Calling all theory-heads: the Stone Summer Theory Institute launches its 2009 week-long school in contemporary art theory this Sunday with a lecture this Sunday afternoon by James Elkins on this year’s topic, What Do Artists Know? A rundown on the coming week’s public lectures is below; to learn more about the ideas behind the Stone Summer Theory Institute, check out Duncan’s interview with James Elkins on Episode 149 of the podcast here.
What Do Artists Know?
Co-organized by James Elkins and Frances Whitehead
Thinking on the education of artists is divided in an unpromising way among teachers avid for practical tips, administrators interested in the bottom line, educators invested in philosophies of teaching, and artists proposing idiosyncratic solutions. The 2009 SSTI will focus on three themes: the histories of art education; the current content and philosophies of art education around the world and at all levels; and the current state of theorizing on what artists know in society and outside the educational framework.
Tickets are free for SAIC students, faculty, staff, and alumni
Prices for the public vary. For more information please visit www.stonesummertheoryinstitute.org
James Elkins: What Do Artists Know?
Sunday, September 20, 1pm
Morton Auditorium, the Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S. Michigan Ave.
Free and open to the public. No pre-registration required
Presented by 2009 SSTI co-organizer James Elkins, this lecture will consider the principal theories of studio art education, including the First Year, the BFA, MFA, and PhD, while comparing practices in different countries. Elkins is the author of Why Art Cannot be Taught: A Handbook for Art Students and the E.C. Chadbourne Chair of Art History, Theory, and Criticism at SAIC.
Sir Christopher Frayling: The Hollywood History of Art
Monday, September 21, 7:30pm
SAIC Ballroom, 112 S. Michigan Ave.
Former Rector of the Royal College of Art, London, Sir Christopher Frayling is a cultural historian specializing in the permeability of high and low culture. He became the first professor of cultural history at the Royal College of Art and has published more than a dozen books. Frayling was knighted for ‘services to art and design education’ in
Roy Sorensen: “Artistic Expertise”
Wednesday, September 23, 7:30 PM
SAIC Ballroom, 112 S. Michigan Ave.
Roy Sorensen is Professor of Philosophy at Washington University in St. Louis. While he seldom writes about art, the titles of his books read like a roster of concepts that artists have invoked to describe what they know and how they see: Blindspots (1988), Thought Experiments (1992), Pseudo-Problems (1993), Vagueness and Contradiction (2001), and A Brief History of the Paradox (2003). He has also written a book on perception called Seeing Dark Things: The Philosophy of Shadows (2007).
PRESENTATION AND DISCUSSION
“What Do Artists Know?”
Thursday, September 24, 7:30 p.m.
Performance Space, Columbus Drive Building
As many artists transverse the disciplinary boundaries of art, design, science, and other fields, how do we understand the role of knowledge production in hybrid/ trans-diciplinary practices? SAIC faculty with such practices, reflect on these questions and lead an audience discussion on knowledge in practice.
Participating SAIC faculty include: Ellen Grimes, Adelheid Mers, Claire Pentecost, Andy Yang, and Frances Whitehead.
Advanced registration recommended.
Monday, Sept. 21, 9am-noon
SAIC Ballroom, 112 S. Michigan Avenue
Introducing the problematic of the Institute is a three-hour roundtable discussion, which will be taped and published. Panelists include Frances Whitehead, James Elkins, Sir Christopher Frayling, Stephan Schmidt-Wulffen, and Roy Sorensen.
Saturday, Sept. 26, 9am-3pm
Price Auditorium, the Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S. Michigan Ave.
(Use Michigan Avenue entrance before Museum open hours.)
A five-hour discussion by the Faculty, which will be taped and published. The Closing Roundtable includes a one-hour lunch break, and 90 minutes for audience questions.
The Stone Summer Theory Institute is sponsored by Howard and Donna Stone, longtime friends of the School of the Art Institute. Their innovative patronage supports the understanding of art, in addition to the infrastructure of education or display.
Jesus, I had to check the spelling of that last word like, four times. Those of you who enjoyed Duncan’s conversation with James Elkins about the art Ph.D. a few weeks back might want to check out The Drawing Center Executive Editor Jonathan T. D. Neil’s post today over at Artworld Salon: “What’s wrong with “professionalization”?:
“What, I have to ask, is wrong with professionalization? What are we really criticizing when we deride the graduates of MFA and PhD programs for nothing more than simply having done what one would expect them to do, which is to go and learn about the enterprise in which they are interested? I suspect that lurking behind such statements lies a romanticized and outmoded notion of the artistic subject—which is to say, of the kind of subjectivity (autodidactic, at odds with decorum and the status quo, sometimes tortured, often difficult, always independent—i.e. an ideal of bourgeois bohemianism) that continues to cling to the definition of the “artist” today like some itchy fungus.”
Interestingly, Neil’s arguments in this post aren’t nearly as nuanced and informed as were those that took place over here on the same subject, but I think he does usefully remind his readers that there’s a difference (or at least, there should be) between ‘academicization’ and ‘professionalization’ when it comes to the pursuit of higher education among artists.
Duncan and Terri talk to James Elkins about his books, criticism and more! Mike Benedetto provides an utterly hilarious movie review and public service announcement.
From Mr. Elkins’ web site:
James Elkins grew up in Ithaca, New York, separated from Cornell University by a quarter-mile of woods once owned by the naturalist Laurence Palmer.
He stayed on in Ithaca long enough to get the BA degree (in English and Art History), with summer hitchhiking trips to Alaska, Mexico, Guatemala, the Caribbean, and Columbia. For the last twenty years he has lived in Chicago; he got a graduate degree in painting, and then switched to Art History, got another graduate degree, and went on to the PhD in Art History, which he finished in 1989. (All from the University of Chicago.) Since then he has been teaching at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He is currently E.C. Chadbourne Chair in the Department of Art History, Theory, and Criticism. He also teaches in the Department of Visual and Critical Studies, and is Head of History of Art at the University College Cork, Ireland.
His writing focuses on the history and theory of images in art, science, and nature. Some of his books are exclusively on fine art (What Painting Is, Why Are Our Pictures Puzzles?). Others include scientific and non-art images, writing systems, and archaeology (The Domain of Images, On Pictures and the Words That Fail Them), and some are about natural history (How to Use Your Eyes).
Current projects include a book called Success and Failure in Twentieth-Century Painting, another called Writing about the World’s Art, and several edited books: a series called “The Art Seminar,” one called “Theories of Modernism and Postmodernism in the Visual Art.,” and edited books on W.G. Sebald, representations of pain in art, and the university-wide study of images.
He married Margaret MacNamidhe in 1994 on Inishmore, one of the Aran Islands, off the West coast of Ireland. Margaret is also an art historian, with a specialty in Delacroix. His interests include freshwater microscopy (with a Zeiss Nomarski differential interference microscope), optics (he owns an ophthalmologist’s slit-lamp microscope), stereo photography (with a Realist camera), playing piano, and winter ocean diving