Setting the Record Straight: A Conversation with an Art Historian
January 9, 2023
About this event
What role does an art historian play in connection with an artist’s legacy? Scholars, curators, biographers, teachers – art historians like Gail Levin — dedicate their lives to unearth and preserve the biographical and artistic record disappearing in the haze of time. Whether an artist is a careful record keeper or not, what are the steps artists could have taken to have their work seen and receive the appreciation that they deserve in their lifetime? Where would they be without art historians retracing and unearthing their steps and marks?
From icons such as Edward Hopper and his artist-wife Jo Hopper to Theresa Bernstein, Lee Krasner, and Judy Chicago, Levin has studied, lectured, recorded, and recreated important stories and trajectories of artists’ lives and their works.
Enjoy our conversation with Gail Levin, Distinguished Professor at the City University of New York, who wears the hats of a biographer, an educator, a curator, a scholar, and an advisor to artists and those are just to name a few! Dr. Levin discusses the various steps and processes that art historians take to help artists not become forgotten, preserve their work, have their work known to the public, and protect their legacy. Dr. Levin is the author of the Edward Hopper catalogue raisonne and the biographer of Lee Krasner, (Krasner’s catalogue was created by yet another scholar). Having worked with Judy Chicago and many many others, Dr. Levin discusses how these and other artists tend to keep their records, plan for their legacy, and how her extensive work, including establishing the Catalogue Raisonné Scholars Association, publishing countless articles and meticulous work on the Hopper’s catalogue raisonnes contributed and impacted artists’ legacy, and her own.
The workshop is designed with art historians and artists in mind, to illuminate the decision-making processes for art historians in choosing artists to study and guiding others on where to begin and what to do to assist artists looking to showcase and preserve their work in perpetuity.
About the Speaker:
Gail Levin is a Distinguished Professor of art history, fine & performing arts, American studies, and women’s studies at Baruch College and the Graduate Center, of the City University of New York. The acknowledged authority on American realist painter Edward Hopper, she is the author of books and articles on this artist, including the catalogue raisonné of Edward Hopper: An Intimate Biography.
Her work on twentieth-century and contemporary art has won international acclaim, been widely published, and translated in America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Articles range from the theory of artists’ biographies to explorations of the intersection of American and Asian cultural studies. She has also written on the art of women artists in diverse historical contexts. Her frequent focus on women artists and Jewish artists led to biographies of Judy Chicago and Lee Krasner and a major study of Theresa Bernstein. During 2015-16, Levin held a Distinguished Fulbright Chair in India and was a Fulbright Specialist in Mongolia in 2019. She also shows her own artwork and publishes fiction.
Handouts and Reading Material
Read the handouts HERE.
Recording of the Lecture
Watch the recording HERE.