Art History, Theory, and Criticism: Letter from the Chair
As the School of the Art Institute of Chicago marks its 150th anniversary this fall semester, the Department of Art History, Theory, and Criticism has much to celebrate. I am very pleased to welcome Jennifer Dorothy Lee as Assistant Professor of Contemporary East Asian Art and Mechtild Widrich as Assistant Professor of Contemporary Art. Annie Bourneuf returns from her two residential fellowships at the Institute of Advanced Study, Princeton and the Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung, Berlin. Also, David Raskin and Nora Taylor rejoin the department from sabbatical leave. In addition to returning faculty, I am very happy to welcome to the program our incoming cohort of talented B.A. and M.A. students. This is an especially exciting time to be joining us.
It is especially gratifying to have the department back at full force this year, which allows us to continue to expand our innovative course offerings in art and design history. In addition to welcoming new hires and returning faculty, the department will conduct an open-rank search for a Historian of Art, Design, or Architecture before 1800, with an emphasis on global and transnational perspectives. This hire will further expand the Department of Art History, Theory, and Criticism, by adding to our internationally recognized research-oriented academic unit housed in a prestigious school of art and design with an interdisciplinary focus.
Last academic year (2014–2015) we were fortunate to host a broad range of scholars. Lectures and talks were on a variety of topics, ranging from Bill Brown (University of Chicago) and Zoe Ryan (Art Institute of Chicago), who gave talks related to our Theories of Things seminar; Mary Morgan (London School of Economics) on data visualization; Amanda Douberley (School of the Art Institute), Miguel de Baca (Lake Forest College), and Lukasz Stanek (University of Manchester) gave lunchtime talks; Hollis Clayson (Northwestern University) delivered the Annual Lifton Lecture; and Sven Spieker (University of California, San Diego) gave the keynote lecture for our Annual Graduate Student Symposium.
This academic year (2015–2016) is shaping up to be as equally diverse as last year. Department alum Sarah Vowell (MA 1998) will deliver the Distinguished Alumni Lecture as part of SAIC's Visiting Artists Program. Our own Mechtild Widrich and Martino Stierli (MoMA) have organized the two-city symposium (Chicago and New York), "Local Anxieties: Relocating Architecture in a Global Public Space." The symposium is presented by SAIC and the Museum of Modern Art. Caroline Jones (MIT) will give this year's Lifton Lecture. Our lunchtime talk series will begin with a joint presentation on "Designing Worlds: National Design Histories in an Age of Globalization" with Grace Lees-Maffei (University of Hertfordshire) and Kjetil Fallan (University of Oslo). Also, the department is sponsoring the "Human-Non-Human-Networks," keynote speaker Eva Hayward (University of Arizona).
Faculty accomplishments are too numerous to list here. However, highlights include Annie Bourneuf's research on abstraction in Central Europe in the 1910s while a Research Fellow at the Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung. David Getsy was awarded a Graham Foundation Grant to support his next research project on performance art in the 1970. Michael Golec was a Wolfsonian Fellow at the Wolfsonian-Florida International University, Miami. David Raskin was a visiting Fellow, United States Studies Centre, University of Sydney. And, Nora Taylor just returned from spending her sabbatical year in Singapore as a visiting scholar at Nanyang Technological University's Center for Contemporary Art.
Our faculty continues to contribute to the field of Art and Design History by giving public lectures, invited talks, performances, and curating exhibitions. Shiben Banerji delivered the keynote address at the 32nd Chicago Women in Architecture scholarship award ceremony. He was the keynote speaker at the annual meeting of the Women's Architectural League Foundation. And, Shiben was an invited speaker in the Art History Department's Fall 2014 lecture series at Northwestern University. Simon Anderson and his class performed an "intuitive re-creation" of Philip Corner's famous Piano Activities, originally performed in 1962 at the first of the Fluxus concert series in Germany. James Elkins presented "The End of the Theory of the Gaze" as one of the Daniel H. Silberberg Lectures at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. David Getsy gave lectures and talks at the Thessaloniki Biennial and the Center for Italian Modern Art. His upcoming lectures include the Yale School of Art, SFAI, National Gallery of Art (book launch), and Johnson Intercultural Lecture at Elmhurst College. Michael Golec gave an invited lecture, "Champ Fleury in the Machine Age" at the School of Visual Arts, New York. And, he will moderate the panel discussion, "Contemporary Movement: Bringing Criticism into Design Discourse" at EXPO CHICAGO. Seth Kim-Cohen gave a talk, entitled "No Depth: A Call for Shallow Listening" at the Sound Art and Radio Conference in Halmstad, Sweden. In Stockholm, he gave a performance-talk, based on his book, Against Ambience, with the conceptual noise band, Regler, at Iaspis, the Swedish Arts Grants Committee's International Programme for Visual Artists. And, Seth will chair a panel, "Singing LeWitt: Conceptualism and Sound," at the 2016 CAA Conference in Washington D.C. Maud Lavin presented "Hong Kong Fans of Mainland Idol Li Yuchun" in East Asian genders and cultures panel organized by Sang-Yeon Loise Sung at the Association for Asian Studies in Asia conference at Academia Sinica, Taipei. Jennifer Dorothy Lee presented "Exiled 'I': Maoism in Post-revolutionary Modernism," at the ACLA annual conference in Seattle and gave a talk on "Notes from the City of the Sun: Reading Bee Dao after Mao," at Connecticut College in the Dept. of East Asian Languages and Cultures. Daniel Quiles curated Outreach: Jaime Davidovich, 1974–1984, an exhibition at Threewalls Gallery in Chicago, (January 23–March 21). David Raskin lectured on Hiroshi Sugimoto, William James, and David Mitchell at universities and art centers in Australia and New Zealand, including the University of Melbourne. Nora Taylor participated in a workshop on Performance Art Archives at Asia Art Archive in Hong Kong, and she will be presenting a lecture in October on Southeast Asian Performance Art Archives at the Asia Contemporary Week in New York City. Mechtild Widrich delivered "Performative Moments," an invited lecture at Princeton University, Department of Architecture. Bess Williamson presented at the Newberry Library's American Visual Culture series, with a paper from my new project: "From Cockpits to Cubicles: Ergonomic Design and Difficult Positions in the American Office." Also, she participated in a roundtable discussion on new perspectives on Access in observance of the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act at the Society for Disability Studies conference.
The record of publications for department faculty is substantial. Recent and forthcoming publications include: Annie Bourneuf's Paul Klee: The Visible and the Legible with University of Chicago Press. She has catalogue essays forthcoming in the catalogue for a major Klee exhibition organized by the Centre Pompidou—Paul Klee. L'ironie à l'œuvre, and in R. H. Quaytman: Chapter 29. James Elkins is working on "Art Words," a yearly series of one-day conferences and books on the words used to assess and evaluate studio artists around the world. Delinda Collier's Repainting the Walls of Lunda: Information, Colonialism, and Angolan Art is forthcoming from University of Minnesota Press. David Getsy will publish Abstract Bodies: Sixties Sculpture in the Expanded Field of Gender from Yale University Press, and the edited book Queer for Whitechapel Documents of Contemporary Art from MIT Press. He co-edited an issue of Transgender Studies Quarterly on "Trans Cultural Production." Michael Golec has two articles forthcoming: "Re(in)forming Image Space with 'Touch: Sorting Out Desire,'" in Ultrashort Hyperframe and "Facts Between Pictographs and Photographs," in Zeitschrift für Ästhetik und Allgemeine Kunstwissenschaft. His "Distributing Stresses: The Development and Use of the Eames Dining Chair Metal" will be included in Encountering Things and "Visualization, Expert Knowledge, and 'Seeing-in," will appear in Visualization: A Critical Survey of the Concept for the series, "Kultur: Forschung und Wissenschaft." Bloomsbury Academic will publish Seth Kim-Cohen's Against Ambience and Other Essays, an expanded, print version of a book previously available only as an ebook. Maud Lavin recently published "Tomboy in Love: Korean and U.S. Views of Heterosexual Eroticism in the K-Drama First Shop of Coffee Prince," in Situations: Cultural Studies in the Asian Context, and her "Patti Smith: Aging, fandom, and libido," Transformative Works and Cultures is forthcoming. Daniel Quiles published "Dead Boars, Viruses, and Zombies: Roberto Jacoby's Art History," in the Art Journal. He guest-edited "Highways of the South: Latin American Art Networks," a special issue of Artl@s Bulletin, a peer-reviewed journal dedicated to transnational art history co-published by Purdue University and École Normale Supérieure. David Raskin published an essay on Mono-ha artist Noriyuki Haraguchi for Fergus McCaffrey Gallery. Mechtild Widrich translated (with Andrei Pop) one of the key texts of German aesthetic theory, Karl Rosenkranz's Aesthetics of Ugliness (1853) with Bloomsbury, London. Her book Performative Monuments was reviewed in Oxford Art Journal and Performance Research. Bess Williamson contributed an entry for the word "Access" to the new Keywords in Disability Studies from NYU Press (2015), a volume edited by David Serlin, Rachel Adams, and Benjamin Reiss.
Notable part-time faculty accomplishments are many. D. Denenge Akeem was a panelist for "Sun Ra Astro-Black Mythology and Black Resistance Symposium," curated by David Boykin and hosted by University of Chicago and the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture and a panelist for "What Color Is Nude?: The Racial Future of Fashion" for Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair exhibition, curated by Camille Morgan for Milwaukee Art Museum. Denenge will contribute an interactive sculpture for Warm Kitty, Soft Kitty exhibition, curated by Camille Morgan, Hyde Park Art Center. Giovanni Aloi's paper "Roni Horn: Taxidermy, Photography and Ontological Mobility" at On the Role of Animals in Pictorial Representation in Prague and organized by The Goethe Institute, and his presentation of "The Lure of the Veneer: Rethinking Surfaces in Visual Culture" at Norwich Castle Museum and organized by the University of East Anglia. Chris Cutrone contributed 11 articles, 7 transcripts of public discussions in which he spoke as a panelist (many of which took place at SAIC), and one co-conducted interview (with Slavoj Zizek) in The Platypus Review Reader, 2007–2014. He published several articles, including "Democratic revolution and the contradiction of capital," in Weekly Worker (U.K.). Amanda Douberley was a visiting critic and a guest lecturer, Artists-In-Residence program, Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, Salt Lake City. She delivered "Bulldozer Aesthetics: Alexander Calder and Robert Morris in Grand Rapids, Michigan," for Crash and Burn: Destruction in American Art at The Courtauld Institute of Art, London. Nancy Feldman published an article in new Field Museum Chicago journal Fieldiana titled "Evolving Communities: Aspects of Andean and Shipibo Art, Textiles, and Practice in Contemporary Peru." She will present Rules of Discernment for Gold Threads in Late Medieval Paris" at the 50th anniversary International Congress on Medieval Studies, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo Michigan. Jason LaFountain delivered "Both-And American Art," engaging Roger Brown's interest in the writing of Robert Venturi for Compare and Contrast: 39 American Artists, at the Roger Brown Study Collection. Also, he published A Companion to American Art, In addition to serving as the book's co-editor, Jason contributed an essay analyzing English monolingualism as a governing force in the field. Margaret MacNamidhe's Delacroix and His Forgotten World: The Lost Origins of Romantic received an official launch at the National Gallery of Ireland in June and Apollo magazine chose it as the featured prize in their art history competition. Lori Waxman performed "60 wrd/min art critic" at fort gondo compound for the arts in St. Louis, and her review of Charles Ray's mid-career survey at the Art Institute made the front page of the Tribune's "Arts & Entertainment" section.
Major MA in Modern and Contemporary Art History alumni accomplishments include the recent appointment of Shannon Stratton to Chief Curator of the Museum of Art and Design in New York. Susan Longhenry was appointed director of the Haggerty Museum of Art at Marquette University, becoming the first woman to lead the institution. She was previously Director of the Harwood Museum of Art. Mel Becker Solomon was promoted to Assistant Research Curator in the Prints and Drawings Department of the Art Institute of Chicago. Elizabeth Smith secured a position as Curatorial Assistant in the Contemporary Department at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Joe Iverson is Production Manager and Ann Messenger is Coordinator of Public Programs at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Jesse Adams Stein is now Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Technology, Sydney. Maura Lucking was accepted to the PhD Program in architectural history at UCLA. Corinna Kirsch will begin her doctoral studies at SUNY Stony Brook this fall. Kara Jefts will be a resident at the Flux Factory in Queens, New York during the month of September to extend her research on Mavo magazine. An excerpt from Raven Munsell's thesis will be published in Art Journal. A public event and exhibition will be held at the Flux Factory from September 12–15 to highlight the project. Gan Uyeda published an article based on his thesis at ArtSLant. Both Raven and Gan work at Richard Gray Gallery.
Chair, Department of Art History, Theory, and Criticism