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Date & Time

Monday, September 20, 2021
6:30 PM






Seminary Co-op Bookstore
(773) 752-4381


Join us for a conversation with Christa Noel Robbins on her book, "Artist as Author: Action and Intent in Late-Modernist American Painting". She will be joined in discussion by Kris Cohen.
Presented in partnership with the University of Chicago Press
Virtual Event
About the book: With "Artist as Author", Christa Noel Robbins provides the first extended study of authorship in mid-20th century abstract painting in the US. Taking a close look at this influential period of art history, Robbins describes how artists and critics used the medium of painting to advance their own claims about the role that they believed authorship should play in dictating the value, significance, and social impact of the art object. Robbins tracks the subject across two definitive periods: the "New York School" as it was consolidated in the 1950s and "Post Painterly Abstraction" in the 1960s. Through many deep dives into key artist archives, Robbins brings to the page the minds and voices of painters Arshile Gorky, Jack Tworkov, Helen Frankenthaler, Kenneth Noland, Sam Gilliam, and Agnes Martin along with those of critics such as Harold Rosenberg and Rosalind Krauss. While these are all important characters in the polemical histories of American modernism, this is the first time they are placed together in a single study and treated with equal measure, as peers participating in the shared late modernist moment.
About the author: Christa Noel Robbins is associate professor of art history at the University of Virginia. Her essays and reviews have been published in a variety of outlets, including Art in America, Oxford Art Journal, Art History, and the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, and she was the advisory editor of North American modernism for the Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism.
About the interlocutor: Kris Cohen is associate professor of art and humanities at Reed College. He works on the relationship between art, economy, and media technology, focusing especially on the aesthetics of collective life. His first book, Never Alone, Except for Now, addresses these concerns in the context of electronic networks. His current research explores the way that black artists, working in the wake of the Black Arts Movement, experimented with a set of emerging computational technologies.