March 5, 2014

8th Annual Shenkman Lecture in Contemporary Art

University of Guelph
Design by Julia Hall, 2012. Courtesy of University of Guelph MFA Graduate Program. Copyright 2012.

Roberta Smith will discuss how she became an art critic, the responsibilities of art criticism as she sees them and the workaday nature of newspaper criticism. She will explore the ways that the job and her view of it have changed over time and how both have been affected by academia, by social media and by the globalized big-spending art world/market.

Roberta Smith was born in New York City in 1947 and raised in Lawrence, Kansas. She graduated from Grinnell College, Iowa in 1969. She has written art criticism for the New York Times since October 1986. She wrote for the Village Voice from 1981 to 1985 and in the 1970s, wrote for Artforum, Art in America and Arts Magazine. She worked on the Donald Judd catalog raisonné and has contributed essays to museum catalogs on various artists, including Judd, Alex Katz, Elizabeth Murray and Cy Twombly. Smith has lectured widely and taught at the School of Visual Arts, New York and the Rhode Island School of Design. She received art criticism grants from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1975 and 1980. In 2003, she received the Frank Jewett Mather Award for Art Criticism from the College Art Association.

The annual Shenkman Lecture was established in 2007 and is made possible through the support of Dasha Shenkman, a Canadian art collector who lives in the United Kingdom.

Please also plan to join us for the MFA Open Studios before and after the lecture:

3–5pm and 7:30–9:30pm
Blackwood Hall, Firehall, Alexander Hall, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario

The MFA students in the School of Fine Art and Music at the University of Guelph are pleased to welcome the public to their annual Open Studios, offering a rare inside look at the development of new work within the hothouse environment of an art program and a chance to chat with artists about their work in progress.

Open Studios 2014 features work by graduate candidates:
Jen Aitken, Maryanne Casasanta, Stephanie Cormier, Rachel Crummey, Brandan Doty, Laura Findlay, Maegan Harbridge, Denise Higginson, MinWoo Lee, Maegan Mehler, Janine Miedzik, Jasmine Reimer, Matt Schust

Press contact
Sandra Sabatini, Ph.D.: [email protected] / T +519 824 4120 x53869
Denise Higginson, Graduate Open Studios Student Coordinator: [email protected]
Sandra Rechico, Faculty Coordinator: [email protected] / T +519 824 4120 x52324

A free bus will leave Mercer Union (1286 Bloor Street West) in Toronto at 2:30pm and leave Guelph to return to Toronto at 8:30pm. Email [email protected] to reserve a spot.

A free shuttle service between Open Studio buildings is available between 3 and 5pm and again between 7:30 and 9:30pm. Volunteers will provide directions and guided tours.

For more information on both events, visit

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