The Annual 2012

School of Visual Arts
Newsmakers

Critically Speaking

David Levi Strauss

“Over the past seven seasons,” says MFA Art Criticism and Writing Department Chair David Levi Strauss, “the Art Criticism & Writing Lecture Series at the SVA Theatre has become one of the premier monthly series in New York City.”

Speakers in the series have included critics, art historians, anthropologists, artists, novelists, poets and filmmakers, but the principal focus has always been on the work of these people as writers. In addition to being one of the most visible parts of the program—having generated press coverage in Frieze, Artinfo and Artnet, among other venues—the lecture series has also become an integral part of the curriculum. Students make a point of reading works by the guest lecturers beforehand, and then meet with them after the lectures in an informal setting to ask questions and participate in discussions.

The breadth and depth of the series was evident in the fall of 2011. The season’s speakers included: filmmaker George Gittoes, who screened parts of his 2009 film The Miscreants of Taliwood; performance artist Carolee Schneeman, who analyzed the recurring formal properties in her work beginning with her childhood drawings; artist and critic Robert Storr, who talked about the challenges artists like Gerhard Richter and Robert Ryman face in making their subjects visible (video below); and critic Linda Nochlin, who discussed the work of Théodore Géricault and Francisco Goya.