The Criteria of Beauty
 
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The Criteria of Beauty is the title of a student exhibition curated by Qualeasha Wood (19 PR) and David Guy (19 SC). The exhibition is open to public from Saturday, October 27 at 10:00am to 5:00pm until November 25, 2018. THAD Concentrator Dez Jones participates in the exhibition with their video-installation, entitled Fantasia Shepard.

Students presenting their works in The Criteria of Beauty are:
Sarah Alvarez – BFA Illustration
Gabrielle Barks – BFA painting
Brianna Brooks – BFA Painting
Nikolas Cachu – BFA Apparel
Dairys Escoto – BFA FIlm
Joshua Foltz – BFA Sculpture
Hera Ford – BFA Textiles
Stephen Foster – MFA Photography
Chelsea Garvey – BFA Film Animation Video
Daa Guy – BFA Sculpture
Dez Jones – BFA Sculpture
Satpreet Kahlon – MFA Sculpture
Jarrett Key – MFA Painting
Son Kit – MFA Graphic Design
Bi Oke – BARC Architecture
Jorge Palacious – BFA Glass
Nick Raley – BFA Textiles
Desiree Nicole Scarborough – BFA Apparel
Zoe Scruggs – BFA Painting
Satya Varghese Mac – BFA Sculpture
Skye Volmar – BFA Painting
Nadia Wolff – BFA Textiles
Qualeasha Wood – BFA Printmaking

The following is the curatorial statement of The Criteria of Beauty:

“The contemporary American composer John Cage recently criticized modern jazz for using regular intervals and for being based too much on the emotions. When asked to comment on this, Cecil said: ‘He doesn’t have the right to make any comment about jazz, nor would Stravinsky have any right to make evaluations about jazz, because they don’t know the tradition that jazz came out of. I’ve spent years in school learning about European music and it’s traditions, but these cats don’t know a thing about Harlem except that it’s there. Right away, when they talk about music they talk in terms of what music is to them. They never subject themselves to, like, what are Louis Armstrong’s criteria for beauty, and until they do that, then I’m in interested in what they have to say. Because they simply don’t recognize the criteria.’ ” – Four Jazz Lives by A.B. Spellman

In the above rebuttal Cecil Taylor is attempting to make evident the struggle that artists from marginalized communities face when trying to make their narratives and existence legible to western european canons.  He uses the term “criteria of beauty” to speak about the ways we are socialized to appreciate culture, communities and art. He points out that while he has spent years studying the western european canons that his white contemporaries like John Cage are drawing from, those contemporaries “simply don’t recognize” the culture, communities and art that he is drawing from. Though Cecil is talking specifically about Jazz, Harlem and music in this quote, his sentiment that educational and economic institutions produce a set of criteria that exclude the beauty of marginalized culture, communities and art still rings true.

The artists in the show “Criteria of Beauty,” represent experiences that exist outside of whiteness, heteronormativity and gender binaries.  The show is a moment in which these artists will define a criterion of beauty in which they can be their whole selves and reclaim institutionalized space to tell their narratives. A criterion in which no one predestines who they love, what they must look like to deserve respect or how long they can live. This show is a reclaiming of our dead and hidden, and a chance to tell our stories in ways that give us agency of our bodies. The same bodies that find themselves criticized too often, yet rarely understood.

Criteria of Beauty proposes a reclamation of the art gallery by marginalized bodies in order to challenge the systems that prevent accessibility and further perpetuate othering. We, Queer, Black and Brown folks expressing our realities through video, sculpture, print, and other media represent hope that even if the past did not recognize our beauty, the future that we carve will.

— Dāa & Qualeasha


Location: Gelman Gallery
RISD Chace Center 2nd Floor
20 North Main Street, Providence
Gallery hours: Tuesday through Sunday 10-5

 
Contemporary Art and the Stakes of Criticism
 
 Ed Ruscha,  Ex Libris , 2017, Acrylic on canvas © Ed Ruscha. Courtesy of the artist and Gagosian.

Ed Ruscha, Ex Libris, 2017, Acrylic on canvas
© Ed Ruscha. Courtesy of the artist and Gagosian.

To commemorate the donation of New Yorker writer Calvin Tomkins’ art book archive to the Redwood Library and Athenaeum in Newport, RI, the Redwood is partnering with RISD to present a day-long symposium on art criticism ‘since 1960,’ the year Tomkins began writing for the New Yorker. The symposium will address the relationship of Tomkins’ signature mode of writing—the profile—to other types of contemporary art writing. A range of voices, including critics, curators, artists and scholars, will ask: what is the place of subjectivity in contemporary art criticism? 
The event commences on Thursday October 25, 2018 with a keynote titled Art and Critique by renowned art historian and critic Richard Shiff, and is followed by two panels on Friday October 26: The Place of the Self and Artist-Writer. A range of voices, including critics, curators, artists and scholars will ask: what is the place of artistic subjectivity in contemporary art criticism? Participants include leading figures such as Roberta Smith (New York Times Co-Chief Art Critic) and internationally acclaimed curator, Massimiliano Gioni (curator of the 2013 Venice Biennale and artistic director at the New Museum, New York), Randy Kennedy, former New York Times art world reporter, and currently head of special projects at Hauser & Wirth, Moyra Davey, internationally renowned artist and writer, John Miller, artist, writer, Barnard College professor and RISD alumnus and Roger White, artist, writer, editor, and RISD faculty.

October 25: Richard Shiff Keynote Lecture "Art and Critique"
Register here
October 26: "The Place of the Self" Panel
Register here
“Artist-Writer” Panel
Register here

 
Art History
Theory and History of Art and Design
 
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The name of the department of History of Art and Visual Culture has now officially changed to The Department of Theory and History of Art and Design. The registrar's office will begin implementing this change in course codes and in RISD's annual course catalogue in the 2019-20 Academic Year.

 
Art History
Maltz-Leca Publishes ON William Kentridge
 
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Leora Maltz-Leca, Associate Professor of Art History, has recently published William Kentridge: Process as Metaphor & Other Doubtful Enterprises with University of California Press. The book "considers how renowned artist William Kentridge spins the material operations of the studio into a web of politically astute and historically grounded metaphors, likening erasure to forgetting, comparing animation to the flux of history, and marshaling drawing as a form of nonlinear argument."

Read more on University of California Press website.
The book is available on Amazon.

 
Art History
Hannan Toukan at Research Colloquium
 
 Samah Hijawi,  The Habiba street downtown Amman , from  Where are the Arabs? , 2009 Still from performance and intervention in public space

Samah Hijawi, The Habiba street downtown Amman, from Where are the Arabs?, 2009
Still from performance and intervention in public space

We are delighted to announce that Professor Hanan Toukan, who holds the Adrienne Minassian Visiting Professorship in Honor of Marilyn Jenkins-Madina 1962 at Brown University's Middle East Studies, will be presenting at our Colloquium. The title of Professor Toukan's presentation is "From PLO to NGO:  Arts, Letters and the Dissonance of Dissent after the Cold War."

Before joining Brown, Professor Toukan has taught at the Freie Universität Berlin as well as at SOAS, University of London. She has also guest lectured at Goldsmiths University in art history and visual cultures as well as Campus in Camps in Palestine. Professor Toukan was a EUME postdoctoral Fellow in Berlin in 2012-2013 and a Kenyon Institute Visiting Scholar in East Jerusalem in 2012. Toukan is currently working on her manuscript, entitled Intimate Encounters: Globality, Art and Cultural Diplomacy in Postwar Lebanon. Her writings have appeared in Arab Studies Journal, Cultural Politics, Journal for Palestine Studies, Review of Middle East Studies, Jerusalem Quarterly, SCTIW Review, Jadaliyya and Ibraaz amongst others. She has also contributed to Narrating Conflict in the Middle East: Discourse, Image and Communication Practices in Lebanon and Palestine (2013, edited by Dina Matar and Zahera Harb) and to Commitment and Beyond: Locating the Political in Arabic Literature since the 1940s (2015, edited by Frederike Pannewick and Georges Khalil).

The colloquium will be held at the Danforth Lecture Hall, RISD Museum on Tuesday, April 4, 2018 at 10:15 AM. A light brunch will be served.

RSVP required.

 
Sean Nesselrode Moncada AT COLLOQUIUM
 
 Edmundo Aray, Antonio de la Rosa, and Carlos Rebolledo,  Pozo muerto  (Caracas: Ediciones del Techo de la Ballena, January 1967) © El Techo de la Ballena Papers, The Museum of Modern Art Library, New York

Edmundo Aray, Antonio de la Rosa, and Carlos Rebolledo, Pozo muerto (Caracas: Ediciones del Techo de la Ballena, January 1967)
© El Techo de la Ballena Papers, The Museum of Modern Art Library, New York

On March 20, 2018, our colleague Sean Nesselrode Moncada, Assistant Professor of Art History, will be presenting on El Techo de la Ballena. Professor Nesselrode's paper, entitled "The Mutability of Magma: El Techo de la Ballena and the Venezuelan Petrostate," examines the ways through which El Techo’s heterogeneous practice challenged the dominance of kinetic abstraction while questioning the logic of the developmentalist petrostate, revealing an underbelly to the modernism that had long been obscured by a national push to "sow the oil."

The colloquium will be held at 10:15 AM at Danforth Lecture Hall, RISD Museum.

RSVP required.

 
Inaugural Colloquium: February 27
 
 Detail from Mehran Mohajer's  untitled  from series  Beyn o la-Beyn  (Between and Non-between), 2017

Detail from Mehran Mohajer's untitled from series Beyn o la-Beyn (Between and Non-between), 2017

The inaugural meeting of the Art History Research Colloquium was held on February 27 at the Danforth Lecture Hall, RISD Museum. Foad Torshizi, Assistant Professor of Art History, presented a paper on Iranian photographer, Mehran Mohajer, and the possibilities of a cosmopolitan ethics of readership in Art History.

The meeting was attended by members of the RISD faculty, Brown faculty, graduate students, and artists.