Viva Skype! Guest Speakers in HIDA’s Writing Art & Design Criticism Seminar


With four more weeks of the course still ahead of us, the Writing Art & Design Criticism seminar students have already had a chance to welcome several well-regarded art critics and art writers, including Lee Ambrozy, the editor-at-large for and the editor and translator of Ai Weiwei’s Blog: Writings, Interviews and Digital Rants 2006–2009 (MIT Press, 2011 She is also one of the experts featured in the recent award-winning documentary Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry.


Lee’s visit was followed by that of another Artforum colleague—Michael Ned Holte—a writer and independent curator based in Los Angeles. He is the author of Proper Names(Golden Spike Press). His texts have appeared in numerous publications including Live Art in LA: Performance in Southern California, 1970-1983 (Routledge), In the Shadow of Numbers: Charles Gaines Selected Works from 1975-2012 (Pomona College Museum of Art/Pitzer Art Galleries), Richard Hawkins—Third Mind (Art Institute of Chicago/Yale), and Roy McMakin: When is a Chair Not a Chair (Skira/Rizzoli), as well as print and online periodicals such as AfterallArtforum InternationalArt Journal, and East of Borneo. Holte has organized numerous exhibitions including “Temporary Landmarks & Moving Situations” at Expo Chicago; “Support Group” at Thomas Solomon at Cottage Home, Los Angeles; “Laying Bricks” at Wallspace Gallery, New York, and “Celine and Julie Go Boating” at Anna Helwing Gallery, Los Angeles. Along with Connie Butler, he is co-curator of the 2014 edition of “Made in L.A.” at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles.


This past Wednesday, the students had a chance to engage with two guests: one from New York, another from Los Angeles. Mat Gleason is well known in the Los Angeles art scene for his fearless art criticism, and the Coagula Art Journal he has been publishing for over two decades. Mat is also a fellow blogger at the Huffington Post, where his profile describes Gleason as a “famously provocative local art critic,” a “maverick,” and “insufferably cynical.”


James Panero, based in New York, is  is an American cultural critic and the executive editor of The New Criterion. In 1999 he worked in Gstaad, Switzerland as a writing assistant to William F. Buckley Jr on his novel Spytime: The Undoing of James Jesus Angleton (Harcourt, 2000). Before joining The New Criterion in 2001, he was a graduate student in the History of Art and Architecture department at Brown University, where his area of focus was late-nineteenth-century French modernism. James and I shared an advisor, Professor Kermit S. Champa whose untimely passing in 2004 was a loss for all his students. James wrote an obituary article for The New Criterion.


James led an engaging and thought provoking discussion of his recent editorial article “Future Tense VII: What’s a Museum?.”

Our next scheduled seminar guest is Barry Schwabsky, the art critic of The Nation.


Schwabsky has been writing about art for the Nation since 2005, and his essays have appeared in many other publications, including Flash Art (Milan), Artforum—as an international co-editor he has worked with every one of my own reviews dispatched from Tokyo, the London Review of Books and Art in America. His books include The Widening Circle: Con­sequences of Modernism in Contemporary ArtVitamin P: New Perspectives in Painting and several volumes of poetry, the most recent being Book Left Open in the Rain (Black Square Editions/The Brooklyn Rail). Schwabsky has contributed to books and catalogs on artists such as Henri Matisse, Alighiero Boetti, Jessica Stockholder and Gillian Wearing, and has taught at the School of Visual Arts, Pratt Institute, New York University, Goldsmiths College (University of London) and Yale University. We have been reading chapters from his most recent book Words for Art (Sternberg Press, 2013) throughout the semester, and it will certainly be a treat to welcome him at ASU, albeit virtually. Viva Skype!

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