I have been working on the catalog essay for the upcoming Faculty Exhibition at the Chazen Museum, which opens in January 2016. It is an exhibition that happens every four years and gives the public an opportunity to see the extraordinary work of the UW Art faculty. As I wrote the essay, I was thinking about the nexus between teaching and “research” as we undertake them here in the Art Department. For us, research is in fact, our creative practice; it is what we do in the world that also gives us the authority or gravitas by which to also teach at an institution such as UW where deeply engaged and rigorous research is held in the highest esteem.
I was in New York over the weekend and suddenly realized that three of our faculty had concurrent exhibitions at major spaces; this is not insignificant. Mathew Bakkom’s work was on view at The Lipani Gallery, Hellen Lee was showing at Urban Glass and an exhibition of the work of Lynda Barry at Adam Baumgold. My colleague Tom Loeser was in NY looking at Art and I was there doing a program review at Tisch/NYU School of the Arts. (In September, Fred Stonehouse was showing at the Howard Scott Gallery as well).
Our faculty is out in the world in ways that may not seem evident to our students, however, this is but one of the observations I have since becoming chair that reinforces what I already knew; the faculty here in the art department are engaged with the most current discourses in the art world and are also key players in shaping those discourses. This is directly related to teaching; we teach what we actually do; we teach what we embody and what we know. And we teach because we choose to teach, in order to pass on such knowledge, to mentor and to shape our immensely creative students. It is a lovely circle really, one in which we create opportunities for the next generations of artists that are made possible by our own relationship to the larger art world. Such relationships create synergies for our students that are only possible in such an environment where faculty is engaged the way that my colleagues in the art department are and continue to be.
In summer 2016, Professor Nancy Mladdenoff will lead a group of students to New York as she has in the past, to give them a deeper understanding of the art world that is found in museums, galleries and elsewhere; a trip that she can lead with authority as Nancy also exhibits in New York as do many of our faculty. Perhaps you will join her on that trip to further develop your own art world engagement. It will be a great experience.
We are in the process of planning a number of new summer offerings as well, which we are very excited about. I will mention more about that soon.
For more info on how to sign up for New York, call us, 608-262-1660.
Chair, Art Department