The Art History Newsletter

Jon Lackman received his PhD from the Institute of Fine Arts at NYU in 2011. His dissertation was "Invective in Mid-1800s French Art Criticism." His paper, "The Guerrilla Clock-Fixers of UX," was presented at the 2010 College Art Association meeting in Chicago. He has written for Slate, Harper's, and The New Yorker.

Lackman's Posts:

Obit: Justine Price, 42

1 June 2012 | Contemporary, Modern

From Despina Stratigakos at the University at Buffalo: Justine Price, associate professor of art history at Canisius College, died unexpectedly of natural causes on October 24, 2011 in Buffalo, New York. She recently had been tenured and named director of the college’s art history program. Price’s knowledge and love of art were limitless, and her [...]


When Art Grows Genitals

10 May 2012 | Uncategorized

So much to write, so little time. Tempted as I am to relate the story of the 13-year-old who corrected a Metropolitan Museum map, I want to talk today about the new Slate podcast Lexicon Valley, which took an unexpected, fascinating dip into art history last week with its 8th episode, “When Nouns Grew Genitals.” [...]


Terror, Connoisseurship and Theory at CAA2013

4 April 2012 | CAA2013, Conferences, Contemporary, Theory

CAA has announced the sessions for the 2013 conference. The three I’m most looking forward to: Art and “The War on Terror”: Ten Years On August Jordan Davis, Winchester School of Art, March 2013 marks the tenth anniversary of the US-led invasion of Iraq. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (collectively identified by the [...]


CAA Wednesday, in Tweets

23 February 2012 | CAA2012, Conferences

“At the Where The Bodies Lie session… really really really excited about Patricia Cronin’s talk … I think, for some, it’s a bit early to be talking about putrefying bodies.” “Psychotropic drugs and yayoi kusama. Great transnational fluxus panel.” ” ‘Aztec rulers were cool and hot’ – Emily Umberger” “Seriously, Kincaid its only secondary to [...]


CAA 2012 Begins

22 February 2012 | CAA2012, Conferences

The College Art Association conference kicks off today in L.A. I expect record tweeting this year, considering the number of people who’ve already reported boarding a flight to #CAA2012. On Hyperallergic, Jeffrey Songco shares his “10 must-see sessions.” Meanwhile, if you lost a yellow floral (eyeglasses?) case at CAA last year, you’re in luck: PSU [...]


RIP: David Craven, 60

15 February 2012 | Americas

The New Mexico Daily Lobo reports the death of David Craven, author of Art and Revolution in Latin America, 1910-1990: [Craven] died Saturday from an apparent heart attack while playing tennis, his family said. Craven became a professor at UNM in 1993 and was the fine arts department chair for two years. He published 10 [...]


RIP: Dorothea Tanning, 101

11 February 2012 | Modern

I belatedly note the sad passing of Dorothea Tanning, 101. There’s little I can add at this point to all that’s been said, though I knew her briefly, when in 2004 I fact-checked Jane Kramer’s New Yorker profile of the artist. Tanning’s aversion to phones and email necessitated that I twice trek to her apartment [...]


RIP: John House, 66

9 February 2012 | Modern, News

The Courtauld Institute has announced the sudden and entirely unexpected death yesterday, at the age of 66, of John House, Emeritus Professor of the Institute. One of the pre-eminent scholars of nineteenth-century French art of his generation, John served The Courtauld with great distinction from his appointment in 1980 up until his retirement as the [...]


Religious Modernism

7 February 2012 | Awards, Books, Renaissance

Alexander Nagel’s award-winning The Controversy of Renaissance Art focuses on Italy. In his words, This book offers an alternative to the view that Renaissance art struggled to break away from the confines and superstitions of medieval religion, but at the same time it ranges itself against the more recent tendency to let the art fall [...]


CAA Award Winners Announced

31 January 2012 | Awards, Books

CAA announced the winners of its Barr and Morey awards, among others. Winning the Morey award for best book is Alexander Nagel’s The Controversy of Renaissance Art, “a compelling reexamination of the key paradoxes that define this era and the works associated with it.” The Barr award for best catalogue goes to Man, Myth, and [...]


‘the politics in pictures’

25 January 2012 | Awards, Books, Renaissance

One of four books nominated for CAA’s Morey Award, Michael W. Cole’s Ambitious Form: Giambologna, Ammanati, and Danti in Florence is a group portrait of three late Cinquecento sculptors. They are most often compared to their forerunner Michelangelo, but were just as influenced by each other, Cole writes: Early writers make it clear that sculptors [...]


The Degas Debacle

21 January 2012 | Awards, Modern

The National Gallery’s Edgar Degas Sculpture may look like your average permanent-collection catalogue, of the kind that well-funded museums are perpetually issuing and re-issuing for the sake of scholarship (and self-promotion). However, details of provenance and material history are truly fascinating when it comes to Edgar Degas. He was unusual in his materials and in [...]


‘Jan Gossart’s Renaissance’

18 January 2012 | Awards, Renaissance

Next up in our CAA Barr Award coverage, a consideration of Man, Myth, and Sensual Pleasures: Jan Gossart’s Renaissance: It delivers 484 pages of catalogue-raisonné detail, scholarship-packed analysis, and long-overdue re-evaluation of this neglected artist. It also overstates its case. Nearly every essay protests Gossart’s low reputation and minimizes his failings. “One of the most [...]


‘the Problem of Art History’s Black and Indian Subject’

11 January 2012 | Americas, Books

Also in, Katherine Manthorne considers ($) Kirsten Pai Buick’s Child of the Fire: Mary Edmonia Lewis and the Problem of Art History’s Black and Indian Subject: [This book is Buick's] anticipated full-length examination of this sculptor’s career. It is a thoughtful, groundbreaking study that should be a must-read for anyone interested in art of [...]


As The Romans Did

11 January 2012 | Ancient, Books offers a welcome if belated review ($) of Peter Stewart’s 2008 book The Social History of Roman Art. Brenda Longfellow writes: In an innovative twist, Peter Stewart embeds a summary of social-historical scholarship into his book on the functions and reception of Roman art … Each chapter focuses on a theme that has received [...]


2012 Catalogues of the Year

9 January 2012 | Awards, Books, Medieval

It’s awards season again. CAA’s Alfred H. Barr Jr. and Charles Rufus Morey prizes may not be as ballyhooed as the Oscars but they are coveted by members of the American art history academy. This week I begin examining the finalists for this year’s Barr Award, which is awarded to museum catalogues published between September [...]


Art Historian, Globalize Thyself

14 December 2011 | Theory

An art magazine recently commissioned me to report an article on “global art history,” i.e. Western art historians trying to get the discipline to look outside the West more often. In the end, the magazine and I couldn’t get the article into a form we were both happy with — an indication perhaps of how [...]


Tinterow and Bourriaud Move On

8 December 2011 | Museums

A variety of pluripotentates (not a word, but should be) have changed jobs recently. Among them: Gary Tinterow is the new director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, which has the third largest art-museum endowment in the U.S. The Houston Chronicle welcomed the appointment: Known as a scholar, Tinterow also has a flair for [...]


Rick Perry and Interdisciplinarity

30 November 2011 | Uncategorized

Victoria Coates, who earned an art-history PhD at UPenn and has worked at the Cleveland Museum, is Rick Perry’s chief foreign-policy advisor. I struggle to think of an art historian playing this prominent role in politics since Anthony Blunt. Anyone? The Noguchi catalogue raisonné begins. Art historian Semavi Eyice was one of four to receive [...]


From the Bahamas to Japan

29 November 2011 | Journals

Several art magazines and journals have sprouted up online over the last few months. Caribbean Art World (CAW) Magazine founded by artist Marcel Wah includes an interview (click “Articles”) with Erica James, founding director of The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas, who was recently