University of Virginia Art Museum Features Lecture by Book Artist and Scholar Johanna Drucker in Conjunction with The Festival of The Book

March 07, 2006

Festival of the Book Lecture “Contemporary Art and Complicity” by Johanna Drucker, Robertson Professor of Modern Media Studies, University of Virginia

Wednesday, March 22, 2 p.m.

University of Virginia Art Museum 155 Rugby Road

March 7, 2006 — In conjunction with the Festival of the Book, the University of Virginia Art Museum will present a special lecture – “Contemporary Art and Complicity” – by Johanna Drucker, Robertson Professor of Modern Media Studies at the University of Virginia.The lecture, which will be held on Wednesday, March 22 at 2 p.m. in the museum’s Pine Room, is free and open to the public.

Many artists today draw inspiration and materials from popular culture. This lecture will further explore the topic Drucker first discussed in her provocative new book “Sweet Dreams: Contemporary Art and Complicity” (University of Chicago Press, 2005). Copies of the book will be available for sale.

The lecture also serves as a preview of the special exhibition curated by Drucker for the University of Virginia Art Museum, opening Sept. 1.Featuring work in a range of media by more than 40 contemporary American artists, “Complicit! Contemporary American Art and Mass Culture” argues that artists are engaged in a new studio-based, but conceptually self-conscious, dialogue with mass culture.

Featuring such artists as Susan Bee, Gregory Crewdson, Tony Orsler, Alexis Rockman, Daniel Weiner and Lisa Yuskavage, the exhibition presents a range of contemporary work that shares a common acknowledgment of the seductive power of popular imagery. Mass culture, notes Drucker, is no longer perceived as the enemy or other of high art.Instead, artists are working in a curiously complicit relation to the production values and ideologies of mass culture. And yet, fine art continues to create a space apart ­– a space in which the ability to think differently about the very materials, objects and forms in which experience comes into shape are reworked.

In addition to teaching in the Media Studies Program at U.Va., Drucker is an art historian and internationally renowned book artist. Her recent work focuses on aesthetics and digital media, particularly graphical communication and the expressive character of visual form. She is well known for her publications on the history of written forms, typography, design and visual poetics.

Drucker has held faculty positions at Harvard University, Columbia University, Yale University and in the SUNY system, as well as the University of Texas, Dallas. She has taught a combination of applied and critical studies in visual art, graphics and digital media. She was brought to U.Va. six years ago to establish a new media studies program, which she directed for five years, and in 2000 she helped establish the Speculative Computing Laboratory at the University, a research group dedicated to exploring experimental projects in humanities computing. Her artist’s books are in museums and libraries throughout the United States and Europe, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the Stedlijk Museum in Amsterdam and many other public and private collections.

For more information call (434) 924-3592.