The second Common Hour lecture of the year features Robert Storr, a renowned figure in the contemporary art world. Storr's experience as an art critic, museum curator, art historian and artist gives him a unique and all-encompassing perspective on his field.
"Robert Storr has a foot in the academic community as well as in the professional curatorial of contemporary art, so he's really accomplished in both," said Chair of the Art Department Jim Mullen.
"He has a history of being a practitioner as well as somebody who can speak critically to the process," said Mullen. "A lot of the best critics have an opportunity where they've exercised the practice, so it gives them insight into the process."
Today's lecture is the result of a previous attempt to bring Storr to Bowdoin. The College first contacted Storr in 2007 with the hope of having him attend the rededication of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art. At that time, Storr was serving as the artistic director of the Venice Biennale, an international art exhibition, and was just beginning his position as the dean of the Yale School of Art. His hectic schedule made the prospect of him attending the rededication unlikely.
"It wasn't really a good time for him to come at that point, so this lecture is the result of follow up conversations that allowed it to happen," Mullen said.
Storr's visit to Bowdoin will be at least his second time on campus. Some of Storr's childhood was spent in Brunswick; his father, Richard Storr, was a history professor at the College from 1946 to 1955.
Since leaving Maine, Storr has had an extensive and varied career. He graduated from Swarthmore College in 1972 and received his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1978. From 1990 to 2002, he served as curator in the Department of Painting and Sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He has taught at New York University, Rhode Island School of Design and Harvard University and is currently Dean of the Yale School of Art.
Storr has published books on artists Louise Bourgeois, Gerhard Richter and Philip Guston, and regularly contributes to the London contemporary art magazine "Frieze."
In 2006, New York Magazine named Storr one of the most influential people in art.
The lecture that Storr will give is titled "Arts Self Sufficiency in a Boom/Bust Artworld." The worldwide recession has significantly hurt the art community, which has seen its previously plentiful supply of capital vanish. While that has posed serious difficulties for artists in all genres, it has also inspired new ways of thinking.
"Things [in the art world] are less tethered, and different freedoms and new opportunities are arising," Mullen said.
In his lecture Storr will most likely focus on how the current state of the art world is affecting new art forms and pieces.
"This is a unique time in the last few decades," said Mullen. "The structures that have built up in the artworld have broken down, and other things are starting to come together. [Storr] is probably going to talk about how the artistic process moves through those times."
Those who are unfamiliar with the arts can still attend the lecture and walk away with a greater understanding of not only the art world, but also of the economics of our society during the financial crisis.
"Storr has the ability to connect with an academic community and to contextualize some of these broader ideas. I think he can break them down into terms that more people are familiar with, not just the specialized audience," said Mullen. "People will be able to transpose his conversation onto other things that are going on in other fields pretty easily," Mullen added.
"We are very pleased to have [Storr] return to Brunswick and benefit Bowdoin's culture," said Richard E Steele Artist-in-Residence Tom Cornell.
"Arts Self Sufficiency in a Boom/Bust Artworld" will take place today from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in the Kresge Auditorium, Visual Arts Center.