International conference “Painting Beyond Itself: The Medium in the Post-Medium Condition,” held last weekend at the Sackler Museum, was a smashing success with overflowing attendance during the conference’s two days. Plans for a book about the conference are in the works.

The event was organized by Ewa Lajer-Burcharth, the William Dorr Boardman Professor of Fine Arts in the Department of History of Art and Architecture, and Isabelle Graw, a professor for art theory and art history, Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende Künste (Städelschule), Frankfurt am Main, Germany. In response to recent developments in pictorial practice and critical discourse, “Painting Beyond Itself” sought to historicize and propose new approaches to the question of the medium. Reaching back to the earliest theoretical and institutional definition of painting as a medium in the Renaissance and 18th century, the conference traced the changing role of the medium in establishing painting as the privileged practice, discourse, and institution of modernity. In particular, the sessions explored the question of the specificity of the medium under the condition of its despecification. Bringing together an international group of scholars, critics, and artists, “Painting Beyond Itself” was a forum for a rich historical, theoretical, and practice-grounded conversation.