The Rocky Mountain Division held its 26th annual meeting in the historic Hotel St. Francis, in downtown Santa Fe. Registration opened at 8:00 on Friday, 10 July, with the first sessions starting at 9:00 after opening remarks at 8:45. The business meeting started at 11:30 Sunday, 12 July, after the final sessions ended at 11:10. The weather was splendid, the sessions well-attended, and the Saturday evening reception a grand event apparently enjoyed by the many attendees. I believe it safe to say that the conference was well in keeping with the expected standards for a division meeting.
This was the first year of Linda Dove’s three year term as division president. At the business meeting, Elizabeth Graham, Brandon University, Manitoba, was elected treasurer and John Sampson was thanked for his many years of dedicated service in that office. President Dove asked for suggestions as to rescheduling and possibly relocating the conference venue as a result of the massive restoration of the hotel and attendant cost and scheduling complexities: this discussion is being continued by email.
There were twenty nine presentations in a diverse program that emphasized, as always, the interdisciplinary nature of the division. The program panels were: Art, Artists, and Aesthetic Context (Peter Thompson, Michael Greene, Karen Hillier); Marxism and the Market (Norman Fischer, Raphael Sassower); Aesthetic Interplay Between Western and Non-Western Forms (Allison Hagerman, Ryan Jordan, Cornelia Tsakiridou); Representation and the Problem of Make-Believe (Mark Silcox, Heidi Silcox, Eva Dadlez); Roundtable on the State of Contemporary Letters: Is Hybridity the Word? (Dee Horne, George Moore, Linda Dove); The Aesthetics of Self-Fashioning (Alain Beauclair, Lawrence Rhu); Aesthetics and Literature (Michael Manson, Reuben Ellis, Johan Samson, Joseph Vincenzo); Beauty and Taste: Practical and Theoretical Statements (Rick Chew, S.K. Wertz, James Mock, Jon Mikkelsen); Aesthetics and Architecture (Francis Downing, Roger Paden); and Aesthetics and Music (David Conter, Martin Donougho, Arthur Stewart). The intersections of the papers in the sessions provided thematic unity and facilitated vigorous discussion.
The session chairs managed the timing of presentations and discussions with uniform excellence. Thanks are offered to the chairs: Michael Manson, Eva Dadlez, Reuben Ellis, Martin Donougho, Francis Downing, S.K. Wertz, Dee Horne, Arthur Stewart, George Moore, James Mock, and John Samson.
The Friday afternoon Manuel Davenport Keynote Address, “Aesthetic Transcendence,” was presented by Donald Kuspit, Distinguished Professor of Art history and Philosophy, State University of New York at Stony Brook.
The Saturday afternoon Artist at Work presentation, “Experiments Useful for the Cure of Men’s Minds,” was by Jacquelyn McBain. She is represented in New York City by Littlejohn Contemporary, Inc.
The 2010 meeting arrangements and the call for papers will be announced within the normal schedule on both the ASA and division websites.
I note that there was a significant falling away of potential participants this year as a direct result of the national economic downturn. Although we ultimately maintained our average number of presenters, we had accepted more. A distressing number of those who submitted papers and accepted invitations to the conference ultimately were forced to withdraw because their travel funding was eliminated. This is a worrying situation that other conference planners, I suggest, closely monitor.