This past summer, Mary McInnes taught two back-to-back summer courses: Contemporary Projects in Art and SILICA: Contemporary Glass and Ceramic Art.
Contemporary Projects in Art is a global survey of recent art practices. For three weeks in May, students investigated critical issues in the contemporary art, rooting these projects in the shifting terrain of the 1960s and 70s when postmodernism and postcolonialism emerged. Lectured centered on a number of exhibitions and catalogs from museums and various art spaces that deal with aspects of avant-garde practice today, including the emergence of the international biennial. As part of this course, we had a special artist talk by Chase Angier, who spoke on dance and performance art within the museum. This was tied to a broader conversation on the artist’s body.
We also took a day-long field trip to the Johnson Museum at Cornell University. There, guest curator Brian Arnold gave a riveting talk on Indonesian art today. His exhibition, IDENTITY CRISIS: REFLECTIONS ON PUBLIC AND PRIVATE LIFE IN CONTEMPORARY JAPANESE PHOTOGRAPHY was the first in the United States to focus on the recent emergence of photography as an art form in Java. Brian Arnold, a photographer, spent years of research in Java to choose ten artists whose work speaks to the issue of identity.
The SILICA course is a material traverse of recent glass and ceramic practices. Students viewed contemporary issues through a series of critical, curatorial, and historical lenses. The course is a mixture of lectures, field trips, discussions, presentations, and studio visits. Of special interest was a series of Thursday afternoon artist talks at the Alfred Ceramic Art Museum. There, Hannah Thompsett, Chase Folsom, and Wayne Higby discussed their studio work and related curatorial practices. We did a number of road trips to visit local studios of sculptors Anne Currier and Walter McConnell. We also visited the pottery of Matthew Metz, who gave an inspiring talk and tour of his facility.