial practice and involvement within the art world. Addressing this important yet for a time neglected or mythologised figure of the transcontinental avant-garde, this symposium aims to reappraise Calas and present new work on under-researched angles and hitherto unexplored connections with artists, critics, and scholars of his own time. The intention is to explore the important interfaces of Calas’s writings on art, theory, his poetry and politics, and engage with him as a ‘nomadic sage’ moving across and within different cultures and critical idioms.

Plenary speaker: Mary Ann Caws, Distinguished Professor of Comparative Literature, English and French, The Graduate School of the City University of New York.

Please send proposals (250 words) for 20-minute papers together with a short bio note to Paper submission extended deadline: 15 May 2016

Possible lines of enquiry ‘regarding Nicolas Calas’ may include:

• Politics, poetry and psychoanalysis and their influence on Calas’s thought and practice
• Surrealist affinities and Calas’s eclecticism and unique voice
• The American art scene during the Cold War
• The contexts of Abstract Expressionism, Calas’s participation at The Club, his exchange with Barnett Newman and other up-and-coming artists of the European and American art scenes such as Jasper Johns, Marcel Broodthaers, Chryssa, Takis, George Brecht, Fluxus, John Cage et al.
• Calas’s writings for art magazines such as View, Tiger’s Eye, Artforum, Art Magazine et al.
Calas in the Village Voice
• Calas as educator
• The influence of anthropology and his collaborations with Margaret Mead and Ruth Benedict
• Calas’s relation to Breton
• Calas’s relation to Bataille and the Collège de sociologie
• Calas as collector, curator and art director of various galleries, including his close relationship with Peggy Guggenheim, Marian Goodman, Lawrence Alloway, and other gallerists, curators and collectors
• His unfinished magnus opus on Hieronymus Bosch
• Calas across and against the grain: affiliations and genealogies from St Paul to the Beats
• Calas and the baroque