Amy Powell

Position title: Dana-Allen Dissertation Fellow (2011-2012)

Art History, UW-Madison

Portrait image of Amy Powell in a red hat

Time after Modernism: Postcoloniality in Contemporary Art

While place and displacement have become central narrative elements in the study and exhibition of modern and contemporary art and in postcolonial theory, thorough considerations of time and its accordant relational and disordering possibilities have been markedly absent. Current analytical models that privilege spatial and geographical movements miss the significant ways that artworks employ time to negotiate the temporalizing effects of modernism and postmodernism, the modern and the contemporary, the colonial and the postcolonial. Artists and filmmakers also use time-based techniques to strategically manipulate the viewer’s sense of time; these include duration, synchronization, seriality, repetition, and syncopation. My dissertation seeks to account for these temporal practices by asking: what would an in-depth account of time in contemporary art entail if the field of inquiry were shifted and expanded to encompass a range of works united not by shared identity categories (e.g. race, gender, nationality, sexuality) or by media (film and video), but by their use of time as a formal and critical lens for postcoloniality?

Amy L. Powell, IRH Dana-Allen Dissertation Fellow, is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Art History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research encompasses modern and contemporary art in global frameworks, particularly modern and contemporary African art and photography, African cinema, critical theory focusing on postcolonial theory and contemporary theories of representation, new media and subjectivity, transnational feminist art, the history and theory of photography, and the history and theory of museums and curatorial studies. Her essay, “Phantom Projections, Creole Cinema: Time-Images and Isaac Julien’s Fantôme Afrique” appeared in the 2009 issue of the Chicago Art Journal, and she has published exhibition and book reviews in African Arts and Invisible Culture. Her most recent co-curated exhibition, “New Media at the Charles Allis,” appeared at the Charles Allis Art Museum from June 2-September 15, 2010 in Milwaukee, WI. She is a 2011-2012 UW-Madison Chancellor’s Fellow and held a 2010-2011 Smithsonian Predoctoral Fellowship at the National Museum of African Art in Washington, DC.