Faculty Fellow Lecture: “Art in the Face of Managerial Domination: an introduction to a study of Joan Mitchell and Melvin Edwards”
Date / Time
March 7, 2024
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
As part of the Institute for the Humanities Faculty Fellow Lecture Series, Elise Archias, art history, will present, “Art in the Face of Managerial Domination: an introduction to a study of Joan Mitchell and Melvin Edwards.”
American painter Joan Mitchell and sculptor Melvin Edwards stand out in the history of art for the ways they each rejected the artistic sea changes of the 1960s (emblematized in pop art and minimalist sculpture.) Throughout their respective careers, they deployed and adapted abstract expressionist modes of making. This talk will propose we consider their persistent modernism not as anachronistic or naive, but as a quietly stubborn critique of and alternative to the neoliberal and managerial worldviews that 20th-century contemporary art in many ways heralded and enabled. Insights into the history of ruling class domination and into changes in middle-class consciousness during the 20th century by Wendy Brown, Adolph Reed, Barbara Ehrenreich, Andrew Hoberek, Thomas Frank and Christopher Lasch will be shown to provide essential context for understanding the stakes of what Mitchell and Edwards were doing.
Elise Archias’s research and classes center around art since 1945 including performance art and dance, asking questions about the relationship between abstract ideals, physical materials and human needs in 20th- and 21st-century life and aesthetics. She is the author of “The Concrete Body” (2016) and the editor of the special double issue for nonsite, “Contemporary Art and the PMC, Parts I and II” (2021, 2022).