Episode 149: Elkins on the Stone Summer Theory Institute

July 6, 2008 · Print This Article

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James Elkins
This week: First we had James Elkins and the raiders of the lost ark, then James Elkins and the temple of doom, next James Elkins and the last crusade….now.

James Elkins and the crystal something-or-other.

No, no, But James Elkins is back to talk with Duncan about the Stone Summer Theory Institute, the Art Phd. and why your sorry ass is going to be in school forever.
Stone Summer Theory Institute at SAIC: What Is an Image?

From July 13-19, the second annual Stone Summer Theory Institute at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago will present a forum for some of the world’s foremost art theoreticians to address unsolved issues in the field.

This year’s Institute is focused on three fundamental questions: What is the nature of the visual? What are images? What are pictures?

A combination of public events and private discussions, the Summer Theory Institute invites fifteen young scholars to explore issues in art conceptualization with renowned international scholars, artists, and authors, this year including Gottfried Boehm, W.J.T. Mitchell, Jacqueline Lichtenstein, and Marie-Jose Mondzain.


In conjunction with “Open for Business”, Brian and Patrica will interview René de Guzman live in public at Triple Base Gallery on Thursday, July 10th at 5:00 PM. The raw interview will then be posted to the site as that week’s show.

René de Guzman is the senior curator of art at the Oakland Museum of California. Previously, he was the director of visual arts at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA).

James Elkins
Stone Summer Theory Institute
Irit Rogoff
School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Penn State Press
Nelson Goodman
Ferdinand de Saussure
Gottfried Boehm
Martin Heidegger
Rosalind Krauss
Jean-François Lyotard
Sigmund Freud
Ann Hamilton
Hans Haacke
Jacques Derrida
Meyer Schapiro
WJT Mitchell
Joel Snyder
Critical Art Ensemble
Jacques Rancière
Proximity Magazine
Joseph Koerner
Pepe Karmel
Errol Morris
Ryerson University
Sigmar Polke
Go. Go now.
Direct download: Bad_at_Sports_Episode_149-Stone_Summer_Institute.mp3

6 thoughts on “Episode 149: Elkins on the Stone Summer Theory Institute”

  1. Bill Dolan says:

    My initial reaction to this is that it’s not a lot of stuff the artist doesn’t really need to know to create art. I hope this isn’t the direction things are going (with the PHDs). It was a lot of the “Why” people respond to art, why art expresses, etc. Most visual artists, I feel are more concerned with the “how” and “what,” most of which comes from within. It’s interesting, but not important to making art, and may be detrimental, as it takes the life and soul right out of art making.

    I guess I can compare it to a baseball player having to know the nature and history of human competition and athletics in order to be fully engaged in the game.

    It’s all great for a broader understanding of why art exists, but it’s not really necessary for it the propagation of art by artists.

  2. Great interview. Elkins is really a treasure — always so interesting and he can sum up extremely complex issues and philosophies, even by others, in a few, highly understandable words! Amazing. It is great that you have Boehm coming. As a fellow Gadamerian I’m happy he’s appearing. He’s a truly unique and intriguing thinker. I wish I was there to join in the fun. I should have my PhD finished before you, James, do the “What do artists know” themed Institute, which also speaks directly to my (Lakoffian/Bloomian) dissertation topic, so I’ll try to apply as a fellow or something.

    Although I’ve been in school forever and am doing that dang art history/linguistics PhD, this diploma inflation idea of a studio PhD (as well as the forced and misunderstood Euro versions of the BFA and MFA now coming here) really scare me. I think it is immense over academization in the pejorative sense. James’s quotation from the “methodology” woman was spot on. Duncan, you really did a great job once again. I like it when your sceptical yet knowledgeable side appears (more than your cheerleading for questionable CC art like the Chapman’s ?!!!). Your questions and responses were concise and help shape the whole thing. I’m impressed. I get so excited listening to Elkins that I think I would be all over the board and less understandable by far! I have trouble reading his books because they inspire me to put them down and rush off to the studio. A great sign!

    Good job botha ya!

  3. Richard says:

    I’m rioting if they create a Phd. for studio.

  4. ben says:

    kudos to elkins for assembling such a multifaceted team. i am reminded of godard’s film notre musique which plays with the idea of image and anti-image. godard illustrates these both to be transitory and interrelated. the film exists as both as well. still images often exist within the same frozen purgatory. i am drawn (maybe other people too) to things that are caught between states of being. to becoming. maybe this has to do with the aesthetics of an image. the anti-image may resound with the honesty of the experience. the two quarrel, whether through iconography or manipulation. for me, an image is not fixed. a worthwhile visual/intellectual experience nags.

  5. ben says:

    counter image not anti image

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