Today – Political Printmaking: Favianna Rodriguez and Lincoln Cushing in Conversation

Nadiah Fellah

What role has printmaking had in political activism and revolutionary moments in U.S. history, and how have artists responded to social injustice through poster designs? Today, at 6:30 pm in the Martin E. Segal Theatre, Favianna Rodriguez, whose prints are featured in the Graduate Center’s James Gallery exhibition Left Coast: California Political Art, will present her work, and archivist and librarian Lincoln Cushing will speak on the history of political prints in California.

Their talks will be followed by a discussion moderated by the exhibition’s curator, Nadiah Fellah, Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Fellow and student in the PhD Program in Art History.

A reminder to visit Left Coast: California Political Art before it closes on May 29th! The exhibition includes artworks from the 1980s to the present that focus on the spirit of protest and resistance, which has come to be synonymous with the West Coast in recent years.

More information on the Center for Humanities website.

Cosponsored by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; PhD Program in Art History; Public Programs, The Graduate Center, CUNY.

The Shapes of Sense: A Conversation with Molly Nesbit and Joan Richardson

Molly Nesbit

Join Joan Richardson (Graduate Center, English) and Molly Nesbit (Vassar College, Art) at 6:30 pm in the William P. Kelly Skylight Room as they discuss their recently published book-length studies that approach the history and potential that Pragmatism promises for thinking about literature, philosophy, and aesthetics into our present day.

In The Principles of Psychology, William James wrote, “Whilst part of what we perceive comes through our senses from the object before us, another part (and it may be the larger part) always comes out of our own mind.” Along with the work of James, Charles Sanders Peirce, John Dewey and others, Pragmatism emerged as an American philosophy in the nineteenth century that has continued to shape the patterns of American thinking.

Molly Nesbit is Professor in the Department of Art at Vassar College and a contributing editor of Artforum. Since 2002, together with Hans Ulrich Obrist and Rirkrit Tiravanija, she has curated Utopia Station, a collective and ongoing book, exhibition, seminar, website and street project ( in Poughkeepsie, Frankfurt, Venice, Munich, Porto Alegre, and, next, Buenos Aires).  She has received many awards for her work, notably from the Guggenheim Foundation, the J. Paul Getty Trust, and the Creative Capital/Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant.  In 2008 she gave the J. Kirk T. Varnedoe Memorial lectures at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. Her books include Atget’s Seven Albums (Yale University Press, 1992) and Their Common Sense (Black Dog, 2000).  The Pragmatism in the History of Art (Periscope, 2013), is the first volume of Pre-Occupations, a series collecting her essays.

Joan Richardson is Distinguished Professor of English, Comparative Literature, and American Studies at The Graduate Center, CUNY. Author of a two-volume biography of the poet Wallace Stevens, she co-edited, with Frank Kermode, Wallace Stevens: Collected Poetry and Prose (Library of America, 1997). Her essays on Stevens, on Ralph Waldo Emerson, on Jonathan Edwards have been published in the Wallace Stevens Journal, in Raritan, and elsewhere, and essays on Alfred North Whitehead, William James, and pragmatism have appeared in the journals Configurations and The Hopkins Review. Review essays have appeared in Bookforum and other journals. Her study A Natural History of Pragmatism: The Fact of Feeling from Jonathan Edwards to Gertrude Stein was published by Cambridge University Press in 2007, and was nominated for the 2011 Grawemeyer Award in Religion. Another volume for Cambridge, Pragmatism and American Experience was published in June 2014. Among other current writing engagements, she is preparing for press Images, Shadows of Divine Things, the project for which she was awarded a 2012 Guggenheim Fellowship; inspired in part by Jonathan Edwards, it is a secular spiritual autobiography in hybrid, experimental form. Joan Richardson has also been the recipient of several other awards, including a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship and a Senior Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Her work reflects an abiding interest in the way that philosophy, natural history, and science intersect with literature. She is particularly preoccupied with the complex relation between language and perception.

Co-sponsored by the PhD Program in Art History and Center for Humanities

Patricia Falguières, Politics for the White Cube: The Italian Way

Patricia Falguières

This evening at 6:00 pm, the Art History Program welcomes Patricia Falguières, Professor at the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences in Paris, who will deliver our second of two Spring Rewald Research-in-Progress Lectures, “Politics for the White Cube: The Italian Way.”

Patricia Falguières is Professor at the EHESS (School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences). Her research focuses on both the cultural history of the Renaissance and the analysis of contemporary art. She has written many publications on the topic of art, including Mannerism: The story of an Avant-Garde in the 16th century and Wunderkammern (Les chambres des merveilles).

Note that today’s Rewald lecture will begin at 6:00 p.m. rather than 5:30 p.m. and is only open to students and faculty in the Art History Program.

The City is Ours, The Body is Mine: Urban Spatial Practices in Contemporary Latin America

urban spatial practices

Today from 10:00 am to 6:30 pm, join us for “The City is Ours, The Body is Mine: Urban Spatial Practices in Contemporary Latin America,” a conference organized by Liz Donato, Mya Dosch, and Luisa Valle, PhD students in the Art History Program. The conference is free and open to the public, and will take place on the first floor at The Segal Theater.

Click here for the full schedule!

In summer 2013, a twenty-cent bus fare increase in São Paulo, Brazil sparked immense protests that brought millions to the streets across the country. Exploding into a wide range of demands, the uprisings combined demonstrations, media-activism, participatory works of art, and spontaneous convivial encounters that emphasized bodily presence in urban space.

This day-long interdisciplinary conference examines contemporary engagements with the city as a tool and stage for protest throughout major Latin American cities. Focusing on the potencia of the body and everyday social interactions, participants discuss the possibilities and limitations of creative urban interventions. Presentations also address the legacies of conflictive spatial politics in the region, from the rise of military dictatorships to the subsequent tensions during so-called processes of democratic transition and aggressive neoliberalism.

The conference culminates in a joint keynote lecture by Paola Berenstein Jacques and Fabiana Dultra Britto (both Federal University of Bahia) and an intervention by the Rio-based collective Opavivará.

“The City is Ours, The Body is Mine: Urban Spatial Practices in Contemporary Latin America” is sponsored by the Rewald Fund of the PhD Program in Art History, The Center for the Humanities, The Committee on Globalization and Social Change, and the Doctoral Students’ Council of The Graduate Center, CUNY.

Friday: Visiting Students Research Symposium

Visiting Students

Today, from 2:00 -3:30pm in Room 3416, this year’s visiting students will present their current dissertation research:

Irene Campolmi, Aarhus University/Louisiana Museum of Modern Art; 2014-15 Fulbright Fellow:
“The Art Museum of the 21st Century: Thinking Sustainable Narratives for Curating”

Francesco Guzzetti, Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa; 2014-15 CIMA Fellow:
“Arte Povera beyond “Arte Povera”: Art in Turin, 1970-1975″

Natalie Keppler, University of Berne; 2014-15 Fulbright Fellow:
“Re-Constructed Communion: Instituting a Community within Christop Schlingensief’s Installation”

Wednesday: Left Coast for Teachers Workshop with Hallie Scott

Left Coast Hallie Scott

How can activist/political artwork be used as a teaching tool in the classroom?

On April 22nd at 5:00 pm, join PhD candidate Hallie Scott in the James Gallery for a workshop on ways that teachers can use the works in Left Coast: California Political Art as catalysts for discussions of contemporary (or historic) political, social, and cultural issues and events. Although the workshop is centered on artworks currently on view, the tactics for employing political art as a pedagogical tool are meant to apply to topics beyond the show’s contents. In this sense, the program will address how artworks can connect to contemporary events and reveal challenges to the present political and social order. The workshop is geared towards teachers at the undergraduate and high school level, but participants may be anyone interested in using political artwork as a teaching tool.

Cosponsored by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; PhD Program in Art History, The Graduate Center, CUNY.

For more information on this event and others associated with the Left Coast exhibition, which runs until May 29, visit the Center for Humanities website.



New Faculty Publication: Siona Wilson – Art Labor, Sex Politics

Siona Wilson

This past January saw the release of Professor Siona Wilson’s Art Labor, Sex Politics: Feminist Effects in 1970s British Art and Performance by University of Minnesota Press.

In Art Labor, Sex Politics, Wilson investigates the charged relationship of sex and labor politics as it played out in the making of feminist art in 1970s Britain. Her exploration of works of experimental film, installation, performance, and photography maps the intersection of feminist and leftist projects in the artistic practices of this heady period.

Collective practice, grassroots activism, and iconoclastic challenges to society’s sexual norms are all fundamental elements of this theoretically informed history. The book provides fresh assessments of key feminist figures and introduces readers to less widely known artists such as Jo Spence and controversial groups like COUM Transmissions. Wilson’s interpretations of two of the best-known (and infamous) exhibitions of feminist art—Mary Kelly’s Post-Partum Document and COUM Transmissions’ Prostitution—supply a historical context that reveals these works anew. Together these analyses demonstrate that feminist attention to sexual difference, sex, and psychic formation reconfigures received categories of labor and politics.

How—and how much—do sexual politics transform our approach to aesthetic debates? What effect do the tropes of sexual difference and labor have on the very conception of the political within cultural practice? These are the questions that animate Art Labor, Sex Politics as it illuminates an intense and influential decade of intellectual and artistic experimentation.

More information on the book can be found here.


Recent Student and Alumnae/i Fellowships


We’re very pleased to see that a number of Art History PhD Candidates will receive Graduate Center Dissertation Fellowships for the upcoming academic year: Arnaud Gerspacher (Posthumanist Animals: France and Belgium, 1972-87); Alice Lynn McMichael (Rising Above the Faithful: Monumental Ceiling Crosses in Byzantine Cappadocia); Natalie Musteata, (From Radicality to Romanticism: The Institutionalization of the Artist as Curator, 1970-2010) and Michelle Fisher (Nothing is transmissible but thought”: Le Corbusier’s Radiant City in Diaspora).

Lindsay Caplan has also just been awarded a Mellon/American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Dissertation Completion Fellowship for her dissertation Open Works: Between the Programmed and the Free, Art in Italy from 1962 to 1972.

And in other news, alumna Martha Buskirk will serve as a 2015 Guggenheim Fellow in Fine Arts Research.

Congratulations to all!

Tonight: “Left Coast” Opening Reception in James Gallery, 6pm – 8pm

Nadiah Fellah

Join us tonight in the James Gallery for the opening reception of Left Coast: California Political Art!

Curated by Nadiah Fellah, GC Art History student and Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Fellow, Left Coast includes artworks from the 1980s to the present that focus on the spirit of protest and resistance, which has come to be synonymous with the West Coast in recent years. The title of the exhibition takes its name from a playful moniker for the left-wing politics associated with California, a place that curator and art historian Peter Selz has referred to as “America’s edge.” By exploring how the roles of these artists cross into the realm of activism, the show brings to the fore timely political tensions and social movements that are unfolding across the country.

The exhibition will feature sculptures, drawings, paintings, video and prints by several contemporary artists currently working in California, as well as newly commissioned works by Los Angeles-based artist Andrew Schoultz, the Bay Area-based mural collective Precita Eyes Mural Collective, and the international artist collective Futurefarmers, founded by San Francisco artist Amy Franceschini. Also included in the presentation are works by artists Judith F. Baca, Evan Bissell, Libby Black, Enrique Chagoya, Bruce Conner, Estudio Teddy Cruz with Fonna Forman, Jennifer Moon, PERSIA and DADDIE$ PLA$TIK, Lari Pittman, Rigo 23, Favianna Rodriguez, Martin Wong, and Imin Yeh.

More information, including related programming, is available on the Center for Humanities website.

Left Coast: California Political Art is cosponsored by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the PhD Program in Art History, and the Public Science Project, The Graduate Center, CUNY.

Special thanks to exhibition lenders: George Adams Gallery, Commonwealth & Council, The Conner Family Trust and Paula Cooper Gallery, Durón Family Collection, Andrew Edlin Gallery, Barbara Gladstone Gallery,  Interference Archive, Joshua Liner Gallery, and P.P.O.W. Gallery.


Claire Bishop – “Déjà vu: Contemporary Art and the Ghosts of Modernism”

Claire Bishop

Our first of two Spring Rewald Research in Progress lectures takes place tonight at 5:30 p.m, with Professor Claire Bishop presenting “Déjà vu: Contemporary Art and the Ghosts of Modernism.” Building upon a lecture at Centre Pompidou last fall, tonight’s talk addresses the proliferation of art produced over the past twenty years dealing with modernism.

In two weeks time on Monday, April 27 at 6:00 p.m. Patricia Falguières, Professor at the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences in Paris, will deliver a lecture entitled “Politics for the White Cube: The Italian Way.”

Please note that our Rewald lectures are only open to students and faculty in the Art History Program, due to space constraints.