Bard College ART HISTORY PROGRAM

Posted in January, 2012

Student News

Seniors Spotted!

Bard Senior Art History majors, Monica Semczyk and Manu Del Peschio emulate Manet’s Bar At The Folies Bergère while interning during winter break at an opening at the Steven Harvey Gallery on the Lower East Side, NYC.

Alumni

Update from our Fulbright Scholar

Judy Baca, "Concepcion de Ataco"

Rachel Heidenry, ’11, received a Fulbright Fellowship to study murals in El Salvador.  She recently emailed an update: “I split my time between San Salvador, the westernized capital, and Suchitoto, a small town about two hours north. In San Salvador, I tend to hop on the bus with my camera concealed in my backpack and head to spots where I know murals are. Once there, I photograph the murals from every angle and ask whoever I can for information. Often I just come across sprayed or painted walls, mostly graffiti or tags, documenting them through photography without knowing too much about their origins. In Suchitoto, life is much more laid-back. Based at the Centro Arte para la Paz (http://capsuchitoto.org/en/), I taught two drawing classes twice a week from October-December. One group was of young women, incredibly patient and eager to learn. The other was a mix of 10-12 yr olds (mostly boys) who struggled to draw for 2 hours without also practicing wrestling moves. Either way, it was a lot of fun and we ended the year with a final exhibition of students’ self-portraits while feasting on chocolate-carmel donuts.

So far, I have photographed over 300 painted walls, including fine art murals, community murals, graffiti, tags, advertisements, and political propaganda. I’ve conducted 3 formal interviews with established Salvadoran muralists, helping one get a commission to paint in Suchitoto. Informally, I have had countless conversations with Salvadorans about art and memory, finding support in my research and ideas. I also had the opportunity to design and paint a mural with a group of youth in Copapayo for the anniversary of the town’s massacre. This is just a little update to share with you all. I’m leaving out the countless pupusas, latin dance classes, and sponge-bob piñatas, but it is still a taste of my daily life and research. Also, please look at my photography blog (rheidenry.wordpress.com)

Alumni

Alum’s Outsider Art Project

Clare Conniff’s Post-Grad ’11 Project

My whole life I have watched my grandfather, Jim Conniff, create weird and

Jim Conniff

wacky, but beautiful, art. When I was young I just thought of it as something he did for fun. I never realized how truly wrong I was until my last semester at Bard, when I took a course entitled “Outsider Art” with Susan Aberth. In the class Susan taught us about artists, usually termed outsider, folk, naïve, or visionary, that were removed from the accepted art world. The separation could be compulsory, as for artists in mental asylums or prisons, or it could be self-imposed. I spent most classes thinking about how much everything Susan was teaching us seemed applicable to my grandfather, who is now 91 years old, and his art. After graduation, I began to look more closely at my grandfather’s work. After he finished a piece, he would place it somewhere in his home, and for the most part, they remained wherever he put them, gathering dust, and, in some cases, breaking, until I started poking around. I took some pictures, asked him some questions, and eventually decided that I needed to do something about the rapid and ongoing decay of the art that had been sitting around his house for decades.

In order to raise money to preserve Jim’s art, I have started a fundraising campaign on a website called Kickstarter, a platform for funding creative projects through many small donations from varied sources. I am trying to raise funds in order to preserve Jim’s art. With the donations I receive, I will repair and clean the pieces, catalogue them, create a book, and interview Jim on camera. You can view my Kickstarter campaign at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1050509672/the-accidental-artist and read more about the project at theaccidentalartist.tumblr.com. The Kickstarter closes on January 22, and if I haven’t reached my goal of $5000, I will not receive any of the donations. Please check out my project and consider supporting it in whatever way you are able. Whether that means donating $10, $100, or just simply passing on the link to someone you think might be interested, thank you. I truly appreciate any help you can give me.

Faculty News

Wolf to Lecture

Prof. Tom Wolf will give a talk entitled “Isami Doi and Asian American Artists in New York Between the World Wars” at the Arts and Humanities Conference sponsored by the University of Hawaii, Monday, January 10, 2011.