London-New York, 2011
London-New York: Exchanges and Cross-Cultural Influences in the Arts and Literature
1-2 April 2011
Organising committee: Claudine Armand, Pierre Degott, Jean-Philippe Heberlé
London and New York are two contrasting metropolises. They have been the cultural centres of many fruitful meetings, confrontations and exchanges since the colonial period. In the field of art and literature, what immediately comes to mind are the cultural exchanges between Paris and New York or between Paris, London and New York. The twentieth century saw the great “Paris-New York” exhibition held at the Pompidou Centre in 1977, followed by the “Paris-Berlin” and “Paris-Moscow” exhibitions in 1978 and 1979. Prior to the 20th century, one may also evoke the Paris-London axis and the strong artistic links that existed between the two capitals. At the dawn of the twentieth century, with the rise of modernism, the city of New York became the emblem and focal point of modernity. As a result, the exchanges between the three cultural capitals developed considerably.
The aim of this international conference is to study and analyze the cultural links and influences between London and New York in the arts and literature, a field which seems to have been overlooked by critics and academics alike. The relations between the two cities will be tackled in terms of dynamics and exchanges of ideas on the one hand, and of cultural, literary and artistic echoes and interactions, on the other. The conference will be the opportunity to examine the following issues: how does the work of an exiled writer, musician, playwright, director, or painter convey his/her sense of exile? How can uprootedness be a source of intellectual and creative emulation and stimulation for artists? This may concern the expatriate literary circle composed of key figures such as Henry James, Ezra Pound or T. S. Eliot in London, and the meetings between English and American artists and writers in New York. Other topics may include the opening of workshops in London (Benjamin West) and in New York (Stanley William Hayter), the cosmopolitan spirit that was very much alive at different times in both cities, and the exchanges between musicians (for instance, the influence of jazz on so-called serious music). How did/do the migrations from one city to the other contribute to the emergence of new forms of writing (stylistic and formal experimentation in poetry, painting and music)? How does one culture interact with the other? In what ways is the city a place of artistic fecundity, hybridization and crossbreeding? Will a work conceived for Broadway or the West End be performed and staged in the same way on both sides of the Atlantic? What are the modes of cultural transfer between the two cities? Finally, in our era of globalization, are the intercultural links and exchanges between London and New York still relevant today or are they just the resurgence of bygone days?