Monday, February 20, 2012

Curatorial Fellowship at Museum for African Art, NY

The Museum for African Art is pleased to announce a new postdoctoral fellowship funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.  The Curatorial Fellow will be a postdoctoral scholar (ABD considered) who possesses a strong knowledge of the field of African Art.  Preference will be given to applicants who specialize in art of the African Diaspora.  This position calls for a close relationship with exhibition curators to help plan and implement exhibitions and publications.  During tenure at the Museum, the Fellow will contribute significantly to the preparation of three to five individual exhibitions.
A majority of the Museum for African Art’s exhibitions during the Fellow’s two year appointment will involve guest curators who represent the top of their fields both academically and curatorially.  Though the Fellow will be primarily mentored by the Curator of Contemporary Art, the Associate Curator of Traditional Art, and Associate Director of Curatorial Affairs, (s)he would also have the rate opportunity to work directly with the guest curators in their areas of expertise.
The Curatorial Fellow will be encouraged to develop an exhibition in his or her area of expertise, working closely with the Museum for African Art curatorial staff, guest curators and advisors.  There is potential for the exhibition and accompanying publications to develop into an exhibition presented by the Museum for African Art at a future date. Grant funds will support travel in pursuit of research.
Duties and Responsibilities:
  • Assist the Curator of Contemporary Art, Associate Curator of Traditional Art, and the Associate Director of Curatorial Affairs in research, planning and development of curatorial projects
  • Research and develop an exhibition and accompanying catalogue project
  • Assist with administrative support for day-to-day functions of the department
  • Travel to academic conferences
Skills and Abilities:
  • The ability to multi-task and work in a fast-paced environment
  • Demonstrated ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships
  • Ability to communicate effectively and in a professional manner
  • Ability to self-direct, take initiative, and anticipate actions as needed
  • Attention to detail and ability to conceptualize steps involved in implementation of projects
  • PhD (ABD considered) in art history, anthropology or museum/curatorial studies with a focus on African art required
  • One to three years related professional experience (preferably in a museum setting)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Policeman who Died

Yesterday, I saw this video of a horrible event. In the Northern Nigerian town of Kaduna--which has become a major site of terror by the radical Islamist Boko Haram group--I saw a policeman bravely approach a sack leaning against a street lamp. He bent over with a metal detector, pried the sack open while the crowd cheered. Then, bang!; a cloud of dust. The cell-phone camera  must have been jolted by the explosion. When the dust settled a little bit, there lay in a contorted heap, the former policeman. I am outraged by this. Who is the superior officer that sent this hapless man to such gruesome death? Who in the police hierarchy allowed for a situation whereby any officer, anyone, without proper gear is sent to "defuse" a bomb? This is one of those moments when I wished I studied...OK, my question now is: is there any lawyer somewhere who could take up this man's case if only on behalf of his now orphaned children? Nothing can bring him back. But the Nigerian Police can be made to pay heavily for this through the courts. This man did not just die in the line of duty, or in the hands of terrorists. He is the victim of a government agency's disrespect for the life of this public servant. Who will fight for this dead officer and his family?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

David Craven--In Memoriam

I just got this news of the transition of David Craven, one of the scholars whose work I really, really admired; a pioneer Latin American art historian in many ways. He contributed immensely to the development of rigorous approaches to the art history of modernism outside of Europe. And who will forget his tour-de-force essay, "Latin American Origins of Alternative Modernism"? Any student of modernism who ignores it does so at his own intellectual peril! 
But come to think of it; does anyone know of any invention more stupid than Death?

It is with great sadness that I write to inform you that Professor David Craven passed away on Saturday 11 February 2012. We are in the midst of making arrangements for a memorial service that will be held this Friday 17 February at 2pm and will notify you with the specifics of the service.

Dr. Craven had been on the faculty at UNM since 1993. He was the Distinguished Professor of Art History at the University of New Mexico, where he was also affiliated with the Latin American & Iberian Institute. He has authored ten books and major museum catalogs, including Art and Revolution in Latin America, 1910-1990 (Yale University Press, 2002 & 2006). In addition, he has been Guest Editor of the Oxford Art Journal (1994) and Modernism/Modernity (January 2008). More than 100 articles and review essays by him have appeared in the leading journals of over two dozen different countries. In 1991, Craven won a Medal of Excellence from the State of New York.

He had degrees in Art History from Vanderbilt University (1974) and from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (1979), where he wrote his dissertation under Donald Kuspit, a student of German philosopher Theodor Adorno.
Kirsten Pai Buick, 
Chair, Department of Art and Art History, 
University of New Mexico

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Whitney Houston (1963-2012)

Nothing, nothing remains now
But for the silences
Of fluttering wings
that shattered
My heart's china

Sunday, February 5, 2012

My lecture at NYU this Thursday.

This Thursday (February 9 @ 6:30PM), I will be giving the annual Ritchie Markoe Scribner ’75 Lecture at the Department of Art History, New York University. The subject is Ibrahim El Salahi's work in the 1960s. Come if you are in the NY area. Here's a link to the announcement.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Five-College Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in African Art 2012-2015

Mount Holyoke College and Smith College invite applications for a three-year postdoctoral fellowship in African art and architecture starting July 1, 2012. This Mellon-funded position supports exceptionally promising young scholars for three years of half-time teaching (one course each semester) and half-time research. We seek candidates with interests that extend beyond a single geographic region and into the contemporary period. We particularly welcome candidates who can teach at both the introductory and advanced levels. Over three years, the fellow will teach six courses, four at Mount Holyoke College (the home campus) and two at Smith College. The fellow will also be provided with research and teaching

This program is designed to provide fellows with valuable teaching experience and time to complete and publish their research prior to seeking full-time tenure-track positions. Fellows are encouraged to develop independent research projects vigorously and in association with the local college art museums and the African Studies Council, which includes some 35 Africanists in various disciplines working together across the five campuses to share resources, coordinate curriculum, run faculty seminars, residency programs, and publish the African Studies Review.

This postdoctoral fellowship is a full-time salaried appointment with excellent benefits and research support provided and is open only to recent Ph.D.s. A candidate must have completed all requirements for the Ph.D. by September 2012. Applicants should submit a letter of application; a resume; graduate transcript(s); three letters of support (to be sent under separate cover by the recommenders); a published article or the opening or closing section of the dissertation; and a syllabus to: If you have any problems attaching the materials, please contact Rose Ryan (

Mount Holyoke is an undergraduate liberal arts college for women with 2,100 students and 210 faculty. Half the faculty are women; one fourth are persons of color. It is located about 80 miles west of Boston in the Connecticut River valley, and is a member of the Five College Consortium consisting of Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and Smith Colleges and the University of Massachusetts. Mount Holyoke is committed to fostering multicultural diversity and awareness in its faculty, staff, and student body and is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Women and persons of color are especially encouraged to apply.