This is a guest post from Claire Davies, Association of Art Historians
The purpose of this online interview project is to promote the rich diversity of art historical practice today, as well as building greater awareness of the careers and prospects in art history in general. AAH members were invited to participate in an informal, e-interview and respond to 10 questions. Here are a few of their responses.
How do you describe your work to people who know nothing about art history?
“I say I am a contemporary art historian and laugh about how that sounds like a contradiction… I’m not teaching them how to make art, but rather developing their knowledge of art history and the ideas and texts around making contemporary art…” TW
“My job is to convince people that in our virtual age of sensory overload and instant gratification, it is still worthwhile to spend more than one minute in front of a work of art…” SH
“I’d say that art historians look into works of art, and by doing so they look at the history of both the artist who created them and their context. I’d say it deals with the study of an illustrated personal and social history.” AA
What is your sense of art history today? And what do you think the future of art history might be?
“…art history will either become a discipline dedicated to the critical evaluation of what has been produced and will be framed in the past tense (art’s history) or compromise its disciplinary norm and embrace the broader perspective of cultural studies.” RR
“Thriving as an academic subject and a topic students want to study. There is some wonderful research going on. In the past I think there was a divide between historical art history and contemporary art practice and writing but I see that changing.” TW
Which ONE art work/book/object would you take with you to a desert island?
“Damian Hirst’s Shark – you know, to act as a warning to the others.” JC
“… as long as I don’t have to pay for the insurance or worry about the conditions it’s kept in!… I would take Simon Starling’s Shed Boat Shed.” TW
Why do you think art history is important?
“There is a certain amount of detective work involved in art historical research… This requires asking different questions than a historian might ask, allowing us to think of images as sources that might contradict or reveal new ways of understanding the textual sources, and thus a society.” LRC
Read more e-interviews online. This is an ongoing project, so if you would like to be involved please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org.