ORDER‽ Art, Classicism, and Discourse, from 1755 to Today

  • Leeds Art Gallery
  • 15–16 November 2019
  • Two day conference in the Henry Moore Lecture Theatre, Leeds Art Gallery

What is ordered about ‘classicism’? Who benefits from an ordered, stable canon of classicism in art and literature? Is classicism, in art, architecture, archaeology and academia truly the realm of the dead white men (to borrow from the title of Donna Zuckerberg’s 2018 book, Not All Dead White Men)?

This conference seeks to challenge, reassess, and provoke discussion on the position of ‘classicism’ in art following Winckelmann’s seminal text on the topic in 1755 through to the present day.

Winckelmann’s ordered, teleological histories of art have been thrown into disarray by 265 years of new archaeological discoveries; every generation develops its own ‘classic’ and its own canon. Technologies of communication, dissemination, modification, and reproduction offer artists and academics new media for their engagement with classicism, art, and the world; previously unrepresented populations and individuals have more access to academia, art, and classics than ever before, but not without opposition.

Bringing together artists and scholars across career stages working in a range of fields, this conference challenges the notion of the ‘classic’ as stable, ordered, or unchanging.

The conference will be held alongside a Henry Moore Institute retrospective exhibition of the work of Edward Allington (1951-2017), which considers the creative engagement of Allington with the cultures of classicism.

Friday 15 November, 1 - 7:30pm

1pmWelcome and Introduction
Dr Melissa Gustin (Henry Moore Foundation Post-doctoral Fellow)

Session 1: Nachleben der Antike

 Chair: Prof. Charles Martindale (University of York)
1:15pmWinckelmann's Fractured Classic
Professor Katherine Harloe (University of Reading)
1:45pmClassicist Rationality? Karl Philipp Moritz and the ‘Fantastic’ Foundations of German Neo-Classicism
Tilman Schreiber (Friedrich-Schiller Universität, Jena)

Session 2: Ruskin/AntiRuskin

 Chair: Prof. Liz Prettejohn (University of York)
2:30pmThe Stones of the South: Ruskinian Aesthetics for 'Classical' Marble
Alexander Kusztyk (University of Cambridge)
3pmClassical Sculpture and Victorian Polemics: Falkener versus Rauch and Ruskin
Dr Clemence Schultze (Durham University)
3:30pmTea and Coffee served

Session 3: Queer Classics

 Chair: Dr Nichole Cochrane (University of Hull)
3:45pmQueer Loss, Queer Classics: A.E. Housman’s “Lost Country”
Prof. Jennifer Ingleheart (University of Durham)
4:15pm“Art Knows How to Sculpt the Form of Beauty, Improving Life and Blending the Days”: Queering Sculpture in the Poetry of Constantine Cavafy
Joe Watson (University of Durham)
5 - 6pmOpportunity to view the exhibition Edward Allington: Things Unsaid at the Henry Moore Institute
6 - 7pmKeynote Lecture: Translating the Classics
Prof. Emily Wilson (University of Pennsylvania)


Saturday 16 November, 10am - 5:30pm

10amOpening Remarks
Dr Melissa Gustin

Session 4: Modernism

 Chair: Dr Clare O’Dowd (Henry Moore Institute)
10:15am“After the Fable, the Moral”: Classical Statuary and Modern Sculpture Revisited
Jonathan Vernon (Courtauld Institute of Art)
10:45amContemporary Classicism as the Aftermath of Postmodern Conceptualism? A Critical Historicisation
Dr Christian Drobe (Postdoctoral researcher at Masaryk University, Brno)
11:15amLouise Bourgeois’ Debased Classicism
Dr Alexandra Parigoris (University of Leeds)

Session 5: Artists’ Roundtable

 Chair: Dr Melissa Gustin
12pmThe Reason Being
Zachary Eastwood-Bloom
12:30pmFit for Purpose: The Classical Millstone, the Classical Touchstone
Dr Richard Hollinshead (Artist/University of Northampton)
Jessica Harrison
1:30pmLunch (provided)

Session 6: Venus

 Chair: Simon Marginson (University of York)
2:30pmA[ccelerationist] Venus? Gottfried Semper, Albert Moore and “Queer Rationality” in 1869
Dr Nick Shaddick (University of York)
3pmSurrealism/Classicism: Man Ray and the Motif of Venus
Carolin Goll (Universität Würzburg)
3:30pmYves Klein’s Classicism
Dr Molly Warnock (John Hopkins University)
4pmTea and Coffee served

Session 7: Vernacular Classicisms

 Chair: Rebecca Mellor (University of York)
4:15pmAnimating Anxiety: Stage Sculpture and Middlebrow Classicism
Dr Rhiannon Easterbrook (Independent researcher)
4:45pmA “Celtic” Classicism? Classically-Influenced Sculpture in Nineteenth-Century Ireland
Dr Ciarán Rua O’Neill (University of York)
5:15 - 5:30pmClosing Remarks
Dr Melissa Gustin


Tickets for this conference cost £20 / £10 concessions (students, unwaged or retired).
For more information please contact Kirstie Gregory, Research Coordinator.

Book your tickets online

Venue details

Venue address

Leeds Art Gallery
The Headrow
West Yorkshire
United Kingdom
T: 0113 247 8256
Visit website

Opening times

Monday: Closed
Tuesday to Saturday: 10am - 5pm
Sunday: 11am - 3pm