posted by Christopher Howard — May 04, 2009
In her introductory editor’s letter to the recently published Spring 2009 Art Journal, Judith Rodenbeck underlines the notion of retooling in the issue. The authors and contributors, she notes, confront three areas in particular: how the expansive global art world thrives in non-Western countries; how art education is undergoing progressive change outside traditional art academia; and how a history of early computer art can inform contemporary practice.
Gail Gelburd’s essay, “Cuba and the Art of ‘Trading with the Enemy,’ ” looks at Cuban-American relations over the past fifty years and their effect on cultural exchange. In her essay “Urban Claims and Visual Sources in the Making of Dakar’s Art World City,” Joanna Grabski discusses the Dak’Art Biennale in relation to Senghorian Négritude, the city’s School of Fine Arts, and Dakar’s urban fabric.
During the past several years, Art Journal has investigated retoolings in pedagogical issues. “The Currency of Practice: Reclaiming Autonomy for the MFA,” developed from a roundtable discussion that took place at the CAA Annual Conference in 2007, explores alternatives to traditional graduate degrees such as often-nomadic, nonaccredited schools, organizations led and run by artists, and programs for PhDs for artists.
Moving forward by looking back, three essays explore the history and practice of digital art. The artist Paul Hertz presents an overview that draws on his recent cocurated exhibition, Imaging by Numbers: A Historical View of the Computer Print. A computer scientist and pioneering artist, Frieder Nake, examines early European computer artists and their work, which he calls “algorithmic images accepted as art.” Patric D. Prince, a scholar, artist, and collector of computer art, provides a short history of computer-generated imagery and digital printmaking in America before the era of the home computer.
Reviews include texts on recent projects by Boris Groys (a collection of essays and an exhibition) and a book on Marcel Duchamp and artists’ labor. Letters to the editor include two replies to an Art Journal article, “Steps to an Ecology of Communication: Radical Software, Dan Graham, and the Legacy of Gregory Bateson,” from the Fall 2008 issue.