...but is it art?

Planning your conference visit

The "...but is it art?" French Graduate Student Association Conference is coming up this Thursday and Friday!

 As you plan for the conference, choose which panels or seminars you would like to attend.  The Home Page and Calendar tab have the schedule of events, and the Abstracts tab allows you to read the abstracts of the papers to be presented over the two days.

 If you plan to attend a seminar, please email us at butisitartconference@gmail.com so that we can send you copies of the papers under discussion.  These seminars are designed to be interactive, a real dialogue with the graduate researcher, so advance preparation is preferred!



NYU is easily accessible by public transportation. The A, C, E, B, D, 6, N, R trains are all very close by, and the 1, 4, 5, and Q trains are just a little bit further away.  Quite a few buses also have stops right near NYU.

 For more information about public transport in New York, visit:


For a map of the neighborhood surrounding La Maison Française, visit:


description of Keynote address


L’art entre le réel 

Overcoming the Contradiction of the Art of the Commonplace

Gabriel Rockhill

      Many thinkers—from Herbert Marcuse to Arthur Danto and Jacques Rancière—have underscored various ways in which contemporary art is caught in a contradiction between art and reality, and in particular political reality.  In the attempt to link the institution of art to its outside by merging aesthetics with real life via what Rancière has called “l’art du quelconque [the art of the commonplace],” art ends up being trapped between two extremes: either it becomes so ordinary that it loses its status as art, or it remains so artistic that it can never really fuse with the commonplace.  Too real or too aesthetic, the art that takes aim at the heart of the real can never truly meld with reality without ceasing to be art as such.

      This paper argues that this contradiction—which from a certain vantage point appears inescapable—only emerges within a conceptual framework in which it is ultimately assumed that there are two relatively separate domains:  art and (political) reality.  In order to displace this theoretical groundwork, it proposes a distinction between transcendent ideas, immanent notions and interventionist concepts that aims at both overcoming the contradiction of the art of the commonplace and providing an alternative framework for theorizing aesthetic practices as well as the very concept of art.  It thereby reaches the following conclusion, which is put to the test of some of the extreme cases of the ‘art of the commonplace’ (from Flaubert to Warhol):  si l’art n’entre pas dans le réel, c’est précisément parce qu’il est toujours déjà entre le réel [if art does not enter the real, it is precisely because it is always already between the real].




announcement of keynote speaker

We are pleased to announce that Professor Gabriel Rockhill from Villanova University will be the keynote speaker at this year's graduate student conference.

Professor Rockhill is at the pinnacle of current developments in critical theory, having spent over 10 years in France working with thinkers such as Alain Badiou, Jacques Derrida, and Francois Lyotard, receiving multiple degrees in philosophy and the social sciences.

 His interests include aesthetics, film, historiography, social and political philosophy, the sociology of knowledge, as well as contemporary French thought. He has publications coming out at an immeasurable rate in these diverse fields, and is he is one of the most promising up-and-coming thinkers in contemporary thought. His is also heavily involved in the art scene in Philadelphia, co-founding the artist and intellectual union "The Machete Group." He is currently working on an article on the art/non-art division, which he will present at the conference in March.


To learn more about Gabriel Rockhill:

Check out his bibliography at academia.edu: http://villanova.academia.edu/GabrielRockhill

...or the Wikipedia Page devoted to him: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gabriel_Rockhill

...or the site of the Machete Group:  http://machetegroup.wordpress.com/

 ...or his lecture: "Critique of the Ontological Illusion. Rethinking the Relation between Art and Politics", November 12, 2010: http://blip.tv/dancetechtvbliptv/gabriel-rockhill-critique-of-the-ontological-illusion-rethinking-the-relation-between-art-and-politics-4642575




Thank you to all those who submitted abstracts for our conference "...but is it art?" You can expect to hear from us soon.  We were very pleased to have submissions from 8 countries and over 40 universities.

 For those who missed our deadline, you are still welcome to join us at NYU on March 8 and 9 for the Conference Keep an eye out on the website as more information becomes available.


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