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CAA has named John Davis, Katy Rogers, and Kenneth Wissoker to our Board of Directors as appointed directors, each for a four-year term. CAA’s appointed directors bring experience and perspectives that complement the strength and vision of the elected members of CAA’s board. The extent of scholarship, leadership, and professional accomplishment of the three new appointed directors will be invaluable to CAA as we begin strategizing as to how the organization can best serve our members and the art community at large in light of the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 crisis,” said N. Elizabeth Schlatter, President of CAA. “We are exceedingly grateful for the service and dedication of these appointed directors as well as that of all of our board members who volunteer so much time and commitment to our field.” 

John Davis

John Davis is a historian of the art and architecture of the United States. For twenty-five years, he served on the faculty of Smith College, where he taught in the art history and American studies programs, chaired the Art Department, and served as Associate Provost and Dean for Academic Development. In 2017, he joined the Smithsonian Institution as Provost and Under Secretary of Museums, Education, and Research, with responsibility for nineteen museums, nine research institutes, twenty-two libraries, fellowships and internships, and the National Zoo. He is currently serving as the Interim Director, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, in New York City. He has been a visiting professor in Japan, Belgium, and France and is an elected member of the American Antiquarian Society. His most recent publication is Art of the United States, 1750-2000: Primary Sources (2020), coauthored with Michael Leja. 

Katy Rogers

Katy Rogers is vice president and secretary of the Dedalus Foundation, where she also serves as the Programs Director and Director of the Robert Motherwell catalogue raisonné project. A graduate of the University of Colorado, she received her MA in Art History from Hunter College. She is also an alumna of the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Independent Study Program (ISP) where she was a Helena Rubinstein Curatorial Fellow. She is the co-author of the catalogue raisonné of Motherwell’s paintings and collages (Yale University Press 2012), and of Robert Motherwell: 100 Years (Skira 2015). She is currently working on a catalogue raisonné of Motherwell’s drawings to be published by Yale University Press in fall 2022. Since 2013, she has been the President of the Catalogue Raisonné Scholars Association where she co-organized the 2015 conference “The Catalogue Raisonné and its Construction” and the 2018 conference “The Afterlife of Sculptures: Posthumous Casts in Scholarship, the Market, and the Law.” 

Ken Wissoker

Ken Wissoker is Senior Executive Editor at Duke University Press, acquiring books across the humanities, social sciences, and the arts. He joined the Press as an Acquisitions Editor in 1991; became Editor-in-Chief in 1997; was named Editorial Director in 2005; and assumed his current position in 2020. In addition to his duties at the Press, he serves as Director of Intellectual Publics at The Graduate Center, CUNY in New York City. He has published more than a thousand books which have won over one hundred and fifty prizes. He has written on publishing for The Chronicle of Higher EducationThe Scholarly Kitchen, and Cinema Journal, and writes a column for the Japanese cultural studies journal “5.” He speaks regularly on publishing at universities in the United States and around the world.  

About CAA Appointed Directors

Appointed directors bring a variety of views and skills that contribute to CAA’s growth and stability as a professional support organization. In February 2010, CAA members approved an amendment to Article VII, Section IV of the organizational By-laws to establish a new category of appointed director. Learn more.  

Isimeme Omogbai.

CAA is pleased to announce Isimeme (Meme) Omogbai as its next executive director in an executive search process guided by Arts Consulting Group. Omogbai succeeds David Raizman, who has served as CAA’s interim executive director since July 2019. Omogbai begins at CAA on March 30, 2020.

“It is a pleasure to welcome Meme Omogbai to CAA as Executive Director,” says Jim Hopfensperger, President of CAA. “The Search Committee conveyed its confidence that Meme will apply her unique administrative experiences, striking energy, and clear vision to the important work ahead at this key moment in the Association’s history.”

As executive director, Omogbai is an employee of the CAA Board of Directors and serves as the Association’s chief executive officer. In this role, she will work with board members, committees, and task forces to develop the Association’s strategic plans. Omogbai’s experience in resource management and the museum world will greatly benefit the membership and the larger visual arts, design, education, and cultural communities with whom CAA works. Omogbai will oversee a wide variety of initiatives, including the CAA Annual Conference, an advocacy program, member services activities, the career center, fellowships, grants and opportunities offered by CAA, and the publications program, which includes The Art Bulletin, Art JournalArt Journal Open, and caa.reviews.

“I am joining CAA at an unprecedented period in world history as people across the globe are trying to understand what COVID-19 means for their families, communities and organizations. As I embark on this new role, I want to emphasize that maintaining the health, well-being, and safety of our staff, membership, and stakeholders is and will always be a top priority,” says Omogbai. “We have seen examples of the indomitable human spirit overcome adversity. Art inspired by challenging experiences is a common thread for many of the world’s most distinguished creative minds. Now more than ever there is a need to provide access to robust edifying visual arts experiences that are inclusive of diverse practices and practitioners for every adult and child, professional and student, nationality and race across the globe. Together we can achieve these objectives. With CAA as the preeminent international leadership organization in the visual arts, promoting these arts and their understanding, we will have the opportunity to perform an invaluable service to humanity.”

Before joining CAA, Omogbai served as a member and past Board Chair of the New Jersey Historic Trust, one of four landmark entities dedicated to preservation of the state’s historic and cultural heritage and Montclair State University’s Advisory Board. Named one of 25 Influential Black Women in Business by The Network Journal, Omogbai arrives with over 25 years of diversified experience in corporate, government, higher education, and museum sectors.

As the first American of African descent to chair the American Alliance of Museums, Omogbai led an initiative to rebrand the AAM as a global, inclusive alliance. While COO and Trustee, she spearheaded a major transformation in operating performance at the Newark Museum and achieved four consecutive years of 4-star ratings for superior management. During her time as Deputy Assistant Chancellor of New Jersey’s Department of Higher Education, Omogbai received Legislative acknowledgement and was recognized with the New Jersey Meritorious Service Award for her work on college affordability initiatives for New Jersey families.

Omogbai received her MBA in Finance & Management Consultancy from Rutgers University and holds a CPA. She did post-graduate work at Harvard University’s Executive Management Program and has earned the designation of Chartered Global Management Accountant. She studied global museum executive leadership at the J. Paul Getty Trust Museum Leadership Institute, where she also served on the faculty.

Are You in a CAA Photo? Let Us Know

posted by February 27, 2020

Lynne Allen and Melissa Potter at the 2020 Annual Conference in Chicago. Photo: Stacey Rupolo

Each year we welcome thousands of CAA members, colleagues, and friends to our Annual Conference. It is an exciting time of year with an incredible amount of activity.

As a membership organization, it is important to us to include names wherever possible. While we try to identify those in conference photographs by badge, event, or word-of-mouth and include that information in the caption, we are not always able to do so. (We also err on the side of caution, in case we get it wrong!)

If you see yourself in a CAA photo and would like to be identified in the future, we will do our best to make it happen. Please let Alison Chang, director of communications, marketing, and membership, know at: achang@collegeart.org

Thank you!

Honorees this year include Eleanor Antin, Joseph Leo Koerner, Maud K. Lavin, Annet Couwenberg, Harriet Senie, Kyle Staver, and many other scholars, artists, and teachers

CAA Annual Conference, Chicago, February 12-15, 2020

Eleanor Antin

We are pleased to announce the recipients and finalists of the 2020 CAA Awards for Distinction. Among the winners this year is Eleanor Antin, recipient of the 2020 Distinguished Artist Award for Lifetime Achievement. Born in the Bronx in 1935 to immigrant parents, Antin is an innovator and pioneer as a feminist artist, a performance and installation artist, a conceptual artist, filmmaker, and writer. She is an emeritus Professor of Visual Arts at the University of California, San Diego and author of several books including An Artist’s Life by Eleonora Antinova and Conversations with Stalin. Antin’s solo museum exhibitions have appeared at the MoMA, the Whitney Museum, and, in 2019, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art with her retrospective, Eleanor Antin: Time’s Arrow. Her awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship and a 2006 Women’s Caucus for Art Lifetime Achievement Award.

Joseph Leo Koerner

Joseph Leo Koerner is the recipient of the 2020 Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award for Writing on Art. His achievements include four landmark books on sixteenth-century paintings: The Moment of Self-Portraiture in German Renaissance Art (University of Chicago Press, 1993), The Moment of Self-Portraiture in German Renaissance Art (University of Chicago Press, 2003), The Reformation of the Image (Reaktion Books, 2004), and Bosch and Bruegel: From Enemy Painting to Everyday Life (Princeton University Press, 2016). Koerner has also written widely on more recent artists, from Caspar David Friedrich to Paul Klee, and explored early-twentieth century Vienna through a documentary project and a semi-autobiographical film.

Maud K. Lavin

Dr. Maud K. Lavin is the recipient of the 2020 Distinguished Feminist Award for scholarship. Over the course of three decades, Lavin has worked tirelessly as a key pioneer in the field of feminist art history and visual studies. She is the author of numerous books including the first English-language book on Berlin Dada artist Hannah Hoch, Cut with the Kitchen Knife: The Weimar Photomontages of Hannah Hoch (Yale University Press, 1993), and most recently,  Boys’ Love, Cosplay, and Androgynous Idols: Queer Fan Cultures in Mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, co-edited with Ling Yang and Jamie Zhao (Hong Kong University Press, 2017). She is a professor of Visual and Critical Studies and Art History, Theory, and Criticism at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

The Awards for Distinction will be presented during Convocation at the CAA Annual Conference on Wednesday, February 12 at 6:00 PM at the Hilton Chicago. This event is free and open to the public.

The full list of 2020 CAA Awards for Distinction Recipients

Distinguished Artist Award for Lifetime Achievement

Eleanor Antin

Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award for Writing on Art

Joseph Leo Koerner

Distinguished Feminist Award—Scholar

Maud K. Lavin

Distinguished Teaching of Art Award

Annet Couwenberg

Distinguished Teaching of Art History Award

Harriet Senie

Artist Award for Distinguished Body of Work

Kyle Staver

CAA/AIC Award for Distinction in Scholarship and Conservation

Jeanne Marie Teutonico

Award for Excellence in Diversity

3Arts

Outstanding Leadership in Philanthropy Award

Terra Foundation for American Art

Charles Rufus Morey Book Award

J. P. Park
A New Middle Kingdom: Painting and Cultural Politics in Late Chosŏn Korea (1700–1850)
University of Washington Press, 2018

Finalists

Chanchal B. Dadlani
From Stone to Paper: Architecture as History in the Late Mughul Empire
Yale University Press, 2019

Barbara Furlotti
Antiquities in Motion: From Excavation Sites to Renaissance Collections
Getty Publications, 2019

Matthew Looper
The Beast Between: Deer in Maya Art and Culture
University of Texas Press, 2019

Alfred H. Barr Jr. Award

Karl Kusserow and Alan C. Braddock
Nature’s Nation: American Art and Environment
Princeton University Art Museum, 2019
with contributions by Miranda Belarde-Lewis, Teddy Cruz, Rachael Z. DeLue, Mark Dion, Fonna Forman, Laura Turner Igoe, Robin Kelsey, Anne McClintock, Timothy Morton, Rob Nixon, Jeffrey Richmond-Moll, Kimia Shahi, and Jaune Quick-to-See-Smith

Honorable Mention

Esther Gabara
Pop América, 1965–1975
Duke University Press, 2018

Finalists

Cathleen Chaffee
Introducing Tony Conrad: A Retrospective
Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY, in association with Koenig Books, London, 2019

Jessica Morgan and Alexis Lowry
Charlotte Posenenske: Work in Progress
Dia Art Foundation and Walther König, 2019

Elizabeth Morrison
Book of Beasts: The Bestiary in the Medieval World
Getty Publications, 2019

Alfred H. Barr Jr. Award for Smaller Museums, Libraries, Collections, and Exhibitions

Denise Murrell
Posing Modernity: The Black Model from Manet and Matisse to Today
Yale University Press in association with The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery, Columbia
University in the City of New York, 2018

Honorable Mention

Phillip Earenfight
Shan Goshorn: Resisting the Mission
Trout Gallery, Dickinson College, 2019

Finalists

Tracy L. Adler
Jeffery Gibson: This is The Day
Prestel Publishing, 2018

Faith Brower, Heather Ahtone, and Seth Hopkins
Warhol and the West
University of California Press, 2019

Frank Jewett Mather Award for Art Criticism

Darby English
To Describe a Life: Notes from the Intersection of Art and Race Terror
Yale University Press, 2019

Art Journal Award

Philip Glahn and Cary Levine
“The Future Is Present: Electronic Café and the Politics of Technological Fantasy”
Art Journal, vol. 78, no. 3 (Fall 2019): 100–121

Arthur Kingsley Porter Prize

Claudia Brittenham
“Architecture, Vision, and Ritual: Seeing Maya Lintels at Yaxchilan Structure 23″
The Art Bulletin, vol. 101, no. 3 (September 2019): 8–36

Learn about the juries that select the recipients of the CAA Awards for Distinction.

VISIT THE CONFERENCE SITE

We’re pleased to announce this year’s participants in the CAA-Getty International Program. Now in its ninth year, this international program supported by the Getty Foundation will bring fifteen new participants and five alumni to the 2020 Annual Conference in Chicago, Illinois.

The participants—professors of art history, curators, and artists who teach art history—hail from countries throughout the world, expanding CAA’s growing international membership and contributing to an increasingly diverse community of scholars and ideas. This year we are adding participants from four countries not included previously—Bolivia, Saudi Arabia, Côte d’Ivoire, and Singapore—bringing the total number of countries represented by the program to fifty. Selected by a jury of CAA members from a highly competitive group of applicants, the participants will receive funding for travel expenses, hotel accommodations, conference registration, CAA membership, and per diems for out-of-pocket expenditures.

At a one-day preconference colloquium, to be held this year at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the fifteen new participants will discuss key issues in the international study of art history together with five CAA-Getty alumni and several CAA members from the United States, who also will serve as hosts throughout the conference. The preconference program will delve deeper into subjects discussed during last year’s program, including such topics as postcolonial and Eurocentric legacies, interdisciplinary and transnational methodologies, and the intersection of politics and art history.

This is the third year that the program includes five alumni, who provide an intellectual link between previous convenings of the international program and this year’s events. They also serve as liaisons between CAA and the growing community of CAA-Getty alumni. In addition to serving as moderators for the preconference colloquium, the five alumni will present a new Global Conversation during the 2020 conference titled Things Aren’t Always as they Seem: Art History and the Politics of Vision.

The goal of the CAA-Getty International Program is to increase international participation in the organization’s activities, thereby expanding international networks and the exchange of ideas both during and after the conference. CAA currently includes members from sixty countries around the world. We look forward to welcoming the following participants at the next Annual Conference in Chicago.

REGISTER FOR CAA 2020

2020 Participants in the CAA-Getty International Program

Irene Bronner is a senior lecturer with the South African Research Chair in South African Art History and Visual Culture, Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture, University of Johannesburg, South Africa. Her doctorate (DLitt et Phil), titled “Representations of Domestic Workers in Post-apartheid South African Art Practice,” was conferred by the University of Johannesburg in 2016. She then held a three-year postdoctoral research fellowship with the same institution, during which time she received a Postdoctoral Research Fellows’ Excellence Award. Her research interests center on feminist studies in the visual arts, with a focus on contemporary southern Africa. She works principally with feminist, queer and postcolonial cultural theory as well as issues of memory, affect, gender, and the aftermath of trauma.  She has published in local and international journals, recently in Woman’s Art Journal and Textile: Journal of Cloth and Culture.

 

Eiman Elgibreen is an artist and an assistant professor of art history at the Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. She obtained a PhD in art history from the University of Sussex (UK) for her research on “Image Making: Representations of Women in the Art and Career of Safeya Binzagr 1968-2000.”  Since 2011 Elgibreen has also been a freelance writer for Al-Riyadh Daily Newspaper and Al-Jazirah Daily Newspaper, and an art consultant for organizations that are concerned with preserving the legacy of Saudi pioneer artists such as Darat Safeya Binzagr (a museum devoted to the artist’s work), and Saudi Arts House (a family foundation devoted to the work of Mohammed Alsaleem). In addition, she has curated a number of art exhibitions, including the Saudi National Pavilion at the 58th Venice Biennale, 2019. Elgibreen is interested in exploring the forgotten and/or misrepresented aspects of Saudi and Arab culture through her research and her art. A goal of her work is to encourage acceptance of cultural differences.

Dária G. Jaremtchuk is an associate professor of art history at the Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil, where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on contemporary art. As Fulbright Brazil Distinguished Chair at Emory University in 2019, she taught a course in the art history department about Brazilian contemporary visual arts. In 2018, she was a visiting scholar at Georgetown University and at Brown University in 2011. In 2010, she edited the book Arte e política: situações (Art and politics: situations) (Alameda Editora) and in 2007 she published Anna Bella Geiger: Passagens Conceituais (Anna Bella Geiger: conceptual passages) (C/Arte and Editora da Universidade de São Paulo). She is currently researching the relocation of Brazilian artists during the Brazilian military dictatorship of the 1960s and 70s and the artistic exchange between Brazil and the United States at that time. She has published on this topic in journals, conference proceedings, and book chapters.

 

Ganiyu Jimoh received a PhD in art history from the University of Lagos, Nigeria, where he is also a lecturer. He is currently a postdoctoral fellow with the Arts of Africa and Global Souths research program in the Department of Fine Art at Rhodes University in South Africa. His research, which focuses on contemporary art, new media, satire, and cartoons has attracted major awards, including the prestigious University of Lagos Best Researcher Award in Arts and Humanities in 2011. In 2015 he received a grant to conduct research for his PhD dissertation at the African Studies Center at Michigan State University. Jimoh is also a recipient of the 2019 African Studies Association Presidential fellowship. As a scholarly writer who is also a practicing political cartoonist, Jimga (his cartoon signature) has several local and international exhibitions to his credit and currently serves as the secretary of Cartoonists Association of Nigeria (CARTAN).

 

Mariana Levytska is a research associate in the Department of Art Studies of the Ethnology Institute at the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine in Lviv. She received a PhD in the history of art from the Lviv National Academy of Arts in 2003. Based on her thesis, she published a monograph about Ukrainian portrait painting as an artistic and memorial phenomenon of the long nineteenth century. In addition, she has worked as a senior lecturer from 2005–14 and associate professor in 2015 at the Department of Architectural Environment Design in the Faculty of Architecture of the Lviv National Agricultural University. Levytska’s current area of research is Ukrainian religious art of the eighteenth century (late Baroque-Rococo period), focusing on the concept of cultural transfer according to “peripatetic works of art (such as engravings and albums)” as well as peripatetic artists. She is also interested in issues of Ukrainian historiography of the art of the twentieth century.

 

Daniela Lucena holds a PhD in social sciences from the University of Buenos Aires (UBA) and specialize in the sociology of art and culture. A researcher at the National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET) in Buenos Aires, she teaches sociology of art courses at UBA, where she is also head of a research team.  Since 2003 she has studied various aesthetical projects where art, culture, and politics are intertwined. Her books include Contaminación artística. Arte concreto, comunismo y peronismo en los años 40 (Artistic contamination: concret avant-garde, communism and Peronism in the 40s) (Biblios, 2015) and Modo mata moda. Arte, cuerpo y (micro)política en los 80 (Form kills fashion: art, body and [micro]politics in the 80s), coauthored with Gisela Laboureau, (EDULP, 2016). In addition to her work as researcher, since 2007 she has collaborated with PH15, a foundation that organizes photography workshops for children of vulnerable populations, assessing programs and community work linked to art.

 


Ali Mahfouz is the director of the Mansoura Storage Museum, part of the Ministry of Egyptian Antiquities. He received a BA in 2010 and an MA in Egyptology in 2017, both from Mansoura University. He is currently working on his PhD. Mahfouz began working as an inspector of antiquities at the Ministry of Antiquities in 2012. In August 2015 he was appointed the supervisor of the Mansoura Storage Museum and in October 2018 he became its director. With colleagues, Mahfouz founded Save Mansoura, a volunteer organization dedicated to raising public awareness about the value of cultural heritage and the restoration of historic sites. He is also the cofounder of the Documentation of Architectural and Urban Heritage of Mansoura City Project, which aims to document, digitize, and archive that city’s cultural history. His greatest concern is the fate of archaeological sites damaged or destroyed because of political conflicts and the need to preserve his country’s cultural heritage in the wake of that destruction.

 

Priya Maholay-Jaradi is the founding convenor of a new art history academic program, a collaboration between the National University of Singapore (NUS) and the National Gallery Singapore. She earned an MA in art history from the School of Oriental and African Studies, London (2001); a PhD from NUS (2012), and a postdoctoral fellowship at the International Institute for Asian Studies, Leiden (2013). A former curator at the Asian Civilizations Museum, Singapore, she has curated Portrait of a Community (National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai, 2002), Beauty in Asia (Asian Civilizations Museum, Singapore, 2007) and Tautology of Memory (NUS Museum, Singapore, 2012). Jaradi’s monograph, Fashioning a National Art: Baroda’s Royal Collection and Institutions (1875-1924) (Oxford University Press, 2016), mobilizes provincial archives to reveal links between princely modernities and nationalisms in South Asia. She is the volume editor of Baroda: A Cosmopolitan Provenance in Transition (Marg Foundation, 2015). Her current research examines India-Singapore museological imaginations within the context of cold war diplomacy, the Non-Aligned Movement, and decolonization.

 

Valeria Paz Moscoso specializes in modern and contemporary Bolivian art history. She is the academic coordinator and advisor in the Department of Culture at the Universidad Católica Boliviana (La Paz), where she is also a temporary lecturer and editor of the journal Ciencia y Cultura (Science and culture). Her PhD dissertation examined the concept of repression and emancipation in the work of Bolivian artist Roberto Valcárcel. Currently, she is researching the disruption of the narrative of Indigenism in contemporary art. Additional research interests include gender, humor, critical theory, postcolonial studies, and arts-based research. She has curated exhibitions in Bolivia and the United Kingdom, and published in journals such as ESCALA Research Papers, Ciencia y CulturaBisagra (Hinge), Terremoto (Earthquake), and in the books Corrosión y Anomalía: escenas  del arte contemporáneo boliviano (Corrosion and anomaly: scenes from contemporary Bolivian art) (2019) and Bolivia: Los caminos de la escultura (Bolivia: the paths of sculpture) (2009), a publication selected for the Bicentennial Library of Bolivia.

 

Daria Panaiotti is a photography curator and research associate in the Contemporary Art Department of the State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia. She graduated with honors from the European University in St. Petersburg (EUSPB), where she is currently completing her PhD with a dissertation on the history of Soviet documentary photography in Brezhnev’s era. She is also a member of the program committee of the After Post-Photography international conference, the only annual conference on photographic theory and history in Russia. Previously she was involved in the project In Support of Photography in Russia, funded by the IRIS Foundation, Moscow, where she was a member of the curatorial team that organized exhibitions of Russian photography for FotoFest 2012—an international photography festival held every two years in Houston, Texas—and where she also participated in an international portfolio review for Russian photographers at the Garage Center for Contemporary Culture in Moscow in 2011.

 

Aleksandra Paradowska is a lecturer and researcher in the Department of Art History and Philosophy, Faculty of Art Education and Curatorial Studies, at the University of Fine Arts in Poznań, Poland. After receiving a PhD from the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań in 2013, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Wrocław from 2014–17. Her research focuses on architectural history of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, especially the relationship between architecture and politics. For the past five years she has studied Nazi architecture in Polish territories during the Second World War in relation to different perspectives of the humanities, that is, interdisciplinary views of postcolonial and heritage studies. Paradowska has published widely on Polish interwar architecture and received several scholarships:  from DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst) in 2010, START by the Foundation for Polish Science in 2014, and a scholarship for leading young researchers in Poland by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education in 2017–19.

 

Saurabh Tewari received a BArch in 2008 from the Sushant School of Art and Architecture, Gurgaon/GGSIP University, Delhi (India), and a MDes in 2010 from the Industrial Design Center, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay. As a doctoral candidate in the Design Program at the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, he is attempting to map out and understand the shifting role of design in postcolonial India within the broader narrative of national development. Currently an assistant professor of design in the School of Planning and Architecture in Bhopal, Tewari has developed a curriculum that includes design history, design culture, and design studies. Ultimately, his goal is to develop South Asia’s first postgraduate program in design history and studies. He views his role in two ways: as a design historian in South Asia exploring and constructing scholarly approaches to design history, and as a South Asian scholar in the design history community voicing the potential of decolonized approaches to the field.

 

Giuliana Vidarte received a BA in Latin American literature and an MA in art history from the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. In 2013 she was part of a curatorial intensive course in Northern Ireland organized by Independent Curators International (New York). In 2014 she received a travel grant to participate in the annual meeting of the International Committee for Museums and Collections of Modern Art (CIMAM) in Qatar. Between 2015–18, she was the curator of Bufeo: Amazonía+Arte, a project for the research and dissemination of Amazonian art. Vidarte has developed exhibition projects about the relationship between visual arts and literature, the rewriting of history based on the recovery of unofficial discourses, and artistic production in the Peruvian Amazon. Currently, she is chief curator and head of exhibitions at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo in Lima (MAC Lima) and curatorial assistant for the Peruvian pavilion at the 58th Venice Biennale in 2019.

 

Julia Waite is the curator of New Zealand art at the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, New Zealand’s largest art museum. She has worked on a number of large-scale exhibitions including the fifth Auckland triennial, If you were to live here . . . (2013) and Space to Dream: Recent Art from South America (2016). Her research interests are focused on the development of modern art in New Zealand and its connections with other peripheral modernisms. In 2015 she curated the exhibition Freedom and Structure: Cubism and New Zealand Art 1930–1960, which toured throughout New Zealand, and published an associated catalogue. She cocurated the major survey of New Zealand’s preeminent abstract painter Gordon Walters: New Vision, which opened at Auckland Art Gallery in 2018. Most recently, Waite has cocurated Louise Henderson: From Life, the first comprehensive retrospective of French-born New Zealand artist Louise Henderson. She has an MA in art history (First Class) and an MA in museum and heritage studies.

 

Jean-Arsène Yao received a PhD in Latin American history from the Universidad de Alcalá (Spain) in 2002. His scholarship focuses on teaching Spanish in the African Diaspora, particularly with blacks in Argentina. Currently professor of Latin America and Caribbean studies at the Université Félix Houphouët-Boigny (Côte d’Ivoire) and visiting professor at the Universidad de Alcalá and the Universidad de Granada (Spain), his teaching interests include Hispanic American culture and civilization; race, class, and ethnicity in Latin America; and Afro-Hispanic history. He has a special interest in the visual representation of people of African descent in art history and visual studies. Yao has conducted research in Argentina, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, and Uruguay. He has published widely, including five books, several book chapters, and over twenty articles in juried journals of research. Since 2016 he has been the founder-coordinator of the Group of Latin American Studies and Research (https://grelat-ufhb.org/).

 

Participating Alumni

Abiodun Akande is a senior lecturer at the University of Lagos, Nigeria, where he teaches painting, art education, and art history. Akande earned a BA in fine arts from the Obafemi Awolowo University and received an MA and PhD in the visual arts of Africa from the Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan, Nigeria.  In 2013, he participated in the first Basel Summer School in African Studies at the University of Basel in Switzerland; he also attended a graduate symposium hosted by the School of Arts at Peking University in Beijing, China. Akande first participated in the CAA-Getty International Program in 2016 and returned the following year to participate in the 2017 CAA-Getty reunion program. His current research focuses on knowledge systems in the art and cultural practices of indigenous communities in Nigeria. A recent publication, “Ará òrun kìn-ìn kin-in: Òyó-Yòrùbá egúngún Masquerade in Communion and Maintenance of Ontological Balance,” (Genealogy, 3(1), 7, 2019) explores the Yòrùbá belief in life after death, and how the powers and spirits of the deceased are harnessed for the benefit of the living.

 

Pedith Chan is an assistant professor of Cultural Management in the Faculty of Arts at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She received her PhD in Art and Archaeology from SOAS, University of London. Before joining the Chinese University of Hong Kong Chan was an assistant curator at the Hong Kong Museum of Art, and an assistant professor at the City University of Hong Kong. Her research interests focus on the production and consumption of art and cultural heritage in modern and contemporary China. Recent publications include The Making of a Modern Art World: Institutionalization and Legitimization of Guohua in Republican Shanghai (Leiden: Brill, 2017), “Representation of Chinese Civilization: Exhibiting Chinese Art in Republican China,” in The Future of Museum and Gallery Design (London: Routledge, 2018), and “In Search of the Southeast: Tourism, Nationalism, Scenic Landscape in Republican China,” (Twentieth-Century China, 2018). She is currently researching the making of scenic sites in modern China. Chan was a participant in the 2019 CAA-Getty International Program.

 

Iro Katsaridou has been the curator of modern and contemporary art at the Museum of Byzantine Culture in Thessaloniki, Greece since 2005. She studied art history at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and the Université Paris I-Sorbonne, and also pursued museum studies at the City University of New York. Her doctoral dissertation focused on contemporary Greek photography (Aristotle University, 2010). For the past six years Katsaridou has been researching photography and art in World War I and II, during which time she has curated exhibitions on the subject and edited related catalogues. For the last four years she has been teaching as an adjunct faculty member at several Greek universities. She has co-edited two books about photography during the Nazi Occupation of Greece (1941-1944) and written articles and book chapters on photography, exhibition display policies, as well as the relationship between contemporary Greek art and politics. In 2019, she participated in the CAA-Getty International Program.

 

Cristian Nae is an associate professor at the George Enescu National University of Arts in Iași, Romania, where he teaches courses on contemporary art history, critical theory, visual and exhibition studies. He has benefited from scholarships and research grants from the Erste Foundation (Vienna), National Research Council, Romania (CNCS-UEFISCDI) , the CAA-Getty International Program, the Getty Foundation (Los Angeles), and New Europe College (Bucharest). His latest studies have appeared in collective volumes published by Wiley-Blackwell (2019, forthcoming) and Routledge (2018). Nae is the co-editor of Rethinking the Image of the World: Projects and Sketches. Contemporary Romanian Art 2010-2020 (Hatje Cantz, 2019, forthcoming). As a curator, he is the co-organizer of the exhibition Rethinking the Image of the World: Projects and Sketches (Musée Mill, La Louvrière, Belgium, 2019), which was part of the Europalia Arts Festival. Nae also curated Unfinished Conversations on the Weight of Absence, the exhibition marking Romania’s participation in the 58th Venice Biennale (2019). Nae participated in the first year of the CAA-Getty International Program, in 2012.

 

Nóra Veszprémi is a research associate for the European Research Council-funded project Continuity/Rupture: Art and Architecture in Central Europe 1918–1939 (CRAACE) at Masaryk University, Brno (Czech Republic). She is also an honorary research fellow at the University of Birmingham (UK), where she recently completed a project on museums in Austria-Hungary between 1867 and 1918. In 2014–15 she taught at the Institute of Art History at Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest (Hungary), where she also received her PhD in 2013. Veszprémi specializes in nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century Central European art. A former curator at the Hungarian National Gallery, she is the author of a monograph on romanticism and popular taste in mid-nineteenth century Hungary (in Hungarian) and co-author (with Matthew Rampley and Markian Prokopovych) of two forthcoming volumes on museums in Austria-Hungary: An Empire on Display: The Art Galleries and Museums of Austria-Hungary (Penn State University Press, 2020); and Liberalism, Nationalism and Design Reform in the Habsburg Empire: Museums of Design, Industry and the Applied Arts (Routledge, 2020). She is currently working on a monograph about historical memory in Central Europe after the collapse of the Habsburg Empire. Veszprémi was a 2015 participant in the CAA-Getty International Program.

We’re delighted to announce that N. Elizabeth Schlatter was elected at our October Board meeting as the new President of the CAA Board of Directors. She will succeed Jim Hopfensperger and serve a two-year term beginning May 1, 2020.

N. Elizabeth Schlatter is Deputy Director and Curator of Exhibitions at the University of Richmond Museums, Virginia. A museum administrator, curator, and writer, she focuses on modern and contemporary art and on topics related to curating and issues specific to university museums. At UR, she has curated more than 20 exhibitions, including recent group exhibitions of contemporary art such as “Crooked Data: (Mis)Information in Contemporary Art,” “Anti-Grand: Contemporary Perspectives on Landscape,” and “Art=Text=Art: Works by Contemporary Artists,” She also serves on and chairs various University and School of Arts & Sciences committees. Prior to the University of Richmond, she worked with exhibitions at the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) in Washington, D.C, and in fundraising at the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston. She is author of Museum Careers: A Practical Guide for Novices and Students (Left Coast Press, Inc.) and a contributor to A Life in Museums: Managing Your Museum Career (American Association of Museums). She has a B.A. in art history from Southwestern University in Texas, and an M.A. in art history from George Washington University.

Prior to this elected position, Schlatter was completing a 4-year term as a CAA board member, elected in February 2016. During that time, she served as Vice President for Annual Conference for two years, and in 2019 she served on the Nominating Committee and the Strategic Plan Task Force. She jointly initiated and assisted with the development of CAA’s Resources for Academic Art Museums Professionals (RAAMP), and prior to joining CAA’s board, she was chair of the Museum Committee.

We are delighted to welcome Dr. Kellie Jones, professor in Art History and Archaeology and the Institute for Research in African American Studies (IRAAS) at Columbia University, as the Distinguished Scholar for the 108th CAA Annual Conference in Chicago, February 12-15, 2020.

Dr. Jones, whose research interests include African American and African Diaspora artists, Latinx and Latin American Artists, and issues in contemporary art and museum theory, is the recipient of awards from the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, Harvard University, Creative Capital, and Warhol Foundation, among others. In 2016, she was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow. In 2018, Dr. Jones was the inaugural recipient of the Excellence in Diversity Award from CAA.

CAA media and content manager Joelle Te Paske spoke with Dr. Jones earlier this fall to learn about what she’s working on and looking forward to in upcoming exhibitions and scholarship. Read the interview below.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Dr. Kellie Jones. Photo: Rod McGaha

Hi, Professor Jones. Thank you for taking the time for this interview. It’s an honor to speak with you and we’re excited that you’ll be with us in Chicago.

I’m looking forward to it.

Great. So to begin—to locate ourselves in time and place—how are you? How was your summer?

It’s always fun, and it always ends too quickly. I think that’s just normal. [Laughs]

Yes, I guess that’s where we should be at this point [laughs]. Were you working on a particular project this summer?

Yes. I was working on a project for Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (CASVA). Huey Copeland of Northwestern University and Steven Nelson of UCLA are spearheading a Black Modernisms seminar with a group of scholars. I just finished an essay on the Harlem Renaissance that is still to be titled. I haven’t written extensively on that period so I’m really looking forward to hearing back from them. It involves race and gender and I’m very excited about it.

What else is exciting in your work right now?

Candida Alvarez: Here, A Visual Reader (Green Lantern Press 2019), the first major monograph on the Chicago-based painter, is about to hit shops. I’m excited by this project to which I contributed the essay, “When Painting Stepped Out to Lunch.” I have book that I’m finishing on global conceptual art networks that is tentatively titled Art is an Excuse, on how conceptual art allowed for different types of global connections. One great example is Senga Nengudi and her relationship to Japan which is something I’ve written about earlier but I wanted to more forthrightly connect to Japanese conceptualism. So how does Senga Nengudi fit into that dialogue, or what is her dialogue? I’m thinking about conceptual art as a motor for global art connection, different from what people call globalization—more like artist dialogues, not neoliberal globalization.

A macro view.

The book is more about relationships. We always think about artists in their particular nationalist space. What did Japanese conceptualism look like? What did Latin American conceptualism look like? How were they different? But we really don’t talk about the kind of dialogue that people have with each other. That’s really the whole premise of the project.

That’s terrific. I read that for undergrad at Amherst College you made an interdisciplinary major. I was going to ask: Has an interdisciplinary outlook been formative in your career? But I feel you’re already embodying that.

You’re absolutely right. I created an interdisciplinary major at Amherst. Shout out to my alma mater and to liberal arts education.

We love that at CAA, yes.

And we love it because it allows people to see the breadth of the world in some fashion and then choose something or choose a few things. I’m one of the people that thought about Latin American and African American and Latinx artists at least from my college years, and I’ve been going with that for the longest, along with ideas of the African diaspora. You might start out with “Let’s compare”—the comparative structure; the binary is such a signature of art history. But then you realize that it’s so much more than a just a binary—the interdisciplinarity, the multidisciplinarity. That’s always been a part of what I’ve looked at because at that time—and I know I’ve said it on numerous occasions in numerous platforms—art history was really taught one way. Because I had grown up in New York I said, “But wait a minute, they’re leaving out all of these people that are making art that I know!” That I see every week. I mean, how is that possible? So I started there and just kept going.

I also read that you wanted to be a diplomat originally, and that makes sense to me. I think art historians are often part-diplomats, part-detectives, part-scientists. There’s so much that goes into the field.

Absolutely. I wanted to get away from art. I grew up with artists and poets and I said, “Oh my god, these people are broke. I can’t do that.”

Well, that’s realistic—I suppose it’s changed, too.

It’s absolutely changed, but if you’re thinking about late 1970s—wow. People weren’t even thinking about objects too much.

Someone reminded me much later—maybe a couple of years ago—they said, “Well you know, you’ve been doing [diplomacy] with art. You’ve been a cultural ambassador with this work, because you’ve done shows around the world.” Art history became, “Wow, you can do the same things.” You can study languages. You can travel. It did become a way you could do all those things, and then of course as you just mentioned, as a curator you are a diplomatic entity between artists and the institution.

As a liaison, definitely. It’s sensitive.

Right. Even as an academic, if you’re traveling around or if you’re representing a contemporary artist in your writing—how do you balance how the artist sees themselves with what you have to say? There’s always that.

I’m curious what you see as emerging trends in scholarship, especially in art history. 

I think students and academics—particularly a new generation—don’t want traditional art history as we have known it. They want a more interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary, global understanding of art in the world. Art history is not just Europe, and it’s not just the United States. And the art of the United States meaning not just New York!

I think the other really exciting arena is, of course, gender. Gender studies. Queer studies in art history. Trans studies. All those things really change how we understand the object, how we understand history, the histories that we look for. There’s a similarity to the discoveries that I made when I was a student in college about how art history at that time did not represent even the histories of African Americans who were in New York, for instance. United States art history is written from a New York-centric perspective. And at that time, you didn’t see too many women in it. You didn’t see too many African Americans or Latinx figures. So now that such subjects are more widely known the next step seems to be to ask,”What is a queer art history?” And some people have been doing this for a while: Jonathan Weinberg, James Smalls, Julia Bryan-Wilson has brought us into the present with some of these ideas, and C. Ondine Chavoya with his Axis Mundo, project. So all these ideas are becoming more visible and I think it’s really exciting.

That’s one of the reasons why I’ve been so keen on my Harlem Renaissance article. It started out in one way, and then it took me in another direction; it takes another look at objects that have been dismissed as not being relevant, and sees them  through a different lens. It opens up other paths into these works that have been discarded. Or maybe not discarded, but put to the side. Let’s ask, “What’s going on with gender in these works?” What’s going on with queerness, and how do they signify to a Harlem Renaissance that is quite queer? It’s something people in literature have discovered, certainly in the African American context, and they’ve been talking about that for years. Art history has to catch up.

Yes, you feel a real energy in the field, a real hunger for it. With recent protests around Warren Kanders at the Whitney Museum, what are your views on that momentum? [Editor’s note: Since this conversation took place, Warren Kanders announced his resignation from the Whitney Museum board.]

Well, you know, there have always been protests at US museums as well as those around the world. So whether you are a curator or a director who bares the brunt of the protest, or you are an artist who withdraws, you’re part of history. Scholars down the road are going to say, “These people pulled out. These people wrote a letter. These were the curators. These were the board members.” So for me it’s just part of history, and it has ebbs and flows. There are a lot of things going on in this world that artists are addressing, that artists see. They do respond to the world in one way or another. You may not see it visibly, but it’s there.

I agree. I think putting new ideas in the world the way artists do is cultural change, and like you said—it’s interconnected. You can’t really have one without the other.

Yes. It’s part of a larger history.

I think students and academics—particularly a new generation—don’t want traditional art history as we have known it.

When did you first join CAA? Do you have a favorite memory from a conference?

I had joined CAA by 1990, when I served as the co-chair of the programming at the Annual Meeting for the Studio or Artists’ sessions with Robert Storr. I’ve been on plenty of panels since then, but to be honored in this way is humbling and exciting. Even better, all of the respondents I asked to participate on the Distinguished Scholar panel said, “Yes! I’ll be a part of it.” So I’m thrilled about that. I’ve been at Columbia University about 13 years, and I remember when Rosalind Krauss was honored, and I participated in Richard J. Powell’s Distinguished Scholar panel. So to step into those shoes, it seems a bit surreal.

Thinking of Chicago in 2020—do you have a favorite art-related excursion there?

Well, the South Side Community Art Center is legendary. It’s one of the original community art centers from the New Deal era, and it’s still in existence. I would definitely say go to that. That’s my favorite.

I’m marking it down for myself. Are there exhibitions coming up this fall that you recommend?

Senga Nengudi at Lenbachhaus in Munich; Robert Colescott at the Contemporary Art Center in Cincinnati curated by Lowery Sims and Matthew Weseley; Lynette Yiadom-Boakye at Yale Center for British Art curated by Hilton Als; Hank Willis Thomas: All Things Being Equal…, his first major survey at the Portland Art Museum. Curator Meg Onli at ICA Philadelphia has done a trio of shows under the title Colored People Time. The final component Banal Presents will be on view through December 22, 2019.

Shows that are further out that I’m excited about are Prospect 5 in New Orleans (Fall 2020), curated by Naima Keith and Diana Nawi. The citywide triennial in New Orleans is just a great experience. Everyone should check it out. Thomas Lax’s exhibition on Just Above Midtown gallery, that generative space of 1970s and 1980s, and its founder Linda Goode Bryant, will be wonderful to see at MoMA in 2022.

There are so many great young curators out here. Rujeko Hockley, Erin Christovale, numerous others. Tiona Nekkia McClodden is an artist who’s been doing some great archival curatorial work. She had a show that was in response to the anniversary of Mapplethorpe’s The Perfect Moment that just closed. There are just so many great people out here doing some wonderful things, and a lot of wonderful younger artists. I’m excited by it. We started out by talking about multidisciplinarity, interdisciplinarity—young curators are invested in that idea as much as scholars.

Oh and one thing that I’m really looking forward to down the line is, of course, the reopening of the Studio Museum in Harlem. I cannot wait for that!

Yes! It’s a ways off but that’s an exciting one. Well, thank you Dr. Jones. I appreciate you taking the time, and it’s been a pleasure to speak with you.

Thanks for your questions, and again it’s really an honor to be a part of this whole thing. I still kind of can’t believe it. I guess I will in February when I step off that plane!

The Distinguished Scholar Session honoring Kellie Jones will take place Thursday, February 13, 2020, from 4-5:30 PM at the Hilton Chicago, Grand Ballroom.

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Biography of Dr. Kellie Jones

Dr. Kellie Jones is a Professor in Art History and Archaeology and African American and African Diaspora Studies at Columbia University. Her research interests include African American and African Diaspora artists, Latinx and Latin American Artists, and issues in contemporary art and museum theory.

Dr. Jones, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, has also received awards for her work from the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, Harvard University and Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation. In 2016 she was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow.

Dr. Jones’s writings have appeared in a multitude of exhibition catalogues and journals.  She is the author of two books published by Duke University Press, EyeMinded: Living and Writing Contemporary Art (2011), and South of Pico: African American Artists in Los Angeles in the 1960s and 1970s (2017), which received the Walter & Lillian Lowenfels Criticism Award from the American Book Award in 2018 and was named a Best Art Book of 2017 in The New York Times and a Best Book of 2017 in Artforum.

Dr. Jones has also worked as a curator for over three decades and has numerous major national and international exhibitions to her credit.  Her exhibition “Now Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles, 1960-1980,” at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, was named one of the best exhibitions of 2011 and 2012 by Artforum, and best thematic show nationally by the International Association of Art Critics (AICA). She was co-curator of “Witness: Art and Civil Rights in the 1960s” (Brooklyn Museum), named one the best exhibitions of 2014 by Artforum.

CAA-Getty International Program Participating Alumni (left to right) Chen Liu, Nazar Kozak, Katarzyna Cytlak, Nadhra Khan, and Sarena Abdullah at the 2019 Annual Conference in New York. Photo: Ben Fractenberg

We’re pleased to announce this year’s participants in the CAA-Getty International Program. Now in its ninth year, this international program supported by the Getty Foundation will bring fifteen new participants and five alumni to the 2020 Annual Conference in Chicago, Illinois.

The participants—professors of art history, curators, and artists who teach art history—hail from countries throughout the world, expanding CAA’s growing international membership and contributing to an increasingly diverse community of scholars and ideas. This year we are adding participants from four countries not included previously—Bolivia, Saudi Arabia, Côte d’Ivoire, and Singapore—bringing the total number of countries represented by the program to fifty. Selected by a jury of CAA members from a highly competitive group of applicants, the participants will receive funding for travel expenses, hotel accommodations, conference registration, CAA membership, and per diems for out-of-pocket expenditures.

At a one-day preconference colloquium, to be held this year at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the fifteen new participants will discuss key issues in the international study of art history together with five CAA-Getty alumni and several CAA members from the United States, who also will serve as hosts throughout the conference. The preconference program will delve deeper into subjects discussed during last year’s program, including such topics as postcolonial and Eurocentric legacies, interdisciplinary and transnational methodologies, and the intersection of politics and art history.

This is the third year that the program includes five alumni, who provide an intellectual link between previous convenings of the international program and this year’s events. They also serve as liaisons between CAA and the growing community of CAA-Getty alumni. In addition to serving as moderators for the preconference colloquium, the five alumni will present a new Global Conversation during the 2020 conference titled Things Aren’t Always as they Seem: Art History and the Politics of Vision.

The goal of the CAA-Getty International Program is to increase international participation in the organization’s activities, thereby expanding international networks and the exchange of ideas both during and after the conference. CAA currently includes members from sixty countries around the world. We look forward to welcoming the following participants at the next Annual Conference in Chicago.

2020 Participants in the CAA-Getty International Program

Irene Bronner, Senior Lecturer, NRF South African Research Chair in South African Art and Visual Culture, University of Johannesburg, South Africa

Eiman Elgibreen, Assistant Professor of Art History, The Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Daria Jaremtchuk, Associate Professor of Art History, University of São Paulo, Brazil

Ganiyu Jimoh, Lecturer, University of Lagos, Nigeria, and Postdoctoral Fellow, Arts of Africa and Global Souths research program, Department of Fine Art, Rhodes University, South Africa

Mariana Levytska, Research Associate, Department of Art Studies, Ethnology Institute, UNAS (National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine)

Daniela Lucena, Head of Research Team, National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET), University of Buenos Aires, Argentina

Ali Mahfouz, Director, Mansoura Storage Museum, Ministry of Egyptian Antiquities, Egypt

Priya Maholay-Jaradi, Convenor, Art History, National University of Singapore

Valeria Maria Paz Moscoso, Academic Coordinator and Advisor, Universidad Catolica Boliviana San Pablo, La Paz, Bolivia

Daria Panaiotti, Curator of Photography and Research Associate, The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia

Aleksandra Paradowska, Assistant Professor, University of Fine Arts, Poznań, Poland

Saurabh Tewari, Assistant Professor, School of Planning and Architecture, Bhopal, India

Giuliana Vidarte, Chief Curator and Head of Exhibitions, Museum of Contemporary Art of Lima and Peruvian University of Applied Sciences, Peru

Julia Waite, Curator of New Zealand Art, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, New Zealand

Jean-Arsène Yao, University Félix Houphouët-Boigny, Côte d’Ivoire

Participating Alumni

Abiodun Akande, Senior Lecturer, University of Lagos, Nigeria

Pedith Chan, Assistant Professor of Cultural Management, Chinese University of Hong Kong

Iro Katsaridou, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Museum of Byzantine Culture, Thessaloniki, Greece

Cristian Emil Nae, Associate Professor, George Enescu National University of Arts, Iasi, Romania

Nora Veszpremi, Research Associate, Continuity/Rupture: Art and Architecture in Central Europe 1918–1939 (CRAACE), Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic

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We’re delighted to announce the following guests will be presenting at the 108th CAA Annual Conference, taking place February 12-15, 2020, at the Hilton Chicago.

Keynote Speaker

Amanda Williams. Photo: David Kasnic Photography

The Keynote Speaker for the 108th CAA Annual Conference will be Amanda Williams. A visual artist who trained as an architect, Williams’s creative practice navigates the space between art and architecture, through works that employ color as a way to highlight the political complexities of race, place and value in cities. Williams has received critical acclaim including being named a USA Ford Fellow and a Joan Mitchell Foundation grantee. Her works have been exhibited widely and are included in the permanent collections of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. She lives and works on the South Side of Chicago.

CAA Convocation featuring Amanda Williams’s keynote will take place Wednesday, February 12, 2020, from 6-7:30 PM at the Hilton Chicago, Grand Ballroom. Free and open to the public. 

Distinguished Scholar

The Distinguished Scholar for the 108th CAA Annual Conference will be Dr. Kellie Jones, professor in Art History and Archaeology and African American and African Diaspora Studies at Columbia University. Her research interests include African American and African Diaspora artists, Latinx and Latin American Artists, and issues in contemporary art and museum theory.

Dr. Kellie Jones. Photo: Rod McGaha

Dr. Jones, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, has also received awards for her work from the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, Harvard University and Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation. In 2016 she was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow.

Dr. Jones’s writings have appeared in a multitude of exhibition catalogues and journals.  She is the author of two books published by Duke University Press, EyeMinded: Living and Writing Contemporary Art (2011), and South of Pico: African American Artists in Los Angeles in the 1960s and 1970s (2017), which received the Walter & Lillian Lowenfels Criticism Award from the American Book Award in 2018 and was named a Best Art Book of 2017 in The New York Times and a Best Book of 2017 in Artforum.

Dr. Jones has also worked as a curator for over three decades and has numerous major national and international exhibitions to her credit.  Her exhibition “Now Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles, 1960-1980,” at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, was named one of the best exhibitions of 2011 and 2012 by Artforum, and best thematic show nationally by the International Association of Art Critics (AICA). She was co-curator of “Witness: Art and Civil Rights in the 1960s” (Brooklyn Museum), named one the best exhibitions of 2014 by ArtforumRead our interview with Kellie Jones.

The Distinguished Scholar Session will take place Thursday, February 13, 2020, from 4-5:30 PM at the Hilton Chicago, Grand Ballroom.

Distinguished Artist Interviews

The Distinguished Artist Interviews will feature artist Sheila Pepe interviewed by John Corso Esquivel, and artist Arnold J. Kemp interviewed by Huey Copeland.

Sheila Pepe. Photo: Rachel Stern

Sheila Pepe  is a cross-disciplinary artist employing conceptualism, surrealism, and craft to address feminist and class issues. Hot Mess Formalism, Pepe’s most recent solo exhibition organized by the Phoenix Art Museum, traveled to the Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, New York; Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Omaha, Nebraska; and the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, Massachusetts between 2017 and 2019. A catalogue for the exhibition featured essays by by Julia Bryan-Wilson, Elizabeth Dunbar, Lia Gangitano, and curator Gilbert Vicario.

Other texts, all published in 2019, feature Pepe’s work: Vitamin T: Threads, and Textiles in Contemporary Art, the revised Art and Queer Culture by Catherine Lord and Richard Meyer, both published by Phaidon, and Feminist Subjectivities in Fiber Art and Craft: Shadows of Affect by John Corso Esquivel.

Venues for Pepe’s many other solo exhibitions include the Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, Massachusetts, and the Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, North Carolina. Her work has been included in important group exhibitions, most recently Fiber: Sculpture 1960- Present, curated by Janelle Porter, organized by the ICA Boston; Queer Abstraction, curated by Jared Ladesema, organized by the Des Moines Art Center in Iowa and Even Thread Has Speech, curated by Shannon Stratton for the John Michael Kohler Art Center, Wisconsin.

John Corso Esquivel is the Doris and Paul Travis Associate Professor of Art History at Oakland University.

Arnold J. Kemp. Photo: Todd Rosenberg for the School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Arnold J. Kemp is an interdisciplinary artist living in Chicago. The recurrent theme in his drawings, photographs, sculptures and writing is the permeability of the border between self and the materials of one’s reality. Kemp’s works are in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Studio Museum in Harlem, The Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, The Portland Art Museum, The Schneider Museum of Art, and the Tacoma Art Museum. He has received awards from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the  Joan Mitchell Foundation, The Pollock-Krasner Foundation, and Portland Institute for Contemporary Art. His work has been exhibited recently in Chicago, Mexico City, New York, San Francisco and Portland. His work was also shown in TagProposals On Queer Play and the Ways Forward at the ICA Philadelphia. Kemp was a founding curator at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts from 1993-2003 and is currently the Dean of Graduate Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Read our interview with Arnold J. Kemp.

Huey Copeland is Arthur Andersen Teaching and Research Professor, Interim Director of the Black Arts Initiative (2019-2020), Associate Professor of Art History, and affiliated faculty in the Critical Theory Cluster, the Department of African American Studies, the Department of Art Theory & Practice, the Department of Performance Studies, and the Gender and Sexuality Studies Program at Northwestern University.

The Distinguished Artist Interviews will take place Friday, February 14, 2019, from 4-6:30 PM at the Hilton Chicago, Grand Ballroom. Free and open to the public. 

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HOTELS AND TRAVEL

In June, Amy Meyers ended a long and fruitful career as Director of the Yale Center for British Art, which she led for seventeen years. Prior to her appointment in 2002, she spent much of her career at research institutes including Dumbarton Oaks; the Center for Advanced Study in Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; and The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. She also taught at the California Institute of Technology, the University of Michigan, Mount Vernon College, and Yale, and has written extensively on the visual and material culture of natural history in the transatlantic world.

Joelle Te Paske, CAA Media and Content Manager, corresponded with Amy over email to reflect upon her tenure at the YCBA, her experiences with CAA, and her plans for the future. Read the interview below.

Amy Meyers, Yale Center for British Art, photo by Michael Marsland

Joelle Te Paske: Amy, thank you so much for speaking with us. To begin, what pathways led you to the Yale Center for British Art (YCBA)?

Amy Meyers: There is no question that my experiences as a graduate student at Yale set the stage for my return to direct the Yale Center for British Art 25 years following my arrival as a doctoral candidate in American Studies, in the fall of 1977—the first year the magnificent collections of the newly opened YCBA were accessible to students.

Long Gallery after reinstallation, Yale Center for British Art, photo by Richard Caspole

I had come to Yale to write a dissertation on the photographers who accompanied the federal geological surveys of the American West following the Civil War, and my interest in the art of empire brought me to explore the staggering collections of paintings, prints, drawings, maps, rare books, and manuscripts amassed by the Center’s founder, Paul Mellon, relating to the depiction of the natural world, particularly in the Americas.

John Ruskin, Study of an Oak Leaf, undated, pen and brown ink with watercolor over graphite heightened with gouache and gum; verso: graphite on paper, Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection

The following spring, I enrolled in one of the first courses held at the Center—a seminar on Ruskin, taught by George Hersey. That course included students not only from the Department of the History of Art, but others, who, like me, were interested in the influence of Ruskin’s thought on many aspects of culture, particularly science. Professor Hersey’s important consideration of Ruskin as a major thinker of the nineteenth century, and the discussions that took place in that class between and amongst students, were foundational to my graduate education. I formed collegial friendships with many students who would go on to contribute significantly to art historical scholarship, both in academe and in museums, including David Curry, Bruce Robertson, George Shackelford, Mark Simpson, and Scott Wilcox—and these friendships have informed my scholarship and influenced the way in which I have approached the programs I have had the privilege to run, from the Virginia Steele Scott Gallery of American Art at the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, to the YCBA.

The interdisciplinarity of Professor Hersey’s class reflected Yale’s commitment to exploration across disciplinary boundaries in many areas of study—a commitment that was unusual at American universities in the 1970s. Jules Prown, who had been the YCBA’s first director, creating the institution in concert with Paul Mellon and a distinguished committee of Yale faculty members, was himself devoted to examining the history of art from a broad range of vantage points, and he and his colleagues built that approach into the Center’s culture, both as a research institute and as a public museum with teaching at its heart.

Unidentified man, Paul Mellon, Kenneth Froeberg, and Jules Prown, during the construction of the Yale Center for British Art, 1974, photo by William B. Carter, Yale Department of Public Information, Institutional Archives, Yale Center for British Art

I was privileged not only to study with Jules, but to have him as one of my dissertation advisors. I learned from him the value of the close examination of objects as primary to art historical research, as well as the importance of working collaboratively with groups of scholars in developing the richest, most productive, and enjoyable of research communities. Jules drew around him, through his exciting classes and seminars, a large and devoted coterie of students from across the university who were interested in cross-cultural studies, including art history and material culture—a field he was instrumental in driving forward. Many of the students who took George Hersey’s seminar were part of this group; but others, including Margaretta Lovell (who by then was teaching a course on material culture with Jules), David Lubin, Angela Miller, Rodger Birt, Esther Thyssen, Buffy Easton, Valerie Steele, Catherine Lynn, Rebecca Zurier, Kenneth Haltman, Alexander Nemerov, Richard Powell, and Helen Cooper (who already was serving as Curator of American Paintings at the Yale University Art Gallery) also were active members of Jules’s circle of students (and there were many others who were off writing dissertations, such as Kathleen Foster, or who had graduated relatively recently and were known to us by their groundbreaking work, such as David Solkin). At that time, Bryan Wolf was a young professor of English literature and American Studies who had developed a strong interest in American art, and he also was an important member of Jules’s circle. I was tremendously privileged to have Bryan as one of my dissertation advisors, as well.

The sadly short-lived Center for the Study of American Art and Material Culture, directed by Richard Beard, was established by Robert McNeil, through the Barra Foundation, at the Yale University Art Gallery in the same year that the YCBA opened.

A Survey of American Photographs 1840–1940, installation as presented from March 28–June 6, 1978, organized by the Yale Center for American Art and Material Culture, photo courtesy of the Yale University Art Gallery Institutional Archives

This center both reinforced the community of Americanists at Yale and gave me the opportunity to curate the first of my own exhibitions, American Photographs: 1840 to 1940. The group of Western American historians fostered by my third dissertation advisor, Howard Lamar, and Archibald Hanna, the then-curator of Western Americana at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, also promoted a culture of intellectual exchange, focused quite centrally on the visual culture of the West. Additionally, the American Studies Program offered students and faculty members with cross-disciplinary interests a supportive environment that encouraged innovative, experimental approaches to the study of American culture across the board. Collectively, these centers and programs taught graduate students of my generation at Yale the value of being a member of an engaging and supportive community of intellectual interchange, supported institutionally, and I have no doubt that this experience influenced my interest in being involved in study centers over the course of my professional career.

Indeed, as a graduate student, I was introduced to the vibrant culture of international research institutes when I was awarded a junior fellowship at Harvard University’s Washington-based research institute, Dumbarton Oaks (DO), my dissertation topic having shifted to a broader consideration of the relation of the visual arts to the natural sciences, from the colonial period, through the establishment of the republic, and into the nineteenth century. Some of my closest collegial friendships were formed in the community of DO, including my life-long professional partnership with Therese O’Malley, with whom I presently am organizing an exhibition on John and William Bartram and the emergence of environmental thought in America.

Therese O’Malley and Amy Meyers at a conference at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, 2005.

Therese and I were privileged to be hired by the first dean of the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (CASVA), at the National Gallery, Henry Millon, to work as predoctoral research assistants for the Architectural Drawings Advisory Group, an international consortium convened at CASVA and supported by the J. Paul Getty Trust to set standards for the scholarly cataloguing of architectural drawings online. This early experience in working with an international group of scholars on one of the first electronic database projects in the history of art stimulated my life-long dedication to advancing the development of electronic tools for art historical research—one that I brought to the Yale Center for British Art when I became director.

The collective of fellowship programs in art history across the museums and research institutes of Washington, DC offered me a rich community of peers as an advanced graduate student and young professional, and this stimulating environment furthered my interest in working within the context of a study center, which had begun at Yale. The appeal of funding art historical research (and research in the humanities more generally) through grants and fellowships was strengthened by the work of my husband, Jack Meyers, an assistant director in the Research Division at NEH at that time—and we have been most fortunate to have developed comparable careers in this regard. While I worked for fourteen years as the Curator of the Virginia Steele Scott Gallery of American Art at the Huntington, which is one of the largest residential fellowship-granting research institutes in the humanities in the world, Jack served as a program officer and then deputy director of the Getty’s Grant Program (now Foundation). We both became fully committed to the support of scholarship internationally, and, over the last years, while I have served as director of the Yale Center for British Art, and CEO of the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art (PMC) in London, Jack has served as President of the Rockefeller Archive Center. Our complementary positions have allowed us to share our experiences in the running of study centers, which has been wholly gratifying, and, I hope, of benefit to our mutual institutions.

JTP: What would you say are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen during your time at the YCBA?

AM: Certainly the greatest change I have seen in the field of British art over the last seventeen years, which has affected the YCBA and PMC in fundamental ways, and to a certain extent has been promoted by these sister institutions, has been a major shift in vantage point from what commonly has been called the “imperial gaze” to a more global viewpoint. Although by the time I was named director of the YCBA seventeen years ago, the approach to British art had become as much concerned with social history as with connoisseurship, works still were interpreted largely in terms of a relatively closed history of European art. The complex and tragic histories of the British Empire and slave trade were only beginning to affect the ways in which British art was understood, and the canon remained essentially defined as the creation of white, male artists of British birth—or, more generously, of white, male European or colonial American artists who came to practice in the British Isles, or who were associated with British artists and patrons on the Grand Tour.

Over the last years, a sea change has taken place, and not only has the canon expanded—and shifted—to include works by artists from many other parts of the world that came under British dominion or were deeply affected by the Empire, but also by artists of more diverse racial backgrounds and genders. The sense of the West’s ownership of the world on the part of historians of British art has been altered dramatically, and standard practice now insists that even the most traditionally canonical works must be reinterpreted from a global vantage point, and in terms of much larger and more challenging histories.

Art and Emancipation in Jamaica: Isaac Mendes Belisario and his Worlds, curated by Tim Barringer, Gillian Forrester, and Barbaro Martinez Ruiz, Yale Center for British Art, 2007, photo by Richard Caspole

JTP: What is a favorite memory—perhaps one that is less well-known—from your time there?

AM: My fond memories from my years at the YCBA—and the PMC—are innumerable, and it is extremely difficult to select a favorite. However, one program stands out as particularly memorable for me personally. In July of 2005, the YCBA co-organized a conference entitled, “Ways of Making and Knowing: The Material Culture of Empirical Knowledge,” with the PMC and the Wellcome Trust Center/Centre for the History of Medicine at University College London (UCL).

Pamela Smith, Harold Cook, and Amy Meyers, standing in front of a raised flower bed reconstructed from an eighteenth-century plan by garden historian Mark Laird, at Painshill Park, in Cobham, Surrey, during the final session of “Ways of Making and Knowing: The Material Culture of Empirical Knowledge,” July, 2005.

My co-conveners were close associates in the history of science: Pamela Smith, who is the Seth Low Professor of History at Columbia University, and Harold Cook, who, at that time, was director of the Wellcome Trust Center and now is the John F. Nickoll Professor History at Brown University. Beginning with a series of discussions at the Huntington, we planned an interdisciplinary conversation about the material construction of knowledge, examining how artisans and other makers of things informed the ways in which the natural world came to be understood in the West, from the sixteenth-century through the nineteenth. Exploring the relationship between two spheres traditionally understood to be distinct—practical and theoretical knowledge, the lectures and demonstrations were given by the seventy presenters, including art historians and historians of material culture, historians of science, artists, and craftspeople.

The program took place over five days, at sites across London ranging from the Chelsea Physic Garden, the Enlightenment Gallery at the British Museum, the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, the Natural History Museum, the Linnean Society, the V&A, and Painshill Park, in Surrey. This experimental program included as many object-study sessions and hands-on making workshops as formal papers, interrogating how the use of natural materials in the processes of making yielded the most profound understanding of nature, feeding science as much as technical knowledge in exciting new ways. A selection of the papers appeared under the title of the conference, in the Bard Graduate Center’s series Cultural Histories of the Material World, published by the University of Michigan Press in 2014. I must say that the support of Brian Allen, at that time the splendid and long-serving Director of Studies of the PMC with whom I had the honor of working closely for ten years, was a special pleasure.

Enlightened Princesses: Caroline, Augusta, Charlotte, and the Shaping of the Modern World installation, including Yinka Shonibare CBE’s Mrs Pinckney and the Emancipated Birds of South Carolina (2017), Yale Center for British Art, photo by Richard Caspole

I also remember with great fondness working with Joanna Marschner, Senior Curator at Kensington Palace, on Enlightened Princesses: Caroline, Augusta, Charlotte, and the Shaping of the Modern World, an exhibition co-organized by the YCBA and Historic Royal Palaces, with the support of the PMC, that was mounted in New Haven and London in 2017. Our mutual interest in women and patronage, particularly in relation to the natural sciences, found its expression in this project, and we look forward to working together on the subject long into the future.

JTP: What is a resource at the YCBA that you think people don’t often know about, but should?

AM: The collection of British art at the YCBA is renowned as the largest and finest outside the UK, comprising over 2,000 paintings; 20,000 drawings and watercolors; 45,000 prints and photographs; and several hundred pieces of sculpture. Much less well known is the institution’s truly glorious rare book and manuscript collection. The Center’s founder, Paul Mellon, began his life as a collector in this field, and over his lifetime he amassed one of the greatest collections formed in the twentieth century, comprising approximately 35,000 titles. Mr. Mellon focused in part on British illustrated books, acquiring the renowned J.R. Abbey collection of British color plate books, which serves as the touchstone for all other collections of this kind. Other major parts of the collection include drawing manuals, sporting books and manuscripts, early maps and atlases, early printed books by Caxton and his contemporaries, and archival and manuscript material relating to British artists, writers, and travelers of all periods.

A True Description of the Naval Exploration of Francis Drake, Englishman & Knight, Who With Five Ships Departed from the Western Part of England on 13 December 1577, Circumnavigated the Globe and Returned on 26 September 1580 with One Ship Remaining, the Others Having been Destroyed by Waves or fire, [London (?), ca. 1587], pen and ink and watercolor on parchment, Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection

The Center’s Chief Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts, Elisabeth Fairman, and her extraordinary colleagues, have augmented Mr. Mellon’s collections in remarkable ways over the decades, and have brought to the Center a singularly important collection of private press and contemporary artists’ books, as well. These works are available online through the Center’s website, where they can be searched seamlessly with related objects in the YCBA’s art collections. They also can be found through the Yale Library system’s online catalogue, ORBIS, which will lead users to the university’s other rare book and manuscript collections. The Center’s archives can be searched through “Archives at Yale,” which provides detailed descriptions of the individual archival collections and directs users to other archival collections at the university.

The Rare Books and Manuscripts collection contains splendid photographic holdings, beginning with some of the earliest printed books including original photographic illustrations produced by the first British experimenters with paper-print photography, such as William Henry Fox Talbot. These collections have grown enormously over the years, as have the photographic collections in the Prints and Drawings Department, making the Center one of the most significant repositories of British photographs in the country.

The same holds true for the development of the institution’s collection of contemporary British art, and over the course of this summer, the Center has mounted an exhibition illuminating the role that donors have played in enhancing both areas of the institution’s collections over the last few years. Entitled Photographs/Contemporary Art: Recent Gifts and Acquisitions, the exhibition demonstrates the breadth and depth of these holdings and signals their continued growth.

Photographs | Contemporary Art: Recent Gifts and Acquisitions installation, Yale Center for British Art, photo by Richard Caspole

JTP: When did you first become a CAA member? Do you have a favorite memory from a CAA conference?

AM: I have been a member of the CAA for so long that I do not remember precisely when I joined—undoubtedly by the early 1980s, when I was attending conferences regularly in my later years of graduate school. My memories of the very first conference I attended are shrouded in the mists of time, but I believe that I joined a group of Yale graduate students at a conference in New York while I was still enrolled in courses, in the late 1970s.

I have countless happy memories from conferences throughout the years, from sessions I have co-organized on the visual and material culture of natural history with my long-standing colleague, Therese O’Malley, to the multitude of fine papers given by scholars in my own fields of American and British art. Of course, one of the most important functions of the conference is to introduce participants to subjects that lie beyond their own areas of expertise, and I have learned an enormous amount from papers on topics to which I have had little exposure,  especially as art history has evolved in such exciting ways over the last years. New methodological approaches are always stimulating to consider, and I particularly have enjoyed learning from the work of younger colleagues. Indeed, the call for papers for next year’s conference promises a rich and important group of sessions that will have me running from one talk to the next throughout the proceedings.

Since 1989, due to my association with The Huntington and the YCBA and PMC, I have had the pleasure of attending the winter meeting of the Association of Research Institutes in Art History (ARIAH), as an affiliated society, which always is held the first day of the CAA conference. Naturally, I also have enjoyed attending reunions of the departments and study centers with which I have been connected. The joint reunion of the YCBA and PMC has been a true pleasure to co-host with the PMC’s current Director of Studies, Mark Hallett, who promotes the mutual interests of his London research center and the YCBA with dedication and inspired vision. Mark and I have been deeply grateful to the Deputy Directors of Research of these sister institutions, Martina Droth and Sarah Turner, for organizing these shared events annually.

I do have one favorite memory that stands out among all others, however, and that is of the 2009 Terra Foundation for the Arts Distinguished Scholar Session, entitled “Generations: Art, Ideas, and Change,” in honor of Jules Prown. Chaired by Bryan Wolf, and including papers by Alex Nemerov, Margaretta Lovell, Jennifer Roberts, Jennifer Greenhill, and Ethan Lasser, the session paid special tribute not only to the professor who had inspired so many of us as graduate students at Yale, but also to the scholar who had informed the work of students pursuing the study of American art and material culture throughout the world through his groundbreaking research and approaches to analysis.

JTP: I imagine it is impossible to summarize the sentiments surrounding a 17-year tenure, but if there was one feeling you could share in the wake of your departure from the directorship of the YCBA, what would you say it is?

AM: The feeling I wish to share is one of excitement.

Courtney J. Martin, photo by Argenis Apolinario

As I have indicated, the field of British art–and of art history more generally—is developing and changing in such important ways, and I have no doubt that Courtney J. Martin, who just has begun her first term as the Center’s brilliant new director, will work with her YCBA colleagues not only to continue to introduce the work of new artists to the collection, but to encourage an ever-expanding community of visitors from the university, the city, the region, and the world through innovative displays, exhibitions, publications, and programs. She is a tremendous addition to the impressive complement of collection directors under the excellent leadership of Yale’s Vice Provost for Collections and Scholarly Communications, Susan Gibbons, and I expect that splendid developments are about to take place across all of the university’s museums and libraries with this gifted team in place.

JTP: What are you most proud of having accomplished at YBCA?

AM: My pride lies in what I was able to accomplish in concert with my superlative friends and colleagues: the staff of the YCBA and PMC, Yale students and faculty members, the 250 visiting scholars who have joined our community to pursue research in the YCBA’s collections, our advisory committees and consultants, the PMC’s Board of Governors, and supporters of both institutions. So much has been accomplished collectively that a full review would be impossible, but I will outline some of our most significant collaborative achievements.

Working with museums and cultural institutions across the UK, and in certain instances the United States, we developed a program of over fifty major loan exhibitions which explored a wide range of topics from the early modern period through the current day. These were underpinned by workshops involving students and scholars from around the world, and they were enhanced by an equivalent number of significant publications produced in association with Yale University Press London (YUPL). Approximately forty in-house exhibitions and displays, often developed with undergraduates and graduate students, enriched the exhibition program, examining the Center’s own holdings from important new vantage points.

One such exhibition, Unto This Last: Two Hundred Years of John Ruskin, curated by three of Tim Barringer’s graduate students—Tara Contractor, Victoria Hepburn, and Judith Stapleton—has been in the planning stages for some time as the Center’s central contribution to the bicentennial commemoration of Ruskin’s birth (both critical and celebratory), and it will open on the evening of September 17th of this year, accompanied by a leading-edge catalogue edited by Tim, to which the students, and others, have contributed. I have no doubt that for this cohort of students, the experience of working with Tim on an assessment of Ruskin’s significance as a thinker for the modern world will be as important as George Hersey’s Ruskin seminar was for me and my own group of peers over forty years ago.

During the last seventeen years, the research cultures of the YCBA and the PMC were augmented through the joint efforts of a new Research Division at the Yale Center and an amplified program at the London Centre, which also produced a superb run of publications with YUPL. Support of scholars across the field of British art was substantially increased through the PMC’s grant program and the YCBA’s visiting scholars program. The PMC and YCBA also collaborated to develop an innovative online journal, British Art Studies, which is fully accessible, free of charge, to the world.

The YCBA’s education program developed magnificently, as well. Our docents toured 92,929 school-age students through the galleries, and an average of 88 Yale classes utilized the collections each year, with nearly 14,000 Yale students visiting the Study Room either with a class or to use collections on their own. The Center hosted 903 undergraduate student interns and workers, 76 graduate student research assistants, and 20 postdoctoral research associates who received doctorates from other universities. Empirically based programs focused on close looking in the galleries, designed to increase both the sensitivity and diagnostic skills of medical and nursing students (the first such programs in the world), continued to develop for Yale graduate student in other fields.

Additionally, creative learning programs for teenage girls on the autism spectrum were put into place, and a teaching relationship with Chapel Haven, a home for adults with cognitive disabilities, flourished. The Center actively joined the university’s mentorship program to engage undergraduates who have attended New Haven public schools, or approved charter schools, and who have been awarded New Haven Promise scholarships, in professional experiences over the summer months. We benefitted from the fine work of those who were participants in the program, and we were able to add several extremely talented young people to our permanent staff from the program.

The collections also developed in exciting ways over the years, with curators adding to the historic corpus with important works from the Tudor period through the mid-twentieth century, and with modern and contemporary works expanding the Center’s holdings into our own time.

Fourth-floor gallery installation, including the new acquisition of Peter Lely’s Diana and her Nymphs at a Fountain (ca.1648), Yale Center for British Art, photo by Edward Town

Sculpture became a special focus of the acquisitions program, along with photography and modern and contemporary art. In all, almost 9,000 objects and collections across the curatorial departments amplified the Center’s holdings for teaching, research, and exhibition.

A program to make the Center’s entire collection accessible virtually, placed 90,000 records online, and 78,000 high-resolution digital images of works in the public domain freely available to the world for any use, in concert with Yale’s Open Access policy. The Center now seeks to connect these online collections with others across the university and the globe, through linked open data, allowing audiences worldwide to explore the rich global history of British art.

We also worked with collections across the university to develop a state-of-the-art conservation program on Yale’s West Campus, and to create the Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage, with a major conservation science program intended not only for the technical assessment of our own collections, but also to address global conservation needs. Additionally, the Center published a model conservation plan for its landmark building designed by Louis I. Kahn, which has helped to steer the conservation of other modern buildings of cultural significance according to best practices. This plan allowed a three-phased conservation program to address the physical needs of the Kahn building, and following the conservation of the interior spaces and upgrading of the mechanical systems, a freshly conceived display of the art collections was installed, entitled “Britain in the World.”

JTP: What are you most excited about when you think of your next steps? Are there projects you are looking forward to?

AM: Returning to my own scholarship is a great joy, and I am beginning to work with Therese O’Malley to co-curate an exhibition examining the naturalists John and William Bartram and the early development of environmental thought in North America and the transatlantic world—a project that derives from the dissertations on which we worked together so many years ago, but that now is informed by the scholarship of those working on the culture of natural history in the Americas from new points of view.

William Bartram, The Soft Shell’d Tortoise Got in Savanah River Georgia, ca. 1773, gray wash, pen and black ink, and graphite on paper, Yale Center for British Art, Gift of Charles Ryskamp

The Bartrams, who created one of the first scientific gardens in the British colonies, began to be mythologized in their own time, and have been the focus of academic study since the nineteenth century. However, their work is just beginning to be assessed in relation to the knowledge they gained not only from Native American peoples they encountered on their collecting expeditions, but from enslaved peoples of African descent in bondage to the Bartrams’ family members and friends throughout the southern colonies, as well as those William himself enslaved on a small, short-lived plantation that he attempted to establish in Florida. This project will serve as a case study examining the diverse systems of knowledge about nature that converged and collided in this period, resulting in new conceptions of a wholly interconnected cosmos, in a constant state of flux.

Amy Meyers BIOGRAPHY

Amy Meyers (Yale PhD, American Studies, 1985) retired from the directorship of the Yale Center for British Art on June 30th of this year. Prior to her appointment in July of 2002, she spent much of her career at research institutes, including Dumbarton Oaks; the Center for Advanced Study in Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C; and The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, where she served as Curator of American Art from 1988 through June of 2002. Meyers also has taught the history of art at the California Institute of Technology, the University of Michigan, Mount Vernon College, and Yale. As Director of the Center, Meyers sought to strengthen the institution’s educational and research initiatives. She endeavored to promote a rigorous academic publication program in association with Yale University Press and to develop an exhibition program of the highest scholarly standard in partnership with major museums across Europe and the United States. She expanded the Center’s fellowship program; amplified the teaching mission in concert with departments and programs across the university; and promoted the cataloguing of the collections on-line, with free and open access to all images in the public domain. Meyers supported the creation of a conservation plan for the institution’s landmark building, designed by Louis I. Kahn, and she oversaw the conservation of the building, as well as two full-scale reinstallations of the entire collection.

Meyers has written extensively on the visual and material culture of natural history in the transatlantic world, serving as editor of Knowing Nature: Art and Science in Philadelphia, 1740 to 1840, with the assistance of Lisa Ford  (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2011); with Harold Cook and Pamela Smith, Ways of Making and Knowing:  The Material Culture of Empirical Knowledge (Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 2011); with Therese O’Malley, The Art of Natural History: Illustrated Treatises and Botanical Paintings, 1400-1850 (Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art, Studies in The History of Art Series, 2008); Art and Science in America: Issues of Representation (San Marino: The Huntington, 1998); and, with Margaret Pritchard, Empire’s Nature: Mark Catesby’s New World Vision (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1998). She also has organized numerous international symposia in the field, including Curious Specimens: Enlightenment Objects, Collections, Narratives (with Luisa Calè, Michael Snodin, Margaret Powell, and Cynthia Roman; London, 2010), Ways of Making and Knowing: The Material Culture of Empirical Knowledge (with Hal Cook and Pamela Smith; London, 2005); and ‘Curious in Our Way’: The Culture of Nature in Philadelphia, 1740 to 1840 (Philadelphia, 2004). With Therese O’Malley, she currently is co-organizing an exhibition on John and William Bartram and the emergence of an environmental conception of the natural world in colonial and early republican America, to be mounted in 2024.