Newsletter Issue:
Spring 2017

Director’s Message Spring 2017

It’s the end of the spring semester at IDSVA, and as we prepare for the summer, we are taking the opportunity to look back at these last few months and sum up the many exciting things we’ve experienced together.

Our annual winter residency took place in the second week of January in New York City. The residency provides IDSVA first- and second-year students the opportunity to present their fall semester papers in conference-style seminars, to visit world-renowned museums and art galleries, and of course, to socialize with one another and the IDSVA faculty. Among the highlights of the week: a tour of Agnes Martin’s exhibition at the Guggenheim museum lead by former senior editor of Art in America Nancy Princenthal, author of an acclaimed biography on the artist; a visit to the Mierle Ukeles’ retrospective at the Queens Museum; guided tours of the New Museum’s Pipilotti Rist exhibition, and of the Donald Judd Foundation in downtown Manhattan; the Kerry James Marshall exhibition at the Met Breuer; and visits to MoMA, the Metropolitan Museum, the Museum of Art and Design, the Whitney Museum, the High Line, and Chelsea galleries.

IDSVA Students outside the Queens Museum, New York, January 2017. Photo by Simonetta Moro
IDSVA Students outside the Queens Museum, New York, January 2017. Photo by Simonetta Moro

The residency came to a close on January 14 with our annual commencement at the Morgan Library and Museum auditorium. Our five graduates were joined by three honorary degree recipients, including artist and educator Hank Willis Thomas, who gave a riveting commencement speech on the emancipatory power of art. The Ted Coons Dissertation Prize went to Kathe Albrecht for her dissertation on the aesthetics of Steampunk. I encourage you to read the individual articles about some of these events written by our students in this Newsletter.

In the online seminars, famed Italian cultural theorist Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi co-taught Toward and Ethico-Aesthetics course with Professor George Smith, founder and President of the School; renowned philosopher Howard Caygill taught A Quick History of Philosophy; Professor Chris Yates, distinguished member of our core faculty, taught The Subject and Object of Art and Contemporary Readings; and two visiting faculty, Dr. Drew Dalton and Dr. Janae Scholtz gave lectures on Emmanuel Levinas and Brian Massumi, respectively.

The College Art Association in New York saw four of our students either presenting papers or chairing sessions this year, while the 12th Annual Meeting of the Comparative & Continental Philosophy Circle had three IDSVA students presenting papers. You can see more of what students and faculty have been up to in the Professional News section of this Newsletter.

Finally, the wheels are already turning for an action-packed series of summer residencies. We are eagerly anticipating the participation of the following faculty in the Topological Studies curriculum:

In Rome, students will visit the ancient Roman Forum and the Vatican Museum, and visit the studio of renowned artist Isabella Ducrot; At Spannocchia Castle, first-year students will take Topological Studies I seminar with George Smith, while Chris Yates and I will co-teach the Art in Theory seminar; Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi will lecture on European art and politics in relation to the concept of the Baroque, while Italian artist Franca Marini will lecture on her artwork inspired by medieval Sienese painting. In Berlin, Howard Caygill will give a seminar on the aesthetics of Kant, Hegel, and Heidegger to second-year students. First- and second-year students will all meet in Venice for a tour of the Venice Biennale, and from there, second-year students will move on to Athens, where philosophers Elina Staikou and Giovanni Tusa will contribute to the Athens Symposium around themes related to Documenta 14.

Franco "Bifo" Berardi & IDSVA Students, Spannocchia 2016. Photo by Simonetta Moro

Finally, at Colby College (Maine), third-year students will present their second Independent Studies and take a pre-dissertation seminar with Professors Yates and Moro. Famed artist-philosopher, curator, and art historian David Driskell, of the David Driskell Center for the Study of the Visual Arts and Culture and the African Diaspora, will lecture on how to look at a work of art.

Be sure to check the Fall issue of our Newsletter to learn how the summer went!

Simonetta Moro

Cover photo by Pirjo Pulkkinen

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