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New School Watch reports on the College Art Association Annual Conference and the Kochi-Muziris Students' Biennale
Art & Education
Above: (1) Artist Joyce J. Scott delivers the keynote address at CAA 2019 in New York. Image by Ben Fractenberg. (2) Siddharth Shil, Belonged to…, 2018. Installation view, Kochi-Muziris Students’ Biennale. (3) Kunjikuttan, Sarath Kumar, Shyamaprasad, and Smija Vijayan, Muddy Mapping Memories, 2018. Installation view, Kochi-Muziris Students’ Biennale.
Above: (1) Artist Joyce J. Scott delivers the keynote address at CAA 2019 in New York. Image by Ben Fractenberg. (2) Siddharth Shil, Belonged to…, 2018. Installation view, Kochi-Muziris Students’ Biennale. (3) Kunjikuttan, Sarath Kumar, Shyamaprasad, and Smija Vijayan, Muddy Mapping Memories, 2018. Installation view, Kochi-Muziris Students’ Biennale.

Art & Education presents new School Watch reports by Rahel Aima on the 107th College Art Association Annual Conference and Premjish Achari on the Kochi-Muziris Students’ Biennale.

Quiet Forms of Revolution: 107th College Art Association Annual Conference
By Rahel Aima
“Charting a course through the sprawling conference schedule, I sought out sessions dealing with the Middle East, a region whose contemporary and modern artists I am most intimately familiar with. Unfortunately, a promising-sounding panel on regional petrocultures, which meandered through Iran, Qatar, and Iraq, on the first day illustrated the disconnect between research and action, though a Qatar-based account of the blockade by its Gulf neighbors was intriguing. A roundtable on the conference’s last day called ‘Ethical Dilemmas: Middle Eastern Art in Today’s Political Context’ was a more engaging encounter. The Khashoggi scandal loomed large over the discussion, which ranged from how the ‘good Muslim–bad Muslim binary’ underwrote the Museum of Modern Art’s 2017 response to Trump’s Muslim Ban—perhaps a test-drive for the museum’s more extensive rehang this summer—and whether art audiences simply ask museums to do too much. Yet in writing this, I think of journalist Aaron Cantù’s recent revelation that Whitney Museum board member and Vice Chair Warren B. Kanders’s company manufactures the tear gas being used at the US–Mexico border, and artist Michael Rakowitz’s principled stand in pulling out of this year’s Biennial in response. If any of the good intentions discussed at CAA are to move beyond the conference room and the level of performative gesture, are we not asking enough?” [read more]

Aesthetic Education: Exhibition Practice and the Kochi-Muziris Students’ Biennale
By Premjish Achari
“In the last two decades, the proliferation of scholarship on crises in and of postcolonial art history has destabilized the Western art history canon by addressing the origins, contexts, approaches, and historical frameworks of art in different parts of the world. Though these seminal contributions from scholars such as Griselda Pollock, Geeta Kapur, Nicholas Mirzoeff, Donald Preziosi, and Hal Foster, to name only some, have been influential in encouraging a radical departure from how art has been exhibited and written about, a blind spot remains: how art is taught in colleges and universities of the postcolonial world. Art education in countries without a robust cultural infrastructure is often constrained by the negligence and incompetence of public art institutions, especially in the arts administration sector, and the noticeable absence of exhibition histories in art curricula. Addressing these concerns locally is of utmost importance to reassessing many of the foundational notions or assumptions of what art education can be and do. At the same time, paradigm shifts in the way cultural production is performed and experienced and the rigorous demands for professionalization in a globalized digital culture lends these concerns a certain urgency. How can art education in an environment like India move forward without leaving some community members behind and replicating structural inequalities? Is there an inclusive pedagogical system capable of adapting to these cultural shifts and reflecting upon the issues they entail?” [read more]

School Watch presents distilled perspectives on degree programs in the arts, with interviews, critical texts and editorial exposés on MFAs, Masters, Doctorates and certificate programs in fine arts, art history, curatorial, cultural and film studies, and other related areas of specialty.

April 9, 2019