The School of Art & Art History mines global perspectives on visual culture, art, and architecture, and since mining is the act of bringing discoveries up into the light, the school has a related obligation to disseminate ideas. Through both Something Other Press, a new rendition of the inspirational 1960s and ’70s Something Else Press, and the journal FWD Museums, published byMuseum and Exhibition Studies (MUSE), the school is extending public discourse – and inciting vital debate – in the arts.
Something Other Press
In 1966, the Fluxus artist Dick Higgins published his seminal “Statement on Intermedia,” outlining the idea that a work of art need not be medium specific, but instead can emerge as an inter-disciplinary expression that emerges from the spaces and overlaps of multiple genres. Higgins argued that a work of art should determine its own medium according to its own needs, and thus predicted how artists would work in the 21st century. Believing that “someone, somewhere is always trying to do something which adds to the possibilities for everybody,” Higgins advocated for an accessible art that could create a new generation of listeners, readers, and beholders, and he worked to foster a critical and expansive approach to art and everyday life. As a Fluxus artist, Higgins was invested in experimentation and community, and emphasized process over product.
The Dick Higgins Fund at UIC exists to carry forth these ideas and approaches by supporting projects, events, and initiatives that promote interdisciplinarity, art accessibility, and extending the dialogue around contemporary art making and understanding in a way that connects to public life. Inspired by the independent spirit of Dick Higgins’s Something Else Press, active from 1964 to 1974, UIC is launching Something Other Press to encourage students and faculty at UIC to publish in the same fashion that Higgins used his press, to both share one’s own ideas and circulate the work of others. Something Other Press thus openly encourages re-publication by anyone – an unequivocal effort to air ideas and spark dialogue through small-scale independent publishing.
Something Other Press will be student managed, with faculty guidance and mentorship, and every year will release publications representing the depth of its community, with works authored by current students, faculty, and alumni, beginning this year with contributions from Chris Reeves (current PhD candidate), Hannah Higgins (Professor AH), Tamara Valdez (current MFA), and Jen Delos Reyes (Faculty, ART). The first publication will be released on Thursday, November 8, 2018, coinciding with an open house that evening from 5 to 10 pm at AEH, 400 South Peoria Street.
So print is not dead, but what about museums?
Recognizing the need to critically transform museums, the journal Fwd: Museums strives to create a space for challenging, critiquing, and imagining alternative modes of thinking and production within and outside of museums. This peer-reviewed journal is produced by graduate students through the Museum and Exhibition Studies Program at the University of Illinois at Chicago[KJ1] [AT2] [CJ3] and published yearly by Stepsister Press.
Fwd: Museums invites submissions of artwork, essays, creative writing, interviews, poetry, love letters, and other experimental forms to analyze, critique, and make space for new thinking about museums and exhibitions.
The current call for submissions – “Death to Museums” – is a gauntlet thrown, a call for disruption and a proclamation of the need for change. This forthcoming issue of Fwd: Museums urges action through inquiry: Do museums need to change to avoid their death? Do museums need to die in order to change? Are museums under attack? By whom and to what end? “Death to Museums” sounds the alert that cultural institutions held in public trust are at risk and need protection. It is an acknowledgment that museums are active battlegrounds in our deepening cultural conflicts.
Submission topics may include, but are not limited to:
- Can museums engage conflict?
- Death as a part of rebirth, like a phoenix rising from the ashes
- Funding cuts to art and education as a perpetual threat of death
- How do museums deal with disaster and trauma?
- The ethics of caring for living specimens, dead things, and human remains
- Keeping museums alive in a changing culture
The journal’s editors strongly encourage book and exhibition reviews on multiple topics, but require all other submissions to connect to the fourth issue’s theme, “Death to Museums.” The submission deadline is January 5, 2019, by 11:50 pm (CT). For submission guidelines, form, and additional information, please visit https://tinyurl.com/Fwd2019 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo Credit: Museum & Exhibition Studies "Fwd: Museum" Journals