Art Historians of Southern California 2013 Annual Symposium
October 19, 2013
11:30 am-4:30 pm
Hosted by the Fowler Museum at UCLA
A Panel Discussion followed by a tour of the collection
The Art Academy: The Museum, Art History and the Art Association Roundtable Discussion
with Donald Preziosi, UCLA Professor Art History, Emeritus, Claire Farago, Professor Art History, University of Colorado, Selma Holo, Professor Art History and Director of Fisher Gallery, University of Southern California, Lothar Von Falkenhausen, UCLA Professor of Art History, Asian Studies, Gemma Rodrigues, Curator of African Art, Fowler Museum Chaired by AHSC Art History professors, Jane Chin Davidson, CSU San Bernardino, and Sandra Esslinger, Mt San Antonio College
In honor of the 50th Anniversary of UCLA’s Fowler Museum, the 2013 Art Historians of Southern California’s Annual Symposium takes the opportunity to recognize the unique art academy that is comprised of the museum’s longstanding partnership with the university. The schools of anthropology, the humanities, and especially art history, were integral to the Fowler’s remarkable foresight in creating a dynamic collection of world art. The importance of this partnership provides a context for the symposium in light of the much-pondered valuation of the humanities and art history. The AHSC symposium convenes a panel of scholars who will address the classification of cultural objects within the new global genres for art – “world art.” The Fowler’s development provides a clear example of the expansion of art history as reflected in Donald Preziosi and Claire Farago’s compendium Grasping the World: the Idea of the Museum (2004). The update to scholarship emphasizes interdisciplinarity in the study of cultural objects, redefining their cultural “identity” from artifacts to art. As such, can a humanities perspective toward objects be differentiated from earlier scientific models? The opportunity to identify, recognize, and assess the measurable impact of the humanities – from enrichments of social philosophies to the profession of its teaching occupation – becomes highly relevant.
AHSC’s focus this year is to acknowledge the individual communities who facilitate the work and study of the humanities under the auspices of the art association. In the advent of the 2009 economic crisis and in the era of cutting educational funding, what active role are we taking as museum professionals and as art historians to increase the understanding of the value of the humanities for society in general? Should occupational value determine the central focus of the problem or are we trying to fit the humanities into a vocational discourse that does not pertain overall to its inherent worth to education? The leadership and advocacy of the art association could affect the status of the humanities by bringing broader awareness of its greater contribution to both academic and public spheres.