Report on a Day’s Proceedings at the Initiative for Directed Coopetition

With Avi Alpert and Danny Snelson
In conjunction with the conference “Intimate Collaborations
University of Pennsylvania
Organized by Kaja Silverman
January 18, 2013

This conference presentation foregrounds the ways in which speakers and attendees of scholarly gatherings collectively participate in a theatrical situation. The format borrowed from the conventions of both the academic lecture and the stage, incorporating PowerPoint visuals and a musical interlude featuring a projected Judy Garland crooning “Alone Together.” Opening with ten minutes of thank yous, we presented one-minute lectures followed by a series of variations on the Q&A.

About Intimate Collaborations:

“Intimate Collaborations, a conference held on the occasion of the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s exhibition, Dancing Around the Bride: John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, and Marcel Duchamp, will address the strange and complex intimacies that emerge when relationships between artists take form through the process of art-making.

Dancing Around the Bride is the first exhibition to explore the interwoven lives, works, and experimental spirit of Duchamp and Cage, Cunningham, Johns and Rauschenberg. Intimate Collaborations seeks to conceptualize and expand upon the possibilities set in motion by these artists for thinking the category of collaboration more broadly. How do we best describe the intimacies that are born through works of art? How do the intimate collaborations among the artists featured in Dancing Around the Bride compare to those among other artists of that period, or in our own moment? What do such intimate collaborations bring into view or fail to make visible? What do distinct modes and forms of artistic collaboration yield (or at the very least promise) aesthetically, philosophically, or even politically? And finally, how does the work of theorizing artistic intimacy ultimately impact the way we think about art history as a practice or a discipline? What does such intimacy require of us as scholars, critics, lovers, and producers of art? These are just a few of the questions that animate Intimate Collaborations, a conference which itself looks to foster new modes of intimate exchange between art, artists, and historians of art on the occasion of a momentous exhibition of some of the richest artistic collaborations of the second half of the 20th century.”