Archives of American Art Journal

Journal Information
ISSN / EISSN : 0003-9853 / 2327-0667
Published by: University of Chicago Press (10.1086)
Total articles ≅ 1,214
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Latest articles in this journal

Kevin M. Murphy
Archives of American Art Journal, Volume 60, pp 62-73;

Hoping to evoke in readers memories of their own encounters with the missing or illegible, this visual essay highlights materials from across the Archives that represent mysteries. There are texts that have stumped the Archives’ crowdsourced attempts to transcribe them, photographs of unidentified people, and manuscripts that have been damaged, destroyed, or lost, such as torn out pages from an artist’s diary or a letter consisting of only the postscript. One could regard these objects with melancholy, as representing gaps in knowledge that may never be bridged. They raise questions about the limits of any archive, and the necessary incompleteness of the work we do as scholars. However, by being irreducible to facts—by, we might say, not doing their job—I argue that indecipherable or incomprehensible archival materials may assert a hold on the researcher that legible materials do not.
Chris Dingwall
Archives of American Art Journal, Volume 60, pp 26-45;

Formed in Chicago in 1968, AfriCOBRA (African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists) dedicated itself to producing art for Black people independent of white-controlled museums and markets. Examining business records from the Archives of American Art’s Jeff Donaldson Papers, this essay contributes to recent conversations about Black collectivity by exploring how AfriCOBRA navigated capitalism to sustain its revolutionary art practice. In doing so, I argue for the significance of AfriCOBRA as a political economy: a system for producing and distributing Black culture.
Jacob Proctor
Archives of American Art Journal, Volume 60, pp 88-89;

Jennifer Liese
Archives of American Art Journal, Volume 60, pp 74-83;

Drawing on the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture Lecture Archive in the collection of the Archives of American Art, this essay asks what we might learn both about and from the artist talk, a form of public address that is ubiquitous, understudied, and perhaps even a dialogic model beyond the bounds of art.
Tanya Sheehan
Archives of American Art Journal, Volume 60, pp 1-1;

Peter Betjemann
Archives of American Art Journal, Volume 60, pp 4-25;

Taking canonical literary texts as sources for drawing or poetry-writing, the New York Sketch Club’s meetings seemed to epitomize the notion that its members—writers and artists including William Cullen Bryant, Thomas Cole, and Asher Durand—were “kindred spirits” engaged in a shared project of consolidating national identity through aesthetic practice. This essay, by contrast, describes the club’s obsession with optically and textual uncertainty—including illegible handwriting, sketches based on radically reimagined literary sources, and weakly visualizable artworks—as shaping a literally less-visible register of involvement with the violence of tribal dispossession and African slavery. Racialized forms of power appear in this account as forces underwriting the canon of “American” art that developed through the pictorial and narrative activities of the Sketch Club.
Josh T. Franco
Archives of American Art Journal, Volume 60, pp 86-87;

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