Distinguished Harris Lecture

The annual humanities-wide lecture brings renowned scholars to Northwestern University.

2014-2015 Distinguished Harris Lecture

David Joselit

Distinguished Professor, Art History, The Graduate Center, City University of New York

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

4:30 PM

Guild Lounge, Scott Hall

601 University Place, Evanston, IL

Heritage and Debt

Debt is a financial and a moral force in global relations, which has its analogue in the visual—it arises when the migration of western art practices outside metropolitan centers is condemned as derivative, or indebted to their inventors.  One means of “paying” this debt is by accessing and reinvigorating local traditions—or heritage. Hence, heritage and contemporaneity are far from opposing terms, but rather qualities that must be reconciled within individual works of art in order for them to circulate as global. 

David JoselitDavid Joselit’s art-historical work has approached the history and theory of image circulation in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries from a variety of perspectives, spanning Marcel Duchamp’s strategy of the readymade, in which commodities are reframed as artworks, to the mid-twentieth ecology of television, video art, and media activism, and the current conditions of contemporary art under dual pressures of globalization and digitization.

Working as a curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, during the 1980s, Joselit co-organized several exhibitions that helped to define the art of that decade, including Endgame: Reference and Simulation in Recent Painting and Sculpture (1986). He taught in the Department of Art History and Ph.D. Program in Visual Studies at University of California–Irvine from 1995 to 2003, and at Yale University from 2003 to 2013, where he served as Department Chair from 2006 to 2009.

Joselit’s art criticism has spanned all visual media and recently has engaged extensively with contemporary painting. He is author of Infinite Regress: Marcel Duchamp 1910–1941 (MIT Press, 1998), American Art Since 1945 (Thames and Hudson, World of Art Series, 2003), Feedback: Television Against Democracy (MIT Press, 2007), and After Art (Princeton University Press, 2012), and he is a contributing author to the second edition of Art Since 1900 (Thames and Hudson, 2011). He is an editor of the journal OCTOBER and a frequent contributor to Artforum. - See more at: http://www.gc.cuny.edu/Page-Elements/Academics-Research-Centers-Initiatives/Doctoral-Programs/Art-History/Faculty-Bios/David-Joselit#sthash.263ILiSe.dpuf

The Distinguished Harris Lecture, free and open to the public, is made possible by the generous support of the Harris Lecture Fund.