Speaker biographies and paper abstracts follow below. The symposium schedule will be posted on this page by August 18th.
Bradley Bailey is associate professor of art history at Saint Louis University. He received his Ph.D. from the CWRU-CMA joint program in 2004. His numerous publications on the artist Marcel Duchamp include the book Marcel Duchamp: The Art of Chess (2009), which he co-authored with Francis M. Naumann. He has lectured widely on the subject of Duchamp and games, with invitations to speak at the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow during the 2012 World Chess Championship and last year at the symposium celebrating the centennial of Duchamp’s summer in Herne Bay, England. As a curator, his exhibitions “Marcel Duchamp: The Art of Chess” and “Out of the Box: Artists Play Chess” have been written about in The New York Times and ARTnews, among other publications. Most recently, he contributed several essays to the monograph Marcel Dzama: Sower of Discord, published by Abrams Books in 2013.
The Unknown Masterpiece: Marcel Duchamp’s Mysterious Fountain
While it is widely considered one of the most renowned and influential artworks of the twentieth century, it is remarkable how little is known with any real degree of certainty about the circumstances surrounding the work of art known as Fountain. Indeed, the story of the supposed rejection—and, in some erroneous versions, destruction—of the urinal submitted to the 1917 Society of Independent Artists exhibition under the pseudonym “R. Mutt” has been recounted in such numerous and diverse interpretations that it has become difficult, perhaps even impossible, to conclusively separate fact from fiction. Moreover, contemporary scholars have even begun to question some of the most basic tenets of the episode, including Duchamp’s involvement as “author” of the work. While avoiding any potentially loaded terms like “the true story,” I will attempt an exegesis of the complicated history/mythology of Fountain, which may at least lead to a better understanding of the events that transpired during the brief existence of this legendary object. I will also discuss the history of the replication of Fountain, a saga that is in some respects as enigmatic as the murky chronicle of the original.
Amy Gilman joined the Toledo Museum of Art as the Associate Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art in May 2005, after completing her doctorate in Art History from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. In 2009 she began overseeing the museum’s temporary exhibitions program; and in 2011 she became the museum’s associate director – overseeing the Curatorial, Education, Marketing and Communications and Visitor Engagement Departments. During her time in Cleveland she also spent four years at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Previously, Dr. Gilman worked in Chicago at the Museum of Contemporary Photography; and received her MFA in photography from Columbia College Chicago in 2001 and her BS in Performance Studies from Northwestern University in 1991.
Museums expect to be permanent. In order to be permanent, however, museums must first be relevant. This premise requires that museums radically rethink their institutional structures. Amy Gilman, Toledo Museum of Art’s Associate Director, will discuss recent changes to the TMA’s organization and its practices that were intended to embed innovative thinking. She will highlight the strategic planning process, begun in 2010, and note specific examples of change management within the 110 year old institution that have sought to simultaneously honor the museum’s tradition and history, and move the organization firmly into the 21st century. The Museum has developed five strategic objectives intended to support the institution’s purpose of art education. Dr. Gilman will outline the Museum’s ‘2020 Vision’ and explain how TMA’s success in achieving its strategic objectives will be measured against its ability to realize its ambitious plans, which include the creation of a Center for Visual Literacy in collaboration with a local university as well as an arts-based elementary school. Most organizations fail in their efforts to change because they fail to institutionalize the transformation; to mitigate this risk, TMA’s has realigned its structure and staffing to more directly reflect its strategic objectives. Change occurs when the risk of the status quo becomes sufficiently high, and in TMA’s estimation, maintaining a model based on permanence is no longer a viable long-term strategy. Relevance requires innovation, and TMA restructured its organization and finances to better support its long-term goals by finding innovative solutions to traditional museological problems.
INDRA K. LĀCIS
Indra graduated with her MA in art history from Case Western Reserve University in 2007 and completed her PhD at Case in 2014. Her research focuses on the development and current state of performance art and the relationship between artists and audience from the mid 20th century until the present day. She has curated collection-based, solo, group and participatory exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, Zygote Press, the Cleveland Foundation and SPACES. Currently Indra teaches art history at the Cleveland Institute of Art and serves as the editor of Arthopper.org, an online regional art journal.
"Shooting Pictures": Women and Guns in Art since 1960
From Niki de Saint Phalle’s early 1960s Shooting Pictures to Hannah Wilke and Shirin Neshat’s haunting photographic self-portraits of the 1970s and 1990s respectively, to Marina Abramović’s re-performance of VALIE EXPORT’s Action Pants/Genital Panic (1969/2005), a diverse selection of female artists have performed or pictured themselves with guns. This paper investigates the social and political implications of these photographs and performances against the cultural and historical backdrop of their time. Specifically invested in a better understanding of the relationship between feminism and the theme of the proverbial armed woman, this talk will draw parallels between women who have included the presence of a gun in their artwork and female cult/cultural figures (e.g. the eccentric Dorothy Podber, Patty Hearst and the pop singer Madonna) who gained fame and notoriety precisely for their use of a gun.
FRANK G. SPICER III
Frank G. Spicer III is the Director and Curator of Jolie Art, LLC, a private art collection. Frank received his BA in Art History from Kent State University. He earned his MA in 2002 and PhD in 2009 in Art History and Museum Studies from Case Western University. As Director, Frank applies his experience and knowledge to meet the objectives of the collectors. His primary responsibility is to facilitate and advise the owners on art acquisition and de-accession, as well as ongoing management of the existing collection, the duties of which include conservation, research, documentation, framing, installation, archiving and other activities as needed. Frank ensures that the collection meets the highest level of professional standards in art collection management. He lives with his wife and daughter in Houston, Texas, where he is also active in the regional art community.
A Curator’s View of the Contemporary Art Market
The commercial art world has seen remarkable advancements as well as some worrisome trends in the ways art is marketed, bought and sold. Whereas galleries and auctions were once the primary spaces for art world commerce, fine art now can be purchased online through websites such as Artsy and Artspace. The major auction houses feature online bidding for many of their sales. Sotheby’s, in fact, announced recently that it is partnering with E-Bay to broadcast its New York auctions on a special section of E-bay’s website. Dealers are finding it essential to show their works at international art fairs, needing to go directly to collectors making the annual fair circuit. The increasing number of biennials, triennials and fairs seems to be the norm.
These developments have contributed to the rapid growth of the contemporary art market, making the art of today look like an increasingly attractive investment. But what happens when speculative buying practices from day trading or real estate fields, such as “flipping,” enter into art market commerce? Is there cause for concern over skyrocketing art values coupled with a lack of market transparency or oversight? In this presentation I will take a closer look at the ways in which the developments and practices in today’s thriving market may impact contemporary art’s commercial value moving forward.
VIRGINIA B. SPIVEY
Based in Washington DC, Virginia B. Spivey (MA 1995; PhD, 2002) is an independent art historian, focusing on pedagogical uses of technology and innovative approaches to education. In addition to teaching at Georgetown University and Maryland Institute College of Art, her recent projects include developing content and on-line assessment tools for the Khan Academy; working with Glenstone, a contemporary art museum in Potomac, Maryland, to establish school-based learning programs in the Montgomery County Public Schools; and creating a visual arts curriculum for Evergreen Montessori School in Silver Spring, Maryland. She also serves as a contributing editor for ArtHistoryTeachingResources.com.
The Role Of The Real In Technology-Enhanced Learning
In an age when the virtual experience of art is so compelling, what good is to be found in the real? The proliferation of interactive technologies has changed the way we teach art history. High quality digital reproductions on Artstor, Google Art Project, and museum websites give students greater access to canonical objects than ever before, and digital tools reveal details that go unnoticed in most gallery contexts. New pedagogical models like the “flipped classroom” rely on technology to increase the efficiency of instructional time and improve student understanding of art historical concepts and skills.
While technology can improve the study of art history, its increasing use raises questions of how real interactions with material objects will impact student learning in the future. I posit these direct encounters might provide distinct learning experiences not supported by virtual modes of student engagement. In addition to fostering the sustained focus, reflective processing, and mind wandering necessary to creative thinking, such real experiences allow students to recognize aesthetic response and personal understanding as relevant to art historical practice. By looking at current ideas in neuroscience, educational technology, and museum studies, this paper will explore the role of real experience to further learning in technology-enhanced art history classes.
Anne Swartz is professor of Art History at the Savannah College of Art and Design. She received her Ph.D. from CWRU (1996). She focuses on contemporary art, especially feminist artists, in her writing, curating, and lectures. She’s co-authoring “The Question of the Girl” with Jillian St. Jacques and completing The History of New Media/New Genre: From John Cage to Now (Pearson). In 2014, she contributed the catalogue essay "From WIA to WAR to Zines: An Overview of Feminist Art Exhibition Practices in New York City," for the show Women Choose Women Again, curated by Mary Birmingham, at the New Jersey Center for Visual Arts, Summit, New Jersey and the catalogue essay for “Momentum: Women/Art/Technology,” curated by Connie Tell, for the Institute for Women and Art, Rutgers University, the State University of New Jersey. Also she co-juried Identity, the National Women’s Caucus for Art at gallery nine5 in New York, NY.
The Home in Contemporary Art
Homes, houses, and domestic practices have been a recurrent form and theme in contemporary art. They are ubiquitous, proceeding largely unnoticed in daily life, woven seamlessly into our visual culture. Occasionally, homes and the domestic galvanize attention and remind us of their importance, reflecting our cultural, political, and social values. The home is the residence and the refuge, described in song, verse, and image, as central to life, culture, and history. Further it is the site of connection between past, present, and future for all spheres of society, from the homeland to the family and the community or the state and region. Functioning as a residence and refuge, the home offers social independence and quiet from the din of the world, which artists have considered and critiqued as a space apart from the world. Much like the actual form and structure of the home, domesticity and the domestic have figured into contemporary art in diverse and persistent ways. The range of responses has been focused meditations on housework to the family gathered in the home. The desire for a transformed, better, improved home has also been recurrent as artists fantasize and imagine the divergent possibilities.