February 22, 2022

Art at 100, Across Cultures and Time

The Department of Art marks a century from its founding academic year with a program of public events including exhibitions, artist talks, and panel discussions that look to both the past and future of art practice and pedagogy at Cornell AAP.

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Department of Art Painting Studio, Olive Tjaden Hall. Anson Wigner / AAP

"One hundred years is not a lot of time," says Art Chair and Professor, Paul Ramírez Jonas in his letter written on the occasion of the department's centenary." For 50–60,000 years, what we now call art has been consistently mixing and hybridizing across cultures. It has been and continues to be borrowed respectfully and not, outright stolen, cast into an imagined future, and revived its own past. This cultural back-and-forth and side-to-side is a relay between individuals. And this constant motion has often managed to transcend membership, nationality, biology, religion, other forms of identity. Art suggests that we can knit together a self-organized, spontaneous group across cultures and time. Our community is one hundred years old this year."

The Department of Art at the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning began with a shared understanding of the importance of providing creative depth and interdisciplinary breadth as part of the Cornell student experience. As early as 1896, three classes in drawing, painting, and sculpture were offered, and after about 25 years of growth and evolution, the department was officially established in the academic year 1921–22. From that point forward, intensive studio practices in visual art integrated with the vast resources and array of disciplines at the university have defined and expanded art education at AAP. As artists spanning generations, faculty, staff, and students in the department continue to attend to both longstanding traditions and contemporary concerns of practicing artists today, making for a celebratory and thoughtful centennial program that is built around discourse, practice and pedagogy, and the generosity and intention behind public exhibition.


Clockwise from top left: Visiting art faculty Kayla Romberger's Avoid Dying (2013), detail.; Art faculty work on view at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art; Baseera Khan (M.F.A '13), from Bust of Canons (2021), detail.; Assistant professor of art Daniel Torop, Falls (2021). images / provided


Who, What, When

Cornell Art Faculty 2022
February 5–May 8

Cornell University's Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art invites visitors to consider the relationship between art education and contemporary practice with a group exhibition of artworks by 15 department faculty.

Buzz Spector ON EDGE: What Constitutes Drawing in the Art of Buzz Spector
March 21

Former Art Department Chair and artist Buzz Spector returns to the college this spring for an artist talk about the role of drawing in his practice and career.

Louise Lawler: A Presentation
April 11

Louise Lawler (B.F.A. '69) will deliver an address as the spring 2022 guest speaker for the John A. Cooper Visiting Artist Lecture Series.

Baseera Khan, I am an Archive
April 25

Art alum Baseera Khan (M.F.A. '12) whose solo show I am an Archive remains on view at the Brooklyn Museum, returns to AAP this spring to give an artist talk on their work, political contexts, and bearing witness.

Reimagining the M.F.A.
April 27

A public panel discussion of the future of graduate visual arts education at Cornell AAP; moderated by Art Chair Paul Ramírez Jonas and Assistant Professor of Art Leeza Meksin, with Catherine Haggarty, Yoshua Okón, and Emily Jacir, the spring 2022 Teiger Mentor in the Arts.

AAP Building the Future
May 13
A public discussion between AAP Dean J. Meejin Yoon, Architecture Chair Caroline O'Donnell, and Art Chair Paul Ramírez Jonas. Details to come. 

Centuries: Architecture and Art at Cornell University, 1871–Present
June 6–September 2
An exhibition on view across the AAP galleries curated by Sean Anderson, Associate Professor and Director of the B.Arch. program. Details to come. 

Hundredfold: A Century of Art at Cornell, edited by Kayla Romberger 
spring 2022
A self-published and in-house produced collection of 100 images, documents, and stories comprising Cornell's Department of Art over the last 100 years.


Please visit Art at 100 for more complete and up-to-date information about art anniversary-related events and gatherings taking place throughout the spring and summer. 

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