This fall, professors Tenley Bick and Lorenzo Pericolo traveled with nine graduate students to Washington, DC, for the first FSU Art History Study Trip. Four doctoral students and five MA students with research interests in modern and contemporary art history and museum and cultural heritage studies were able to study major canonical and anti-canonical works of art in person and meet with museum scholars and artists.
The trip began with a visit to the exhibition The Double: Identity and Difference in Art Since 1900, curated by Dr. James Meyer at the National Gallery of Art. The group met with the curator for a tour and in-depth discussion of the exhibition and attended a conversation between the curator and artist Mel Bochner. Bochner, one of the most prominent living artists from the 1960s, shared oral histories, insights into his early works on display, and broader art historical perspectives on the exhibition.
Other highlights included the opportunity for students to attend exhibitions by celebrated contemporary artists Preston Singletary (Tlingit) and Iké Udé, at the National Museum of the American Indian and National Museum of African Art, respectively. We look forward to providing more such opportunities for graduate students to broaden their experience as scholars and professionals in the arts. Below, some photos and reflections from students who were able to participate.
For me this trip was immensely valuable. It was the first opportunity I’ve had to spend time with faculty and doctoral students outside of class. Every conversation I had helped me feel more comfortable in this program and more confident looking toward the next two years. To get the chance to talk to a Curator at the National Gallery of Art was just as enriching. To hear about the process of creating such a large exhibition (both logistically and conceptually) was like opening the curtain on the world of museums and professional research.
– Hudson Kauffman, first-year MA
I wish this was an opportunity every art history student had, to experience art in person with their peers and mentors. It was a treat meeting Mel Bochner and hearing about his experiences in the 1960s and 70s, particularly his artistic process and how he was thinking through issues of conceptual art in its infancy. James Meyer has also been crucial in defining scholarship about postwar art, which is my field of study. It was nice to hear Dr. Meyer discuss the time it took to develop his theories on notions of the double and also admit the serendipitous aspects of his scholarship. It is helpful to recognize that our scholarship is a journey and develops over time.
– Cindy Evans, doctoral candidate
In addition to the valuable experiences of visiting an exhibit with the curator as a personal guide and sitting in on a talk between curator and artist, I really enjoyed having the opportunity to bond with my peers. Because this is my first year in the MCHS program and I have moved far from the people I know and love, I was really worried about having the opportunity to build a sense of community. However, since I have started the program, I feel like I have a supportive and welcoming community, and I have had many opportunities to strengthen relationships. In particular, this trip has been one of those opportunities to connect with and learn from my peers and professors outside of my classes.
– Francesca Kern, first-year MA
The highlights for me were seeing the Andy Warhol works, the Preston Singletary exhibition, and the performance of Josiah McElheny’s Two Walking Mirrors right next to Robert Morris’ Two columns. As an emerging professional, our conversation with curator James Meyer provided valuable information on career paths in academia and the museum. He discussed the development of art exhibitions including the time it takes, how the art was chosen, how it was installed, and how to attract people to the show. I learned about the importance of forming and maintaining friendships/relationships with artists and fellow academics.
– Haylee Glasel, doctoral student
Honestly, the entire trip was one big highlight. I had an amazing time just looking at art and discussing it with my colleagues.
– Estefanía Vallejo Santiago, doctoral student