May 5-6: NYU German, Deutsches Haus & CEMS present “The Cover-Up: Contributions to a Political Iconography”

unnamed-1.jpgThe Cover-Up: Contributions to a Political Iconography

Deutsches Haus, New York University, May 5-6, 2016

The NYU German Department and Deutsches Haus at NYU present The Cover-Up: Contributions to a Political Iconography.

This conference was organized by Christine Landfried, Max Weber Professor of German and European Studies, NYU and Christopher Wood, Department of German, NYU.

“Political Iconography” is the ongoing research project of the pioneering art historian Martin Warnke.   Already in the late 1960s Warnke conceived a “new art history” alert to concealed ideological content, the historicity of aesthetic value, and the power of images.  Building on his pioneering studies of the social tensions and economic realities that conditioned the construction of the Gothic cathedrals (Bau und Überbau, 1976) and the relation of political sovereignty to artistic creativity (Der Hofkünstler, 1985), Warnke developed a new way of reading works of art.

Political Iconography might be said to extend a basic momentum of modernity in the sense that it formalizes as an art historical hermeneutic a skeptical attitude toward the self-representation of authority, an attitude first defined by the Enlightenment critique of the insignia, triumphs, spectacles, and icons that sustained the governing institutions of the ancien régime.

This conference brings together art historians, including some who worked with Warnke, and scholars of political science and law to recognize Warnke’s achievement and mark out new paths in the hermeneutics of art and image.  The rubric “cover-up,” a prompt for the participants, alludes to the basic operations of sleuthing and unmasking that drive any study of the politics of the image.

Speakers: Claire Bishop, Diane Bodart, John Curley, Dennis Curtis, Nilüfer Göle, Romy Golan, Boris Groys, Sylvia Houghteling, Evonne Levy, Judith Resnik, Marvin Trachtenberg, Monika Wagner, Ittai Weinryb

Events at Deutsches Haus are free and open to the public. If you would like to attend this event, please send an email to As space at Deutsches Haus is limited, please arrive ten minutes prior to the event to ensure you get a good seat. Thank you!

“The Cover-Up: Contributions to a Political Iconography” is a DAAD-sponsored event.


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