What's Left of Modernism? -- A Workshop on Greenberg, Kant, and Contemporary Aesthetics
June 1-3, 2007 -- Emma Lake Kenderdine Campus, University of Saskatchewan

About the Workshop

[Clement Greenberg with students at Emma Lake]
Clement Greenberg with students at the Emma Lake Artists' Workshop, 1962
From the film Between the North Pole and New York City
(Dir, Mark Wihak, Cooper Rock Pictures, 2004)

In 1962, Clement Greenberg – arguably the most influential art critic of the late 20th century – became the first art critic to lead the Emma Lake Artists' Workshop.

Greenberg’s visit proved to be a watershed in the history of Canadian art and art criticism, helping to forge a unique (and in some respects improbable) connection between a generation of Western Canadian artists and the New York art scene and helping also to establish Greenberg’s views as a dominant paradigm in Canadian art criticism in the 1960s and 70s.

Famously, Greenberg’s views on art are largely based on a somewhat idiosyncratic (and, for some, controversial) interpretation of Kant’s Critique of Judgment. Like Kantian critical philosophy, Greenberg argued, distinctively modern art explores the conditions of its own production and the conditions under which we experience and understand the world. Kant, says Greenberg, was the first modernist.

On the 45th anniversary of Greenberg’s visit, this workshop aims both to evaluate Greenberg’s legacy and to explore new work in aesthetics and art criticism, especially as related to Kant and modernism.

The workshop has been timed to follow immediately after the meetings of the Canadian Society for Aesthetics and the Canadian Philosophical Association at the 2007 Congress of the Social Sciences and Humanities. The idea being that workshop participants will have opportunities not only for the usual edifying discussion, but also for a sort of working vacation following the Congress. The workshop will be held at the historic and (literally, over the years) picturesque U of S Emma Lake Kenderdine Campus.

Selected papers from the workshop will be published in a special issue of the refereed journal AE: The Canadian Aesthetics Journal devoted to the workshop proceedings.

Keynote Presenters

Confirmed keynote speakers for the workshop include:

[John O'Brian]Prof. John O’Brian
(Art History and Theory, UBC)


[Jeanette Bicknell] Prof. Jeanette Bicknell
(Philosophy, Carleton University)


[Terry Fenton]Terry Fenton
Painter and art writer


[Emma Lake]
Emma Lake, photo by Mary Moody

The Location

Emma Lake Kenderdine Campus is located approximately 50 kilometers north of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan on a small isolated peninsula in a lake-resort area. The Campus has a communal dining lodge overlooking the lake, a variety of private and shared cabins in both rustic and modern architectural styles (all with attached washrooms), as well as classrooms and studio space, including covered outdoor work areas. The campus is about a ten minute walk from Murray Point Provincial Camp Ground, where tent camping is available (reservations advised, 306 982-4741).

Each year the Emma Lake campus hosts a number of programs in the arts, including several artist-in-residence programs. All of these programs are enhanced by the communal living environment. Stimulating conversation over meals and late night discussions are part of the experience. Accordingly, workshop participants are encouraged to stay on site and to take their meals with their fellow participants.


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Last updated: 5-06-2007
 [Department of Philosophy, University of Saskatchewan]