This Friday & Saturday: 18th Annual American Arts Conference

Initiatives in Art & Culture is hosting the 18th annual American Art Conference this Friday and Saturday at The Graduate Center, City University of New York on Fifth Avenue.

This year’s conference, entitled Reclaiming American Art, explores artists from 1700 through the 1930’s and beyond now obscure yet who should be re-evaluated, as well as periods in the oeuvres of well-known artists that have been eclipsed by the changing cycles of taste. As each generation of dealers, scholars and collectors emerges, new research is done and new works are discovered — sometimes languishing in the basements of great institutions — and these once-forgotten works resonate as they are brought in tune in new ways with contemporary time and place.

ImageThomas Le Clear, The Itinerants, oil on canvas, 25¼ x 40 in.
Private collection; photo, courtesy, Debra Force Fine Art.

This exploration leads to a consideration of the forces that impact shifts in taste including the market place, museums (through exhibitions and collecting), individual collectors, dealers and the critical establishment. Additional factors that play a role in defining who is part of any given era’s cannon of American art include the amount of work an artist leaves or does not leave behind, the diversity of the artist’s work, as well as the company he or she kept. Each is an important factor in how an artist’s work has been assessed over time.


Edmund Lewandowski, Wisconsin Ore Freighter, 1948; oil on canvas, 42 x 30¾ in.  Collection of the Milwaukee Art Museum, gift of Gimbel Bros., Milwaukee, M1959.

The roster of speakers includes:

– William Gerdts, American art historian and Professor Emeritus of Art History at the CUNY Graduate Center

– Betsy Kornhauser, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Curator, American Wing

– Thayer Tolles, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Associate Curator of American Paintings and Sculpture

– Charles Brock, The National Gallery of Art, Associate Curator of American and British Paintings

– Lance Mayer and Gay Myers, conservators of paintings

– William Agee, Evelyn Kranes Kossak, Hunter College, CUNY

Attendees are invited to Lowy on Friday night from 6 to 8 pm for cocktails and a tour of the frame atelier and conservation studio.

For more information about the conference or to register, interested parties can call (646) 485-1954, or via email to  Registration can be done online by visiting


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