CAA News Today

Nicole Archer.

We’re delighted to introduce readers to Nicole Archer, the current Editor-in-Chief of Art Journal Open (AJO), CAA’s online forum for the visual arts that presents artists’ projects, conversations and interviews, scholarly essays, and other forms of content from across the cultural field. Founded in 2012 as an open-access affiliate of Art JournalArt Journal Open has been independently edited since 2014. It remains open access and is always free to explore.

Nicole Archer researches contemporary art and design, with an emphasis in textile and garment histories. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Art and Design at Montclair State University, where she extends this research through a teaching practice that encourages students to explore politics and aesthetics via close examinations of style, embodiment, and desire.

Amidst the end of the academic year, we corresponded with her over email to learn more about her research, her thoughts on the impact of COVID-19, and her aspirations for Art Journal Open.


Where are you from originally?

I was born in Brooklyn and raised mainly in South Florida, but I spent most of my adult life in San Francisco. In 2018, I returned to New York City.

What pathways led you to the work you do now?

My path has been shaped by a long line of committed feminist art historians, theorists, and activists who have inspired me to pursue work that is wildly curious, ethically responsible, and politically committed to issues of social justice. This, coupled with the fact that I started my college career in the mid-1990s, when the field of Visual Studies was demanding that Art History be held accountable for the role it played in supporting certain cultural hegemonies. It was a time when we were recognizing the benefit that many art historical methods could bring to critical cultural studies (and vice versa).

When did you first become a CAA member?

I have been a CAA member since 2011, but I was an avid reader of Art Journal and The Art Bulletin long before that (thanks to my library access).

What are you working on or thinking about currently?

I am currently finishing a book manuscript that considers how textiles (our key mediums of comfort and security) have been strategically manipulated over the last two decades to aid in the systematic reshaping of what constitutes “legitimate” versus “illegitimate” forms of state violence. The book tells interwoven, materially grounded stories regarding global arts and design practice, on the one hand, and military, police, and governmental action, on the other, to theorize how feelings of insecurity are produced, aesthetically.

My path has been shaped by a long line of committed feminist art historians, theorists, and activists who have inspired me to pursue work that is wildly curious, ethically responsible, and politically committed to issues of social justice.

What are your thoughts on the impact of COVID-19 on the work you do? On the field?

I think the current pandemic makes two things particularly clear. First, it highlights the important role that art and design can play in helping a society understand (and bear) emergent and acutely difficult circumstances. From movie marathons, artist talks, and book readings that we have enjoyed during our nights spent ‘sheltering in place,’ to the protest banners, photographs, and balcony performances that have led our communities towards acts of collective care and solidarity with one another.

Second, COVID-19 puts the varied inequities that underwrite the field in high relief. It makes the economic precarity of so many cultural workers glaringly obvious, and it forces us to recognize how undervalued cultural work actually is. We need to ask why we have allowed the arts to become so defunded and privatized (despite the social value it clearly delivers). Calls for austerity are circulating, and we know this means further cuts to already underfunded public arts initiatives. We need to resist this and seize this moment as an opportunity to insist on our value. We need to stop undercutting ourselves and our peers, and refuse to accept the exploitation of adjunct professors and graduate student teachers. We must do this as we push against the increasingly prohibitive costs of arts education.

What led you to be interested in working on Art Journal Open?

It is our shared responsibility, as arts and design professionals, to constantly “check” our field of practice—to find time to celebrate what we are doing well, and to redress and learn from our shortcomings. I believe this responsibility is a cornerstone of AJO’s editorial mission. Working on AJO is a unique opportunity to hold myself, and others, accountable on this front.

What is your vision for Art Journal Open during your tenure?

I hope to build on the solid foundation laid by the journal’s previous editors, and to further emphasize the open dimension of the publication’s identity—to treat “Open” as a verb, a call to action. We hope to accomplish this by leveraging the journal’s digital format, to open space for more multi-media Creative Projects, and to take advantage of our lack-of-paywall to help draw new readers to AJO and new voices to CAA.

The first three pieces published after Nicole Archer fully took over as Editor-in-Chief of Art Journal Open.

What would you say is your top arts-related recommendation (book, website, resource) at the moment?

I know I am late to this, but I recently found an online radio station called NTS and it is giving me life! I miss trusting my night to a DJ, hearing a new song out of nowhere, and dancing with strangers. I am also tired of soundscapes controlled by algorithms. People should give it a listen in their studios and kitchens, and at their computers and writing desks.

 

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A favorite artwork?

Last year, I had the opportunity to see Sonya Clark’s Monumental Cloth, The Flag We Should Know at the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia, and I have not been able to stop thinking about it since. Clark’s work epitomizes the important role art can play in ensuring that political discourse maintains its complexity in the face of a mediascape set on transforming these conversations into flat lines in the sand.

At the center of the exhibit was a monumental replica (15’x30’) of a white dish towel waived by Confederate troops in April 1865, before General E. Lee negotiated the terms of the Confederacy’s surrender. Displayed in a manner akin to the Star Spangled Banner (a centerpiece of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History’s collection), Monumental Cloth presented the Confederate Truce Flag as testament to a decisive moment in US history. It demanded that we ask why we do not know this flag, as a means to discuss anti-Blackness and the persistence of white supremacy in the United States. It provided a poignant, aesthetic counterstrategy to other manners of “memorializing” the Confederacy. The exhibit offered spaces of contemplation alongside opportunities for direct action—by setting-up looms that visitors could use to weave additional Truce Flag replicas, in opposition to the endless flow of commercially produced items made to bear the image of the Confederate Battle Flag.

What are you looking forward to?

Honestly, I am looking forward to the end of the Trump presidency, and to the possibility that the moment we are in could force real political and cultural change; that conversations around universal basic income and healthcare will gain traction, and that widespread recognition of the systemic racism inherent in the criminal justice system will open the door to both abolishing the prison system and defunding and demilitarizing the police that tyrannize communities of color in the US.

NICOLE ARCHER BIOGRAPHY

Nicole Archer researches contemporary art and design, with an emphasis in textile and garment histories. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Art and Design at Montclair State University, where she extends this research through a teaching practice that encourages students to explore politics and aesthetics via close examinations of style, embodiment, and desire.

Her work has been published in various journals, edited collections, and arts publications, including: Criticism: A Quarterly Journal for Literature and the Arts; Textile: The Journal of Cloth and Culture; Trap Door: Trans Cultural Production and the Politics of Visibility (published by the New Museum + MIT Press); Where are the Tiny Revolts? (published by the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts + Sternberg Press); Women and Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory.


Explore Art Journal Open.

Filed under: AJO, Art History, CAA Conversations, Publications — Tags:

Attendees at the 2020 Annual Conference in Chicago. Photo: Stacey Rupolo

Each spring, members have the opportunity to provide crucial service to the field and gain an inside view by volunteering to work on a CAA committee or editorial board.

Any member may self-nominate for the following positions or (after ascertaining interest) nominate another member. For more information, please click on the links below.

CURRENT OPPORTUNITIES

Art Journal—Editor-In-Chief
Deadline (extended): June 1, 2020

caa.reviews—Field Editor for East Asian Art
Deadline (extended): June 1, 2020

Publications Committee—Two Members
Deadline (extended): June 1, 2020

PAST OPPORTUNITIES

Art Journal / Art Journal Open (AJO) Editorial Board—Three Members
Deadline: April 15, 2020

The Art Bulletin Editorial Board—One Member
Deadline: April 15, 2020

The Art Bulletin—One Reviews Editor or Coeditor Team
Deadline: April 15, 2020

caa.reviews Editorial Board—Three Members (One an Emerging Professional)
Deadline: April 15, 2020

caa.reviews—Eight Field Editors
African Art, African Diaspora/African American Art, Architecture and Urban Planning, Asian Art, Contemporary Art, Exhibitions: East Coast, Exhibitions: Midwest, Exhibitions: West Coast
Deadline: April 15, 2020

Attendees at the 2019 Annual Conference in New York. Photo: Ben Fractenberg

Each spring, members have the opportunity to provide critical service to the field and gain an inside view by volunteering to work on a CAA editorial board, committee, or jury.

Any member may self-nominate for the following positions or (after ascertaining interest) nominate another member. For more information, please click on the links below.

CURRENT OPPORTUNITIES

All deadlines for 2019 have passed.

CLOSED OPPORTUNITIES

Art Journal Open—Editor-in-Chief
Deadline: April 1

caa.reviews—Editor-in-Chief
Deadline: April 1

caa.reviews—Four Field Editors
Design History, Eighteenth-Century Art, Architecture and Urbanism, Theory and Historiography
Deadline: April 15

The Art Bulletin—Editorial Board Members
Deadline: April 15

Annual Conference—CAA Council of Readers
New this year, we’re asking members to serve a crucial role in shaping conference content.
Deadline: April 18

Annual Conference—Annual Conference Chair
Deadline: April 29

Annual Conference—Awards for Distinction Juries
Deadline: May 13

Millard Meiss Publication Fund—Jury Members
Deadline: May 13

Professional Development Fellowships in Art History and Visual Art—Jury Members
Deadline: May 13

Professional Committees—Seeking New Members
Committees: Design, Diversity Practices, Intellectual Property, Women in the Arts, Education, International, Museum, Professional Practices, Services to Artists, Student and Emerging Professionals
Deadline: September 18

Editor-in-Chief Sought for Art Journal Open

posted by December 17, 2018

The Art Journal Editorial Board invites nominations and self-nominations for the position of editor-in-chief of Art Journal Open for the term of July 1, 2020–June 30, 2023 (with service as incoming editor designate, July 1, 2019–June 30, 2020). A candidate may be an artist, art historian, critic, educator, curator, or other professional within the membership served by CAA; institutional affiliation is not required. Art Journal Open is an online forum for the visual arts that presents artists’ projects, conversations and interviews, scholarly essays, and other content from across the cultural field. The independently edited journal publishes original material by artists, scholars, teachers, archivists, curators, critics, and other cultural producers and commentators, with a commitment to foster new intellectual exchanges about contemporary art and culture. Art Journal Open prioritizes material that makes meaningful use of the web, such as multimedia formats and techniques, and is published on a continual, rolling basis.

The editor is responsible for commissioning all content for Art Journal Open. He or she solicits or commissions projects, texts, and time-based content by artists and other authors, and determines the appropriate scope and format of each project. Working in consultation with the Art Journal editor-in-chief, reviews editor, and editorial board, the editor determines which pieces should undergo peer review and subsequent revision before acceptance. The editor also works with authors and a CAA staff editor on the development and preparation of materials for publication. The editorial board expects that a significant portion of the journal will be geared to work or concerns of artists, and that the editor will endeavor to give voice to underrepresented perspectives. Qualifications for the position include a broad knowledge of current art, the ability to work closely with artists in a wide variety of practices, and experience in developing written and other content for arts platforms. The position includes membership on the editorial board and, after the orientation period, an annual honorarium, paid quarterly for the three years the of the editorship. The editor attends the three meetings each year of the Art Journal Editorial Board and, as an ex-officio member, of the Publications Committee—held in New York or by teleconference in the spring and fall, and at the CAA Annual Conference in February—and submits an annual report to CAA’s Board of Directors.

Candidates must be current CAA members and should not serve concurrently on the editorial board of a competitive journal or on another CAA editorial board or committee. The editor-in-chief may not publish her or his own work on Art Journal Open or in Art Journal during the term of service. Nominators should ascertain a nominee’s willingness to serve before submitting a name; self-nominations are also welcome. Please send a letter describing your interest in and qualifications for the position, a CV, and at least one letter of recommendation to: Art Journal Open Editor Search, CAA, 50 Broadway, 21st floor, New York, NY 10004; or email the documents to Heather Holmes (hholmes@collegeart.org), CAA Associate Editor for Digital Publications.

Deadline: April 1, 2019; finalists will be interviewed on May 2 in New York.

Hyperallergic‘s original piece included these graphics in lieu of reproducing contested images. Image via Hyperallergic.

In June of 2018, Hyperallergic published a two-part essay by the art historian and critic Steven Nelson about the rejection of his essay about artist Deana Lawson by both Aperture and frieze. In “Intimacy, Distance, and Disavowal in Art Publishing: Conversations with Dushko Petrovich,” arts journalist Dushko Petrovich dissects the situation piece by piece, interviewing representatives from Hyperallergic, frieze, Deana Lawson’s gallery, and Nelson himself. What emerges is a document of the processes that generally don’t get recorded when pieces of arts journalism are rejected or shelved, and what factors into these editorial decisions. Read more on Art Journal Open.

Filed under: AJO

Installation images by Melissa Warak of Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors.

A new essay by Melissa Warak, “Warriors and Volunteers: A Review of George W. Bush, Portraits of Courage,” looks carefully and critically at a 2017 exhibition of paintings by former US president George W. Bush.

Warak, an art historian with close ties to veterans and active military, approaches Bush’s artistic production both technically and art-historically, but also personally and politically. Through Bush’s rendering of both visible and invisible wounds veterans sustained in the Iraq War, writes Warak, the exhibition “aims to humanize the war and highlight the president’s connection to the wounded.” Read more on Art Journal Open.

Filed under: AJO

Art Journal Open seeks 500-word responses for a Forum on Public Funding for the Arts and Humanities, convened by Sarah Kanouse, Jeremy Liu, Catherine Morris, and Mimi Thi Nguyen.

Moderated contributions will be posted to an online forum hosted by Art Journal Open. Some respondents may subsequently be invited to expand their text into a longer article.

Responses will be accepted through August 20, 2018 to: publicfundingforum@gmail.com

Beyond Survival: Public Funding for the Arts and Humanities

Three decades into the long culture wars, how are artists, scholars, and cultural organizations navigating shifting political, community, and financial tides? Where have we encountered friction or congruence between federal priorities and our work at state, local, and community levels? Has our work changed – in structure, presentation, or substance – in response to these priorities?

Despite threats of elimination earlier in the year, federal funding for the arts and humanities has been preserved—at least for now. While rightly celebrating this collective accomplishment, we must also acknowledge that ideological pressures on US cultural policy are performed as much through selective funding as outright defunding. Each successive presidential administration has stamped its particular priorities on funding agencies, shaping arts and humanities research through both direct and indirect means. The grantmaking models now used by the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities were carefully devised to avoid the headline-grabbing controversies of the 1980s culture wars while articulating the value of the arts and humanities to a non-elite, often skeptical public. Simultaneously, arts and scholarly communities have sometimes struggled for diversity in terms of race, class, and gender. Nonprofit cultural and educational institutions evolved alongside twentieth-century funding models, with diminishing federal funding giving way to support from private philanthropy, and its concomitant priorities. Surviving funding programs often expect artistic and intellectual activities to contribute to community development, shore up fraying social services, or emphasize their policy implications—a challenging charge made more difficult by the patchwork of fragile social, economic, community, and technological infrastructures on which such work rests.

In an environment of heightened scarcity and competitiveness, how do we negotiate the differing audiences, priorities, and compromises that inevitably register in creative, academic, and public discourse? How do we defend our existing, imperfect, imperiled institutions while also calling for—and ultimately achieving—more expansive public funding of a wider range of aesthetic and political voices?

We seek 500-word responses to these questions from communities of art-making, scholarship, and exhibition practice. Moderated contributions will be posted to an online forum hosted by Art Journal Open. Some respondents may subsequently be invited to expand their text into a longer article. Responses will be accepted through August 20, 2018 to publicfundingforum@gmail.com.

Sarah Kanouse
Artist and Associate Professor
Department of Art + Design
Northeastern University

Jeremy Liu
Senior Fellow for Arts, Culture and Equitable Development
PolicyLink

Catherine Morris
Senior Curator for the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art
Brooklyn Museum

Mimi Thi Nguyen
Associate Professor
Gender and Women’s Studies and Asian American Studies
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Filed under: AJO, Calls for Papers

New on Art Journal Open

posted by June 13, 2018

Elisabeth Smolarz, ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THINGS, 2014- (ongoing). Archival inkjet prints, dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist.

Caitlin Masley-Charlet in Conversation with Elisabeth Smolarz

This interview is the last in a series of conversations led by Caitlin Masley-Charlet, focused on the utility and scope of artists residencies. In this interview, Masley-Charlet sits down with artist Elisabeth Smolarz to discuss Smolarz’s recent residencies and projects, and the importance of failure, artistic community, and cross-pollination between practitioners.

Brian Aldiss, Earthworks, Doubleday cloth edition, 1966

Brian Aldiss, Earthworks, Signet paperback, 1967

Digging into Aldiss’s Earthworks and Smithson’s “Earthworks”

Scholar Suzaan Boettger looks at the generative interplay between the science-fiction novels of the late Brian Aldiss and the Land art works of Robert Smithson, examining the word “earthworks” as a “shared emotional bedrock” between the two artists. In looking at Aldiss and Smithson side by side, Boettger brings Aldiss’s work more into the realm of art history, and Smithson’s work more into the realm of science fiction and environmental degradation.

Filed under: AJO

In a new project for Art Journal Open, Zachary Kaiser presents CitationBomb, an app that aims to overflow the Google Scholar algorithm and subvert the systems of metrification that track academic impact, influence, and success.

Pointing to the difficulty, if not impossibility, of opting out of systems that track output and activity, Kaiser presents CitationBomb as one tactic through which academics may push back against algorithmic structures.

Kaiser’s new piece, “Citation Bombing: Tactical and Symbolic Subversion of Academic Metrification,” featuring an introduction by Art Journal Editor-in-Chief Rebecca Brown and a scholarly essay by Kaiser, is up now on Art Journal Open.

Art Journal Open is a forum for the visual arts that presents artists’ projects, conversations and interviews, scholarly essays, and other forms of content from across the cultural field. Published by CAA, Art Journal Open is the online, open-access affiliate to Art Journal, a quarterly journal devoted to twentieth- and twenty-first-century art and art history. 

Filed under: AJO

Through the Repellent Fence, 2017 (film still), dir. Sam Wainwright Douglas, 74 mins.

Just published on Art Journal Open, “Decentering Land Art from the Borderlands: A Review of Through the Repellent Fence” by Emily Eliza Scott presents a close look at the 2017 film Through the Repellent Fence, a documentary about the interdisciplinary collective Postcommodity. Scott examines Postcommodity’s practice, its relation to and divergences from Land art traditions, and the role of art along the US-Mexico border. Click here to read more.

Art Journal Open is a forum for the visual arts that presents artists’ projects, conversations and interviews, scholarly essays, and other forms of content from across the cultural field. Published by CAA, Art Journal Open is the online, open-access affiliate to Art Journal, a quarterly journal devoted to twentieth- and twenty-first-century art and art history. 

Filed under: AJO