The New Issue of Rebus is out! For those of you who don’t know but ought to, Rebus is an online journal of art history and theory organized and published by doctoral students out of the University of Essex, UK. I’ve been a fan of Rebus since I was first made aware of it last spring. I was struck by the straightforward agenda of sharing ideas. Which, under normal circumstances, are rarely read or disseminated much beyond their academic system. To a certain extent I think Rebus mediates the gaps between those dust-collecting hardbound dissertations lining the shelves of collegiate libraries next to the esoteric journals published within any field of study which a requisite level of specificity to necessitate doctoral study and the casual contemporary art writing consumer. Put another way, I dig the accessibility of this journal. So Rebus issue 4 is hot off the presses and is edited by Dr. Matthew Bowman and Dr. Stephen Moonie. I’ve been so very lucky, as Dr. Bowman agreed to my idea that he share some of his thoughts on the journal and on his specific interests within the scope of critical theory. I particularly enjoy his interest in time as an under investigated element in art history, theory and criticism, most probably to do with my own personal interest in mitigated meaning and ways of understanding experience. Check out the new issue
The following is a short, simple and earnest interview with Dr. Matthew Bowman.
JG- Would you share a bit about yourself for our lovely readers, for introductions?
MB-I originally completed my degree in fine art, but soon comprehended my preference was to write about art rather than produce my own. I wrote my MA dissertation on Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain, arguing that its processes of reproduction functioned as open-ended conditions of displacement which are immanently temporal, a manifestation of Duchamp’s fascination with “delay.” My PhD research took a different tack, analyzing the October journal. I focused mostly upon the journal’s early years (1976-1981), years which virtually transformed the face of art-critical discourse. Rather than give a straightforward historical account of October, however, I elected to argue that the journal in those years fundamentally reconfigures our comprehension of medium-specificity by pointing to the way artworks, especially after “the crux of minimalism,” reinvent the medium. Of course, early October perceives itself as rejecting the question of medium-specificity as a modernist issue, but I contend there are resources within October that encourage us to reconsider what a medium is, and how it operates within an expanded field. I completed my dissertation October and the Expanded Field of Art and Criticism in 2008. At present I’m lecturing part-time in contextual studies at Colchester Institute, and working in the History of Art department as well as Arts on 5 at the University of Essex. Between these activities I co-edit Rebus: A Journal of Art History and Theory.