I know that this is meant to be a thought-provoking discussion but it seems to be preposterously absurd and a little sophomoric. Of course art history is not dead and it’s not dying. Evidence? You’re convening a discussion about it on your Tumblr!
In the same way that journalism is not dead and not dying just because the way information is published has dramatically changed.
For one very recent example, my column this month on Art21’s blog features an art-historical based conversation around the need to preserve digital art and features a video that was recorded at the Museum Computer Network’s Annual Meeting with Anne Goodyear, a curator at the Smithsonian, Penelope Umbrico, an important artist whose practice is innovative and contemporary, Koven Smith, Director of Technology at DAM, and myself a conservator at the IMA.
How can you listen to that panel and think for a second that art history is dead? It is alive, breathing, and running around in new and exciting ways.
I would have much preferred a question asking how the way art history is being written and spoken is changing to be more open and available, and also much more interdisciplinary.
Finally, and though art conservators are not mentioned in this as someone they’d like to hear from, I want to say that today’s art conservators are uniquely positioned to convene relevant art historical discussions and projects that are centered on artworks, their preservation, fabrication, and material aspects.
Is art history dead? Is the digital revolution passing art historians by? What is the future of publishing in art history?
We’ll be exploring these topics next week on The Getty Iris, and we’re kicking off with a short Google+ Hangout, “Resuscitating Art History,” on Monday, March 4, at 4:00 p.m. PST.
We’d like to hear from artists, students, art historians, authors, and, especially, art history grad students: Is there a question the field needs to address? A challenge you face? A radical idea art historians need to be for (or against)? Please let us know here, on Facebook, or via tweet to @thegetty (hashtag: #digitalhumanities).
Books in the Research Library at the Getty Research Institute. 010101 is a real book.