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.

Speculative Realism, Accelerationism and Aesthetics

Speculative Realism, Accelerationism and Aesthetics

On Friday March 27th, join us for a day-long conference organized by Art History Department students Sydney Stutterheim, Matilde Guidelli-Guidi, Jonathan Patkowski, and Professor David Joselit which will examine the implications of accelerationism and speculative realism for artistic and curatorial practice, as well as the opportunities and limitations of non-anthropocentric aesthetico-critical strategies.

A video stream of the conference will available here from 10AM-6PM and @HumanitiesGC will be live-tweeting w/ #speculateaccelerate!

10:00 – 10:15: Introduction
10:30 – 12:30: Presentations by Liam Considine, Yates McKee, and Sam Sackeroff
12:30 – 1:30: Lunch break
1:30 – 2:30: Moderated Conversation with Miguel Abreu and Margaret Lee
2:30 – 3:30: Moderated Conversation with Kerstin Brätsch, John Miller, and Anicka Yi
3:30 – 4:00: Afternoon break
4:00 – 5:00: Keynote Lecture I: Anselm Franke
5:00 – 6:00: Keynote Lecture II: Jane Bennett

Cosponsored by the PhD Program in Art History; The James Gallery; Doctoral Students Council; and The Speculate/Accelerate Seminar in the Humanities.

 Visit the Center for Humanities website for full details.




April Rewald Lectures: Claire Bishop and Patricia Falguières

Rewald Lectures

Mark your calendars! Next month, the Art History Program will hold two Rewald Research in Progress talks. Tuesday, April 14 at 5:30 p.m. Professor Claire Bishop will present “Déjà vu: Contemporary Art and the Ghosts of Modernism.”

Two weeks later 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 present “Politics for the White Cube: The Italian Way.”

For future reference, both events are listed in our calendar.

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



Michelle Fisher Co-Authors Design and Violence

Design and Violence

Michelle Fisher, PhD Candidate and Curatorial Assistant in the Architecture + Design department at the Museum of Modern Art, has co-authored of an upcoming book exploring the relationship between design and crime!

Published to accompany an online experiment launched by The Museum of Modern Art in October 2013, Design and Violence is an exploration of the relationship between the two that sheds light on the complex impact of design on the built environment and on everyday life, as well as on the forms of violence in contemporary society. The book brings together controversial, provocative and compelling design projects with leading voices from a variety of fields.


Michelle Fisher also recently opened This Is for Everyone: Design Experiments for the Common Good with Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator, which will be on display in MoMA’s architecture and design galleries until January 2016.

Mellon-Funded “New Initiatives in Curatorial Training” Program Renewed

Curatorial Training

We’re thrilled to announce that the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has generously renewed its support of our “New Initiatives in Curatorial Training” program for the next four years!

Since Fall 2012, the program has allowed the Department to offer intensive curatorial seminars at leading New York museums. These include one on European textiles at the Metropolitan Museum of Art co-taught by Professor Amanda Wunder and Melinda Watt, Associate Curator for European textiles, and another examining European painting of the 1930s at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), co-taught by Professor Romy Golan and Danielle Johnson, Curatorial Assistant in the Department of Painting and Sculpture.

The Mellon Foundation has also made possible year-long paid internships and fellowships at the Metropolitan Museum, MoMA, Newark Museum, and Dia Art Foundation that immerse students in curatorial practice and museum collections.

Our sincere thanks to the Mellon Foundation for continuing to support this important curatorial training initiative!



Art History Program on YouTube

The Art History PhD Program YouTube channel is up and running, and can be accessed from the upper-right corner of the Commons home page.

The first feature is Beyond Connoisseurship: Rethinking Prints from the Belle Épreuve (1875) to the Present, a conference organized last semester by Britany Salsbury and Allison Rudnick. Speakers included Bridget Alsdorf, Assistant Professor, Department of Art History and Archaeology, Princeton University and Jay A. Clarke, Manton Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute (full conference details here).

In the weeks to come, we’ll be uploading more events, including last spring’s Exhibit A: Authorship on Display conference.