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Academic Year Wrap-up!

The Arts Research Center has concluded its exhilarating year-long examination into alternative forms of artistic research, including events dedicated to exploring the archival rigors and political imperatives that can attend to dancing, curating, crafting, mapping, sensing, and translating. We partnered with over twenty different departments and units as we brought thinkers and makers to campus to consider how research might be differently embodied and practiced. Our spring conference, Amateurism Across the Arts, featured speakers as well as performances and a fashion show by undergraduate self-organized arts groups; collectively, the talks offered penetrating theorizations of the stakes of DIY, unofficial, and self-taught cultural production. I am in the midst of editing a special issue of the journal Third Text based on the Amateurism conference that is slated for publication in fall 2019. If you missed any of these events, you can watch the video documentation found here.

The ARC fellows program had a particularly cohesive cohort this year; the faculty/graduate student pairs presented research that circulated around questions of site, place-making, and human intervention into landscapes; you can read about their research here.

Thank you to the many speakers, artists, fellows, students, and audience members who participated in these events over the past year — we look forward to seeing you in the fall when ARC programming resumes. I will be the Robert Sterling Clark Distinguished Visiting Professor at Williams College in 2018-19, and I am delighted to announce that Natalia Brizuela will be the Interim Director while I am away.

With best wishes for a relaxing and rejuvenating summer,


Julia Bryan-Wilson
Director, Arts Research Center
Professor, History of Art


Natalia Brizuela to become ARC’s Interim Director for 2018-2019


Natalia Brizuela is Associate Professor in the departments of Film & Media and Spanish & Portuguese. Her work focuses on literature, photography, film, contemporary art, critical theory and aesthetics from Latin America. She has published numerous articles and is the author of three books on photography: Fotografía e império. Paisagens para um Brasil moderno; Depois da fotografía. Uma literatura fora de si; and The Matter of Photography in the Americas with Jodi Roberts that accompanied an exhibition of the same title curated at the Cantor Arts Center in Stanford.

She has co-edited a special issue of the Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies (2015) on photographers Grete Stern and Horacio Coppola, and of a book of essays on experimental writer Osvaldo Lamborghini (2008). She has guest edited a Special Issue of Film Quarterly (2016) on Brazilian filmmaker Eduardo Coutinho. She is currently at work on a study of time, history and memory in contemporary media practices from the Global South.


ARC awarded UCHRI Funds for 2018-2019 Programming for “Arts of Critique”


ARC’s 2018-19 program will have a special focus on the critical potential of arts from the Global South. The events organized around this question are the result of collaboration between ARC Interim Director Natalia Brizuela, Anneka Lenssen (History of Art), Leigh Raiford (African American Studies) and Poulomi Saha (English). A generous grant from the UCHRI will partially support the monthly visits by artists and critics and the March conference on Arts of Critique. The year’s investigations on Arts of Critique will take off with a workshop in Mexico City (September 6-8), organized through the International Consortium of Critical Theory Programs (ICCTP) with the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Arts of Critique seeks to prompt the question of the relationship between art and criticism from the standpoint of social and political exigencies of our times, and to do so by thinking with contemporary artists and activists practicing in the global margins and zones of acute transition often called the “Global South”–from Africa, Latin America, South East Asia and the Middle East, to U.S. Latino, African American, Native American and Asian American communities. We will explore art as an embodied critical engagement with the geopolitics of injustice, destructive violences of displacement,environmental crisis, contemporary forms of dissent, protest and rearticulations of democracy. Arts of Critique is interested in the extent to which contemporary art and art criticism wield a transformative capacity to actively condition or mobilize collective imaginaries and struggles contesting domination. The “contemporary” here refers widely, to art that, in its futurity and afterlives and its engagement with global socio-political transformations, may be taken and signified as contemporary.

The questions Arts of Critique will address and thematize include: How do different genres of art alert us to the intimate publics that are formed and deformed in times of loss and crisis? How do feminist, queer, postcolonial/decolonial, postnational perspectives and interventions call attention to, and reclaim, the political implications of art as critique beyond Eurocentric ramifications of critical discourse? What kinds of (un)belongings and displacement, figured through tropes of gendered, sexualized, ethnicized and racialized vulnerability, could allow us to think (with) the limits and the resistant potential of art?


Now Online: In Terms of Performance, a keywords anthology for contemporary cultural practice


In Terms of Performance is a keywords anthology designed to provoke discovery and generate shared literacies across disciplines. It features essays and interviews from more than 50 prominent artists, curators, presenters, and scholars who reflect on common yet contested terms in contemporary cultural practice. The publication is produced by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, Philadelphia and the Arts Research Center and is co-edited by Shannon Jackson, director of the Arts Research Center, and Paula Marincola, executive director of the Pew Center. To read the free publication online, please see here.