Faculty Summer Research

Images from a Bed-Making Competition at a New York Hotel

This summer David Brody will be conducting research for his new book Do Not Disturb: Design, Hotels, and Labor (under advance contract with the University of Chicago Press). The image on the left is an example of an image from the book; it is from a Bed-Making Competition at a New York Hotel.

In June, Janet Kraynak traveled to Los Angeles to conduct research at the Center for Land Use Interpretation, an artist collective that investigates the uses of public lands across the United States, for a piece she’s been working on entitled “Geographical Practices and Uneven Development.” Kraynak is also putting the finishing touches on an article (“‘The Land’ and the Economics of Sustainability”) that is being published in the Winter 2010/11 issue of Art Journal. For caa reviews, she is writing a review of the recent Marina Abramovic exhibition that took place at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Lastly, she is continuing work on her book, Reiterating Nauman.

This summer, as part of her research for her next book Petrified Curtains, Animate Architextiles, Susan Yelavich is making studio visits across the country. She will interview Sheila Kennedy (Boston), Jenny Sabin (Philadelphia), Peter Testa (Los Angeles), Benjamin Ball and Gaston Nogues (Los Angeles), and Elena Manferdini (Los Angeles)—all architects whose practices use textile tectonics in their work.

While in Los Angeles, Yelavich will also be meeting with designer Denise Gonzales Crisp to co-develop an exhibition proposal for the new Contemporary Art Museum (CAM) in Raleigh, North Carolina on the theme of contemporary ornament and decoration. Both Gonzales Crisp and Yelavich have taught and published on the subject and have been invited to translate their work into an exhibition at CAM, tentatively slated for 2011-12. (Denise Gonzales Crisp is an Associate Professor at the College of Design, North Carolina State University, in Graphic Design.)

Radhika Subramaniam is working on the exhibition for the fall, Living Concrete/Carrot City, with Nevin Cohen, from the Environmental Studies Program/Tishman Center.  Subramaniam was awarded a New School Green Fund award to support this exhibition.

Subramaniam says, “Living Concrete links sociologist Thomas Lyson’s coinage “civic agriculture” to Josef Beuys’s influential formulation of social transformation and individual creativity, “social sculpture”, to explore creative and research projects that demonstrate the possibilities of urban agriculture. It maintains that everyday practices of food production and distribution in cities, in the actions of ordinary people in local neighborhoods, register as quiet but persistent challenges to the agro-industrial complex. As such small-scale efforts grow ecologically sound, efficient and profitable, they could revolutionize our very relationship to food and water, dissipating systemic inconsistencies, inequities and insecurities. It combines an active platform for public pedagogy with the exhibition of design interventions and research that reconnect people and food production while simultaneously transforming neighborhood livability, health and the environment. A cross-institutional exchange with Carrot City, a travelling exhibition from Canada, Living Concrete explores the triangulation of design processes, food systems and communities.”

Sarah Lawrence is writing an article for “Museum,” the journal published by the American Association of Museums, on Museum Studies programs and new models for graduate education in this area.

In July, Lawrence is off to Berlin for the first half of the program’s two-week intensive on German Decorative Arts. She’ll also be doing research on Jacopo Strada.

Jilly Traganou‘s summer research will focus on collecting primary research material and finalizing some of the chapters of her  forthcoming book publication Designing the Olympics: (post) National Identity in the Age of Globalization (contracted by Routledge).

Laura Auricchio will be working on the first draft of the manuscript for a book, under contract with Alfred A. Knopf, tentatively entitled Lafayette: The Making of an American Hero. This project examines the entwined roles of print culture and visual culture in shaping the American fame of the Marquis de Lafayette (1757-1834). Conversely, it examines how material culture in his native France alternately celebrated and vilified Lafayette during the French Revolution.

Along with two colleagues, one in the French department of The College of William and Mary and one in the English department at the University of California – Santa Barbara, Auricchio is also co-editing an interdisciplinary volume of 20 essays, Arboreal Values: Trees and Forests In Europe, North America, and the Caribbean, 1660-1830, which is expected to be published by the Voltaire Foundation, Oxford University, as part of their series Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century.

In addition, Auricchio is collaborating with the Chief Curator of the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC and colleagues in France to finalize the checklist of works to be included in a forthcoming exhibition, Royalists to Romantics: Women Artists from the Louvre, Versailles, and other French National Collections 1750 – 1850.

Greg Newton will continue to work on his dissertation, The Emergence of Monochrome Painting in 1950s in New York. He is currently completing the first chapter, “Purity and Danger”: The Monochrome as Threat, which explores Clement Greenberg’s identification of monochrome painting with the two threats that he had long seen as dangers to abstract painting in general: the categories of the arbitrary and the decorative. The chapter analyzes Greenberg’s complex negotiations with these threats in order to attempt to explain why he argued that some artists managed to successfully master the arbitrary, the decorative, or both threats at once, whereas he claimed that the monochromes or near-monochromes of Robert Rauschenberg and Ad Reinhardt failed precisely because of their “art-denying look” (contamination by the arbitrary) and “‘Good Design’” aesthetics (contamination by the decorative). This chapter’s title refers to Mary Douglas’s Purity and Danger: An Analysis of the Concepts of Pollution and Taboo, and he draws upon her anthropological analysis of rituals and beliefs concerned with hygiene and the sacred in his examination of Greenberg’s ambivalent attitudes towards modernist painting’s greatest threats.

Greg also plans on completing the second chapter of his dissertation, Rauschenberg’s “Gratuitously Destructive Act”: The Monochrome as Erasure, which will examine the conditions of production, exhibition, and reception of Rauschenberg’s white and black monochromes, which he painted between 1951 and 1953 and exhibited in New York in 1953. He expects to complete his dissertation by fall 2012.

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