This semester’s Art in the First Person Lecture Series

Last week, SVA announced the Spring 2011 schedule for Art in the First Person, an ongoing lecture series in which notable artists, critics and writers examine a variety of topics, including their own works and the current state of the art world. This semester’s calendar includes a wide range of lectures, panel discussions, and symposia sponsored by several SVA programs, including the MFA Art Criticism and Writing Department, the BFA Fine Arts Department, the MFA Photography, and the Video and Related Media Department. A full schedule of events can be found at SVA’s Press Resources page for the series.

As part of this semester’s schedule, our own BFA Visual & Critical Studies Department will be sponsoring three lectures dealing with artmaking, art history, and art criticism:

The first will be this coming Tuesday, January 25, at 6:30pm. Artist and SVA faculty member Jeanne Silverthorne will discuss her investigation of the notion of vanitas, including the studio itself as a kind of ruin. Silverthorne is best known for using rubber as a medium for sculpture that is at once dark, earthy and humorous. Silverthorne’s work is in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, among others.

On Tuesday, February 8, art historian Karen Lang will deliver a lecture titled “Caspar David Friedrich, Gerhard Richter: Painting in the State of Becoming,” which will explore the relationship between Friedrich and Richter and show how Richter’s understanding of artistic tradition dovetails with the implications of Friedrich Nietzsche’s philosophy. Lang is an associate professor of art history at the University of Southern California’s College of Letters, Arts and Sciences; her primary focus is on modern German art and aesthetic theory, and her book, Chaos and Cosmos: On the Image in Aesthetics and Art History (Cornell University Press, 2006), examines the conceptual foundations of the discipline of the history of art.

Finally, on Tuesday, April 12, writer Ellen Sue Levy will speak at SVA. Levy is a visiting associate professor at Pratt Institute. Her articles and poems have appeared in Dissent, Literary Imagination, Modernism/Modernity, Raritan and The New York Review of Books; her book, Criminal Ingenuity: Moore, Cornell, Ashbery and the Struggle Between the Arts, will be published in April 2011 by Oxford University Press.

All of these lectures will be held at 133/141 West 21 Street in Room 101C at 6:3-0 p.m. on the dates listed above. As with all of the Art in the First Person events, they will be free and open to the public.

Later in the semester, VCS Department Chair Tom Huhn and I will both be participating in “Beyond Kandinsky: Revisiting the Spiritual in Art,” an online symposium sponsored by BFA Fine Arts Department and organized by artist and faculty member Taney Roniger and writer and filmmaker Eric Zechman. The symposium commemorates the 100th anniversary of the publication of Kandinsky’s book On the Spiritual in Art, and will bring together a group of artists, historians, filmmakers, writers, and philosophers to revisit the concerns raised in that now classic text. Other participants include SVA alumna and art historian Anney Bonney (MFA 2010 Computer Art); media historian Deirdre Boyle; filmmaker Nathaniel Dorsky; James Elkins, professor of art history, theory and criticism at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Roger Lipsey, author of An Art of Our Own: The Spiritual in Twentieth Century Art (Shambhala, 1988); and artist and faculty member Joseph Nechvatal. The online event will run from Wednesday, March 30th to Friday, April 8th. You can learn more about the symposium at its web site

As the semester progresses, I will post additional updates and announcements on each of the events listed above. I will also be attending the lectures and writing blog posts about them, starting next week with Jeanne Silverthorne’s talk.

Visual & Critical Studies