A pragmatism helped lay out the ground plan for art and art history in the 1930s as art schools, museums and university departments found their modern form in the United States. Now, almost a century later, faced with demands for re-structuring the programs for art, we do well to look again at those beginnings. Call them a toolkit for the twenty-first century too.
Molly Nesbit is Chair and Professor in the Department of Art at Vassar College as well as a contributing editor of Artforum. Her books include Atget’s Seven Albums (Yale University Press, 1992) and Their Common Sense (Black Dog, 2000). The Pragmatism in the History of Art, the first volume in a collection of her essays, has just been published by Periscope Press. Since 2002, together with Hans Ulrich Obrist and Rirkrit Tiravanija, she has tri-curated Utopia Station, an ongoing book, exhibition, seminar, website and street project.
This talk is given as part of the lecture series The Visitor Talks : Pre-ambulation and Retrospection.