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In Memoriam: Cynthia Navaretta

posted by June 15, 2020

Cynthia Navaretta.

We were saddened to learn of the passing of critic, publisher, and longtime CAA member Cynthia Navaretta last month at the age of 97. An active member of the organization and a founding member of the Women’s Caucus for Art (WCA), Navaretta was founder of the feminist arts publisher Midmarch Arts Press and a tireless advocate for women artists.

A memorial in her honor will be hosted via on Sunday, September 13th, 2020, at 6pm (EST). Members interested in attending are invited to contact cyncelebration@gmail.com to receive information and a link closer to the event. Readers are also invited to post comments and pictures about her life on a newly created Facebook page, here.

Cynthia Navaretta, art critic, curator, publisher,  art collector,  architectural engineer died on May 18, 2020 at 97

In her mid-twenties Cynthia Navaretta was immersed in the New York art scene from the early days of the New York School and the influential 8th Street Club (one of only 6 female members!) before she married Emanuel Navaretta, artist, poet, criticprofessor and roommate of Franz Kline in 1950Cynthia’s friends and neighbors in New York and Long Island (Springs in the Hamptons) included Jackson Pollack, Harold Rosenberg, Lee Krasner, Milton Resnick, Milton Avery, Franz Kline, the De Kooning’s (Elaine and Willem) Ibram Lassaw, David Smith, Phillip Pavia, Judy Chicago, Agnes Martin, Pat Passlof, Hans Hofmann, June Wayne, Susan Schwalb and a long list of other art legends.   

In 1974, she was a founding steering committee member of Artists Talk On Art, the art world’s longest running panel discussion series. With her knowledge of the New York art scene, along with her professional qualifications in engineering and building, Cynthia served as a mayoral appointee to the Artists Certification Committee of the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs and later served as the public voting member of the powerful Loft Board in Manhattan for 20 years, deciding who was a bona fide artist and deserving of live-work studio space in converted factories. She was a founding member of the Women’s Caucus for Art, the Coalition of Women’s Arts Organizations, and also Women in the Arts.  

She represented the United States at the 1985 UN Conference on Women in Kenya and served in similar capacities on other boards and meetings around the world including the International Festival of Women Artists, Copenhagen in 1980. She befriended many well-known African-American women artists throughout the United States. In 1995, she published the first definitive compendium of American women artists of color  – Gumbo Ya Ya: Anthology of Contemporary African – American Women Artists with an introduction by Leslie King HammondMidmarch Arts Press.  

As the founder of Midmarch Arts Press, she published numerous memoirs, guideshistories and anthologies by and about American artists, male and female including: Guide to Women’s Arts Organizations, Women Artists of the World edited by Sylvia Moore, Cindy Lyle and Cynthia NavarettaMutiny in the Mainstream — Talk That Changed Art (with Judy Seigal), The Heart of the Question, The Writings and Paintings of Howardena Pindellintroduction by Lowery S. Sims, Voices of Women, by Lucy Lippard, Postmodern Heretics, by Eleanor HeartneyOut of the Picture: Milton Resnick and the New York School edited and with an Introduction by Goeffey Dorfman and The First Wife’s Tale: A Memoir by Louise Strauss – Ernst, to name only a few.   

Cynthia Navaretta at the National Women’s Conference in Houston 1977. Credit: Judy Seigel, via The New York Times

Her sharp mind, mixed with her organizational skills and ability to span many spheres of knowledge and personalities made her the ideal art panel planner, moderator or guest speaker. She was a beloved panel participant at College Art Association and mentored many young female artists. She was an active member of the International Art Critics Association and often traveled on their numerous trips around the world. She was also the publisher, along with photographer Judy Siegel, of the well-known Women Artist News (1978 – 1991), the first publication sent out on a regular basis covering the doings and activities of women artists; thus, publishing the first constant and continuing dialogue for women artists in the United States. A prodigious publisher, author and critic of feminist art in the United States Cynthia was one of the few who acknowledged and attracted regional and southern feminist artists whose work would otherwise most probably never have seen the light of day. Through the vehicles of Women Artist News and Midmarch Press, Cynthia was determined to document and champion many obscure female artists, offering them an exclusive avenue to introduce themselves and their work to a wider audience in the art world. 

In her later years, she organized and curated her archives which were accepted by the Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of American Art. This written legacy from one of the leading feminist voices on art- is sure to be preserved, shared, and seen as a unique transcript of the American art experience. 

In her ‘other’ life, Cynthia earned a master’s degree in mechanical engineering the 1940s. Returning to NYC, she was hired by the construction company Alvord & Swift. Established in 1911, Alvord became a significant contractor in the emerging specialty of HVAC design and construction. She designed and built many of the HVAC systems with Alvord & Swift for well-known skyscrapers in New York, including the famous Solow building. She also designed many of the HVAC systems at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York. During her several year’s tenure there, she had the thankless job of training and preparing no fewer than three less talented male colleagues to assume the position and prestige of Vice President. This glass ceiling was the deciding factor in her eventual resignation. At that time, she was one of approximately 400 female mechanical engineers in the United States.   

Throughout her engineering career, she held a variety of ambitious, supervisory positions. These included a managerial position for the ABC Television Network when the new Lincoln Center broadcast facility was being built. She also did a stint as an AMTRAK vice president, responsible for ‘new construction’ and ‘rights of way.’ She eventually retired to devote all her time to her publishing house and friends and family. But well into her nineties she could still be seen at art openings dressed to the ninths with her walker having arrived fashionably late by bus. 

Remembrance by Susan Schwalb.

Filed under: Art History, Artists, Obituaries

Photo courtesy the David C. Driskell Center at the University of Maryland, College Park.

We were saddened to learn of the passing of artist, collector, historian, and lifetime CAA member Dr. David C. Driskell this week at the age of 88. In addition to being a lifetime member, Driskell also served on the CAA Board of Directors and Executive Committee from 1980-1984. His art and scholarship centered African-American art history and had a tremendous impact on the field.

In his honor, we’ve made a selection of articles by him or related to his work available to access for free on Taylor & Francis online until the end of April. Explore below.

Articles from Art Journal and The Art Bulletin

David C. Driskell, “Margaret Webster Plass, African Miniatures: Goldweights of the Ashanti,” Art Journal, 1968 (link)

Jody B. Cutler, Debra Wacks, John P. Bowles, Craig Saper, Michèle C. Cone & Daryl Chin, “Reviews,” Art Journal, 2000 (link)

Monica Blackmun Visonà, “Agent Provocateur? The African Origin and American Life of a Statue from Côte d’Ivoire,” The Art Bulletin, 2012 (link)

Krista Thompson, “A Sidelong Glance: The Practice of African Diaspora Art History in the United States,” Art Journal, 2011 (link)

Read more about Driskell’s life and legacy in ARTnews.

Filed under: Art History, Obituaries

Image courtesy Bend Design Conference.

Please join us for a Memorial Celebration for Professor Victor Margolin during the 2020 Annual Conference on February 12, 2020.

Memorial Celebration for Professor Victor Margolin

Wednesday, February 12, 2020
5:30-7:30 pm
Resident’s Dining Room
Jane Addams Hull House
800 S. Halsted Street
Chicago, Illinois

If you’d like to attend, please RSVP to Rebecca Houze: rhouze@niu.edu

Victor Margolin (1941-2019) was Professor Emeritus of Design History at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He served on the CAA Board of Directors from 1993 to 1997 and was a frequent presenter and session chair at CAA’s Annual Conferences. He promoted the study of design and design history by encouraging the work of others and contributing to the activities of the Design Studies Forum. He was honored with Lifetime Achievement Awards for design research from LearnXDesign (2015) and the Design Research Society (2016). Victor was a founding editor of the academic design journal Design Issues. Books that he has written, edited, or co-edited include The Struggle for Utopia: Rodchencko, Lissitzky, Moholy-Nagy, 1917-1936Design DiscourseThe Designed World: Images, Objects, Environments; and The Politics of the Artificial: Essays on Design and Design Studies. He also edited and co-edited important volumes of essays on design titled Design Discourse (1989), The Idea of Design (1995) Discovering Design (1995) and The Designed World: Images, Objects, Environments (2002). The first two volumes of his World History of Design were published in April 2015.

In the words of his colleague and co-editor Bruce Brown, “Victor was a man of immense intellectual generosity and he mentored scholars young and old around the world. He was always a reasoned advocate of design as a tool to create societies that were more just, equitable and compassionate. These values were accompanied by a keen mind and twinkling eye that drew Victor to people all over the world. His deep humanity, ideas and insights will live on through books and essays to inspire future generations of designers.”

The Jane Addams Hull-House Museum is located on the campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago, 800 S. Halsted Street, Chicago. It is easily reached by public transportation using the UIC Halsted stop on the Blue Line or the Halsted Bus (#8), or via the Eisenhower Expressway (I-290) and the Dan Ryan Expressway (I-90). Parking is available at the Halsted and Taylor Street garage.

Filed under: Annual Conference, Design, Obituaries

Jack Hyland, CAA’s treasurer and close advisor for over 30 years, passed away suddenly on Friday, August 11, 2017. The CAA staff, board, and committees are saddened by this monumental loss. Hyland began his career in investment banking at major financial services firms, including Morgan Stanley, Warburg Paribas Becker, and PaineWebber/Young & Rubicam Ventures. In 2010, he founded Media Advisory Partners with several partners. Hyland was a strident advocate for CAA, ensuring the financial health of the organization and guiding it with sound input and wisdom through three decades.

Hyland was the author of two notable books, Evangelism’s First Modern Media Star, The Life of Reverend Bill Stidger and The Moses Virus. In the former title, Hyland examined the life of his grandfather, the famous preacher, Bill Stidger, who foresaw the possibilities of modern-day media to expand evangelical work. His second book, The Moses Virus, is a fictional thriller set in Rome.

Hyland was born in 1938 in Detroit, Michigan. He majored in Theoretical Physics at Williams College, graduating in 1959; and from Harvard Business School, graduating in 1961.

In addition to serving CAA, Hyland was Co-Chair of the Board of Trustees of Teachers College, Columbia University. He was also Chairman Emeritus of the American Academy in Rome; and Vice President and Director of the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. Formerly, he was also a Trustee and Treasurer of the National Building Museum in Washington.

We offer our condolences to his partner, Larry Wente; to his former wife, Karen Conant Hyland; to his children, Liza, Jonathan and Susannah, and grandchildren.

Filed under: Board of Directors, Obituaries

We were very sad to learn of the early and sudden passing of CAA Board Member Dina Bangdel. Dina, who was a long-standing member of CAA, joined our Board of Directors in 2016. Prior to that, she was on CAA’s Nominating Committee and served as the Board liaison to the Education Committee. In addition, Dina was active in the Student and Emerging Professionals Committee (SEPC) and the Committee on Women in the Arts (CWA). She is survived by her husband, Dr. Bibhakar Shakya, and her children, Deven and Neal.

Dina was Director of the Art History Department at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar. A more complete obituary can be found here.

In addition, here is a wonderful interview with her.

We will all miss her warm smile and thoughtful participation at CAA.

To send condolences to her family:

Dr. Bibhakar Shakya
3029 Crossfield Road
Richmond, VA 23233

Lloyd Engelbrech: In Memoriam

posted by February 06, 2017

Professor Emeritus, Dr. Lloyd Engelbrecht (1927–2016), died peacefully in his sleep in hospice on New Year’s Eve after battling neuroendocrine cancer for half a year. He was a beloved faculty member of the Art History program at the University of Cincinnati, 1980–2001, where he taught the history of design, and modern art and architecture, and mentored twenty-four M.A. advisees.

He was the author of the first comprehensive, fully-documented biography of László Moholy-Nagy, Moholy-Nagy: Mentor to Modernism (Flying Trapeze Press, 2009) and, with his wife June Engelbrecht, the award-winning biography, Henry C. Trost, Architect of the Southwest (El Paso Library Association, 1981). Together, they also created a catalogue raisonné of the work of Trost and his family firm of Trost & Trost. Additionally, Engelbrecht published essays in Taken by Design: Photographs from the Institute of Design, 1937–1971 (U of Chicago Press, 2002), Best of Triglyph (Arizona State U Press, 2002), The Old Guard and the Avant-Garde: Modernism in Chicago, 1910-1940 (U of Chicago Press, 1990), and 50 Jahre New Bauhaus (Bauhaus-Archiv, 1987). Recently, he was working on a biography of Chicago’s first Modernist painter, Rudolph Weisenborn (1881–1974). Engelbrecht’s publications concerned the influence of the German Bauhaus in the U.S., and he helped mount exhibitions in both American and European museums.

Engelbrecht’s degrees were AB in General Studies, University of California, Berkeley, 1950; MS, Library Science, Columbia University, 1951; and an interdisciplinary doctorate from the Committee on History of Culture at the University of Chicago, University of Chicago, 1973. Engelbrecht received grants from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts and from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Engelbrecht was a remarkably kind, generous, and positive man who will be missed by his two daughters, Khadija Engelbrecht Fouad and Julie Rowlands, and their husbands, Aladdin Fouad and David Rowlands, four grandchildren, Omar Fouad, Maryam Fouad, Ibrahim Fouad, and Hussain Fouad, and numerous friends, as well as many devoted former students. He was predeceased by his wife June-Marie Fink Engelbrecht.

Filed under: Obituaries

Former CAA President Marvin Eisenberg Dies

posted by June 06, 2016

Marvin Eisenberg, professor of history of art at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and president of the CAA Board of Directors from 1968 to 1970, died on May 18, 2016. He was 93 years old.

In 1943 Eisenberg earned a BA from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, after serving in the Army Signal Corps during World War II. Upon earning both an MFA and PhD from Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey, he began teaching at Michigan, where he worked for his entire career. Eisenberg won CAA’s Distinguished Teaching of Art History Award in 1987. He retired in 1989.

Read more about Eisenberg’s life and career on the website of the University of Michigan’s College of Literature, Science, and the Arts.

Marilyn Stokstad Has Died

posted by March 07, 2016

Marilyn Stokstad, a distinguished art historian and president of the CAA Board of Directors from 1978 to 1980, has died. She was 87 years old.

Stokstad was a professor in the Department of Art History at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, where she began her career in 1958. She also served as the director of the KU Museum of Art (now the Spencer Museum of Art) at her school from 1961 to 1968. Though Stokstad retired in the early 2000s, she remained active in the field.

Stokstad was a long-time CAA supporter, giving at the Patron level for many years, and attended and presented at numerous Annual Conferences. In addition to her widely known textbook Art History, she contributed four articles to Art Journal. Additional books by Stokstad are listed on Amazon.

Filed under: Obituaries, Uncategorized

Laurie Schneider Adams: In Memoriam

posted by October 23, 2015

Laurie Schneider Adams, a scholar of Italian Renaissance art and in the application of psychoanalytic theory to art history, died on June 19, 2015, at the age of 73.

Adams, who earned her PhD at Columbia University, joined the faculty of the newly established John Jay College, City University of New York, in 1966. She taught there and at the Graduate Center until 2011. Adams was the author of many books, including A History of Western Art, Art across Time, The Methodologies of Art, Art and Psychoanalysis, and Italian Renaissance Art. She was the editor-in-chief of the journal Source: Notes in the History of Art from 1984 until earlier this year.

The East Hampton Star has also published an obituary for Adams.

Filed under: Obituaries

Pamela Z. Blum: In Memoriam

posted by October 23, 2015

Pamela Z. Blum, a historian of medieval art noted for her innovative iconographical and archeological work distinguishing original from restored sculpture at the Royal Abbey Church of Saint-Denis in Paris, and for her contributions to studies of the provenance of limestone used in medieval sculpture, died on August 6, 2015, in North Branford, Connecticut. She was 92. The cause of death was a sudden, undefined cardiovascular event.

Blum became an art historian relatively late in life. She was a homemaker for twenty-four years before she discovered her calling in the churches of East Anglia while spending a year in Cambridge. Her interest in medieval art grew from making rubbings of the commemorative brass plaques in the surrounding churches into a serious intellectual pursuit inspired by the medieval art-history lectures of Nikolaus Pevsner at Cambridge University. Blum enrolled in Yale University Graduate School in 1968 at the age of 45, obtained an MA and an MPhil, and was awarded a PhD in history of art in 1978.

Blum established her reputation at the Royal Abbey Church of Saint-Denis in France. Using a toothbrush and camera, she worked high up on scaffolding erected along the abbey’s façades to reveal, distinguish, and document the original from the restored elements of the sculpture there. She continued to study and publish her findings on the Royal Abby throughout her career, including codirected studies sponsored by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York on the provenance of limestone used in medieval sculpture. These studies were noted for their intellectually stimulating collaborations among scientists, archeologists, and art historians.

She edited and contributed to the book The Royal Abbey of Saint-Denis: From Its Beginning to the Death of Suger, 475–1151 and authored Early Gothic Saint-Denis: Restorations and Survivals. She wrote or cowrote articles such as “Fingerprinting the Stone at Saint-Denis: A Pilot Study” (Gesta) and“The Sculptures of the Salisbury Chapter-house” (Salisbury Cathedral Medieval Publications Art and Architecture),among many other articles that appeared in Gesta and CAA’s Art Journal, and in commemorative compendiums honoring her mentor, Sumner McKnight Crosby.

Blum taught at many institutions throughout her career, among them Columbia University, the International Center for Medieval Art at the Cloisters, Wesleyan University, and Yale University. Other positions included Miriam Sacher Visiting Fellow at St. Hilda’s College in Oxford, England.

Throughout her life Blum supported significant numbers of environmental and humanitarian causes. Kent Place School awarded her the Barbara Wright Biddison Distinguished Alumna Award in 2010. She was also an active alumna of Smith College and a vital member of New Haven’s intellectual community.

Blum was born in 1923 in Jersey City, New Jersery, to William A. Zink and the former Marjorie Powell. She attended Kent Place School in Summit, New Jersery, and graduated cum laude from Smith College in 1943, on an accelerated wartime program, with a BA in economics. She married John M. Blum in 1944. They were married for sixty-seven years when he died in 2011. She is survived by three children—Ann of Arlington, Massachusetts; Pamela of Kingston, New York; and Thomas of Dobbs Ferry, New York—and three grandchildren.

Published on October 23, 2015.

Filed under: Obituaries