Michael Lobel on Confederate memorials and the history of “degenerate art”


June 27, 2020

View of Frederick Wellington Ruckstull’s Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Baltimore covered in red paint, August 14, 2017. Photo: Jerry Jackson/Getty.

SOME HAVE BEEN INCLINED to view the recent removal of Civil War monuments as a turn away from the past. To many of us, however, it is a prompt not for less but rather for more history—which is to say more clear-eyed, more unflinching, more detailed historical inquiry—that would help us better understand the circumstances under which those markers were erected in the first place, often decades after the war’s end.

This is just one of many stories comprising that history, one that I think should be better known.




Constance DeJong: Digital Constellations

Constance DeJong: Digital Constellations

Online Exhibition
Bertha and Karl Leubsdorf Gallery

The Hunter College Art Galleries have initiated an online project in concert with our postponed spring 2020 exhibition Constance DeJong (now rescheduled for fall 2020). This project coincides with DeJong’s final semester teaching in Hunter’s MFA Studio Art program.


Time-based and multi-platform, DeJong’s work has circulated widely and with admiration in literary and performance circles since the late 1970s, influencing both her contemporaries and students. Constance DeJong: Digital Constellations brings together the voices of many artists and writers, mostly Hunter College Studio Art MFA alumni, who have worked closely with DeJong over the last two decades. New submissions will be posted each week.


Constance DeJong: Digital Constellations is organized by Sarah Watson, Jocelyn Spaar, and Liz Naiden, with Lazarus Graduate Fellow Matthew Weiderspon.

Gabriela Vainsencher, MFA 2016

Here It Comes, 2014

HD video with sound

41 seconds

Nelson Social Justice Lecture with Carrie Moyer and Sheila Pepe – Online Event, May 14, 4:30pm


Nelson Social Justice Lecture with Carrie Moyer and Sheila Pepe

Portland Museum of Art – Online Event

May 14, 4:30pm

Register Here
The Leonard and Merle Nelson Social Justice Fund at the Portland Museum of Art honors artists who inform their work with themes of social justice.
Tune in for this special free digital event as PMA Associate Curator of Contemporary Art Jaime DeSimone explores the feminist ideologies of the artists behind Tabernacles for Trying Times.

Night Shades and Phantoms: An Exhibition of Works by Robert Rauschenberg, Catalog Co-edited by Emily Braun

Night Shades and Phantoms: An Exhibition of Works by Robert Rauschenberg

Catalog published online by The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation
Co-edited by Emily Braun
The exhibition catalogue produced by the Hunter MA Program in Art History Curatorial Certificate and the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation is now available on the Rauschenberg Foundation website! As part of a curatorial practicum course led by Professor Braun, MA students Daniela Mayer, Chris Murtha, Lucy Riley, Joseph Shaikewitz, and Melissa Waldvogel organized the exhibition Night Shades and Phantoms: An Exhibition of Works by Robert Rauschenberg.The show was mounted in the Spring of 2019 at the Foundation’s headquarters and the accompanying digital catalogue can be viewed here: https://www.rauschenbergfoundation.org/sites/default/files/Rauschenberg_NightShadesandPhantoms.pdf


In addition, essays from the research methods section of this course were also published. These essays focus on individual artworks by Rauschenberg and were written by MA students Re’al Christian, Kristen Clevenson, Margaret Colbert, Vitoria Hadba, Kristin Howell, and Beatrice Johnson and MFA student Evan Bellatone.

View their essays here: https://www.rauschenbergfoundation.org/programs/collaborations/hunter-college-cuny-research-methods-fall-2018

Michael Lobel featured in Artforum

Michael Lobel featured in Artforum
Close Contact: Art and the 1918 Flu Pandemic

“There are virtually no monuments or memorials to those who died from influenza in 1918–19, in part because of the contemporaneity of the war, but also because the pandemic seems to have lacked any central organizing visual motifs. Unlike the Great War, the flu offered up no heroic doughboys or angels of victory, nor were there any persevering scientists who could provide a convenient face of the battle against the illness…. And it certainly lacked the kind of molecular renderings that are used to visualize viruses in our own day, specifically that now-ubiquitous spiky globe, like some kind of Koosh ball or knobby dog toy, that, in its scientistic imaging of disease, has become one of the primary visual emblems of Covid-19.”

Read the full article here

Image: Edvard Munch, Self-Portrait with the Spanish Flu, 1919, oil on canvas, 59 x 51 5/8”. National Gallery, Oslo.

Alexandro Segade’s Graphic Novel The Context published this month by Primary Information


Alexandro Segade’s Graphic Novel The Context published this month by Primary Information

The Context reimagines the superhero comic book as a queer parable of belonging. The story follows six powerful beings from different worlds who find themselves inexplicably adrift together in an otherwise lifeless void: Biopower, Cathexis, Barelife, Objector, Drives, and Form. The characters, each named for a concept drawn from critical theory, engage one another in skintight fight scenes that often look like sex scenes, and philosophical debates masked as exposition.

As a lifelong fan and a more recent critic of the superhero genre, artist and performer Alexandro Segade approached his first graphic novel as a solo performance, acting out all the roles: writer, penciller, inker, colorist and letterer. The Context considers the form of the graphic novel through conceptual, minimalist, op art, and constructivist aesthetics, while paying homage to the great cosmic comics of the 1970s and ’80s: Silver Surfer, Legion of Super Heroes, Green Lantern, Adam Warlock and X-Men (to name a few). A meditation on group dynamics, composed of foreshortened figures in flight set against an endless field of stars, The Context illustrates a vastness that extends past the boundaries of different art forms and ways of being.

MFA Thesis Student Profiles: Johanna Strobel


MFA Thesis Student Profiles: Johanna Strobel

Johanna Strobel is an interdisciplinary artist from Germany. She holds degrees in Information Science and Mathematics and graduated in painting and graphics from the Academy of Fine Arts Munich with Honors (Meisterschuelerin). Based on free flowing research, Johanna investigates objects and structures of our shared reality and culture, exploring unwieldy concepts like language, perception of time and space, the creation of meaning, the construction of subjectivity and objecthood, and the everyday perception and precipitation of these concepts in mundane life. She processes her ideas both logically and associatively and uses repetition and recursion to explore them working in a variety of media including video, installation, painting and sculpture.


Constance De Jong: A survey exhibition of the artist’s work – Postponed

Constance De Jong: A survey exhibition of the artist’s work

Leubsfdorf Gallery
132 East 68th Street
New York, NY


The Hunter College Art Galleries are pleased to present Constance De Jong, a survey exhibition marking the artist’s first solo show at an institutional gallery. For over four decades, De Jong—“a person of language”—has made daring, original forays into the intersections of the formal avant-garde in experimental prose writing, multi-media spoken text works, and user-navigated digital projects. Well known for her contributions to New York’s downtown performance art and avant-garde music scene in the 1970s and ’80s, De Jong is considered one of the progenitors of media art, or “time-based media.” This exhibition highlights De Jong’s hybrid mode of art making, featuring work from the past three decades and debuting several new works by the artist.

Curated by Sarah Watson and Jocelyn Spaar with Lazarus Graduate Curatorial Fellow Sigourney Schultz

Image info: Flame, 2019, Spoken text with sound material and video on 12-inch sensor-controlled digital frame, 3 minutes. Courtesy of Bureau, New York and the artist.

Carrie Moyer and Sheila Pepe: Tabernacles for Trying Times – Through June 7

Carrie Moyer and Sheila Pepe: Tabernacles for Trying Times

Portland Museum of Art
Portland, ME

Through June 7

The PMA is honored to present Carrie Moyer and Sheila Pepe: Tabernacles for Trying Times, an exhibition that reimagines a familiar form of religious furniture—the tabernacle—as a symbolic location for cultural values such as justice, equality, and knowledge. Throughout their decades-long careers, sculptor Sheila Pepe and painter Carrie Moyer have achieved international acclaim through abstract works that are rich with color and materiality, incorporating diverse themes of craft, feminism, and queer activism.

The Portland Museum of Art is closed indefinitely but Tabernacles for Trying Times is featured in a video walk through available on the PMA’s homepage.

Susan Crile in Art in America


Susan Crile featured in Art in America

“Susan Crile was among the Western artists who rushed to region to document the aftermath of the war firsthand. Her Field of Fire (1991) depicts oil wells in Kuwait that had been set on fire by retreating Iraqis. Crile saw the apocalyptic landscape in July 1991 on a visit facilitated by Bechtel, an American company hired to extinguish the fires.”

– “A MoMA PS1 Exhibition Examines The Living Legacy of The Gulf Wars” by Rahel Aima

Brian Wood featured in The 2020 Invitational Exhibition of Visual Art at The American Academy of Arts and Letters

Brian Wood featured in 
The 2020 Invitational Exhibition of Visual Art

American Academy of Arts and Letters
633 W. 155th Street
New York, NY

March  5 – April 5

Paintings, sculptures, video, photographs, and works on paper by 28 contemporary artists will be exhibited in the galleries of the American Academy of Arts and Letters on historic Audubon Terrace (Broadway between 155 and 156 Streets) from Thursday, March 5 through Sunday, April 5, 2020. Exhibiting artists were chosen from over 150 nominees submitted by the members of the Academy, America’s most prestigious honorary society of architects, artists, composers, and writers. The recipients of the Academy’s 2020 Art and Purchase Awards will be selected from this exhibition.

Constance DeJong and Andy Lampert with James Hoff of Primary Information in conversation on Tony Conrad Writings – February 27, 7pm


Constance DeJong and Andy Lampert with James Hoff of Primary Information in conversation on Tony Conrad Writings

McNally Jackson
52 Prince Street
New York, NY

February 27, 7pm

Writings is the first collection to widely survey this singular polymath’s prolific activity as a writer. A multidisciplinary artist known for his groundbreaking art, music, films, and videos, Tony Conrad eschewed categorization and actively sought to challenge the constraints of media forms, their modes of production, and the relationships of power embedded within them.

Edited by artists Constance DeJong and Andrew Lampert.