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Multiple Modernisms

A Symposium on Globalism in Postwar Art is organized by Louisiana Research as part of the program Multiple Modernities. The symposium Multiple Modernisms will take place at LOUISIANA Museum of Modern Art on 2-3 November 2017.


Recent years have heralded a paradigm shift in the way we think about modernity and aesthetic modernism as expressed in notions of multiple modernities (Eisenstadt 2000), global modernisms, and even planetary modernisms (Friedman 2015). In particular, the crucial years of the mid-20th century after the demarcation line of 1945 have been subject to reassessment and new interest in academic studies as well as in curatorial activities. The canonical understanding of the formation of new artistic paradigms during this period has been enriched by addressing parallel artistic shifts from a global perspective and how these alternatively depart or are informed by the former.

This posits a central challenge for academic art history as well as for museums of modern and contemporary art: How to understand the heritage of twentieth century art in the contemporary, globalized reality? We propose to see the postwar era as a key moment in the globalization of art with new contexts and circulations, as well as divides and controversies. This points to the significance of the postwar era and new conceptions of modernism, but also raises questions. Why is this happening now, is modernity multiple, and how can a multiple modernism be presented in the museum and how can it be researched? The aim of the conference is to pool ideas around this remarkable field and put forward possible answers and establish roads ahead: for art history as well as for the exhibition world.


Louisiana invites art historical academics as well as museum professionals and curators for a two-day exchange of research and critical debate on global modernism(s). The aim of this international conference is to rethink the arts, artists, museums and mechanisms and movements of the postwar art world 1945-1970 in light of global orientations through presentations by leading researchers, as well as by emerging scholars. The program will combine keynote lectures with shorter presentations selected through an internationally distributed open call. The conference will be supplemented by a master class and young researcher’s colloquium for Ph.D. students.

The starting point for the conference is how the world must be seen as more consistently modernized after 1945 in political, social, geographical and cultural ways – and as in much closer contact with global contemporaneity. We are thus encouraging analyses of the arts as different expressions of a fundamentally modernized world, as vision as well as condition, especially in the globalized sense of modernism embedded in (multiple) modernity; of art engaged in modern world-making, not outside it, with the complexities, controversies and questions this implies. The Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, founded in 1958, forms an especially relevant and inspiring for the discussion of the postwar era as horizon for today.


  • Terry Smith, Professor, University of Pittsburgh, USA
  • Romy Golan, Professor, City University of New York, USA
  • Masha Chlenova, curator and expert on Russian Avant-garde
  • Hiroko Ikegami, Associate Professor, Kobe University, Japan
  • Michael Sheridan, Architect and author of the forthcoming book on the architecture of Louisiana


Registration will be possible through our website from 14 August until October 2017. The prices are: Symposium including admission to the museum and lunches and coffees DKK 750 and for students DKK 500. A limited number of travel bursaries will be available for people travelling from countries outside Europe. Please check the website for updates and should you require more information feel free to contact the organizers. 


  • Kristian Handberg, Postdoc at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art and The University of Copenhagen
  • Marie Laurberg, Curator at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art
  • Flavia Frigeri, Teaching Fellow, UCL - University College London (former Curator, Tate Modern)
  • Karen Westphal Eriksen, Postdoc, The University of Copenhagen

Questions about the conference can be addressed to Kristian Handberg at