Art History Faculty part of team that receives grant to ensure future of artists’ archives in North Carolina


ResearchersA grant of $491,908 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) will help a team of researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill prepare future librarians and archivists to identify, organize and care for the complex records of visual artists in North Carolina.

The three-year grant is called “Learning from Artists’ Archives: Preparing Next Generation Art Information Professionals through Partnerships with North Carolina’s Artists’ Archives.” It will support a comprehensive training program for six fellows enrolled in the dual master’s degree offered by UNC’s School of Information and Library Science (SILS) and the Art Department’s Art History program.

The grant will also fund two free training events on personal archiving for up to 50 North Carolina artists, to take place at the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh and the Mint Museum in Charlotte. The grant program will culminate in a major symposium about collecting and preserving artists’ archives in the South.

The principal investigator is Heather Gendron, head of UNC’s Sloane Art Library and adjunct professor at SILS. Co-investigators for the collaborative effort are Carol Magee, associate professor and director of graduate studies for art history in the Art Department, College of Arts and Sciences; JJ Bauer, visual resources curator and lecturer, Art Department; and Richard Marciano, professor, SILS.

At the heart of the grant will be six practice-intensive fellowships—two beginning in fall 2014, and the remaining four starting a year later. In addition to coursework at UNC, each fellow will complete two internships. One will expose participants to the current state of best practice by placing them at a museum, library, or archive that manages the records of artists. The other will be with a North Carolina artist and will provide first-hand experience with the legacy needs of artists.

Artists’ archives present unusual challenges for long-term preservation, said Gendron. In addition to paper documents and computer files, they may contain actual works of art, as well as materials, that blur the line between art and archive, such as illustrated letters, sketchbooks, photographs and video, even brushes and paint.

“These archives are either misunderstood or can be difficult to manage, which means few libraries and even fewer museums actively seek them out,” said Gendron. “They tend to fall through the cracks.”

That neglect is a significant loss for researchers, according to Magee. “Artists’ archives are vital to the work of art historians,” she said. “These archives are often the only places that students and researchers can find primary source material about a particular artist or other related documents critical to broader historical projects.”

“This training program stands to be unique in offering interdisciplinary, project-based scholarship opportunities and rich, immersive experiences,” said Marciano. “The combination of art history, information science, and practical fellowships will be critical in training the next generation of art information professionals for work in many settings.”

Potential fellowship candidates or artists who would like to participate should contact Heather Gendron at or (919) 962-2397.

Photo from left to right: UNC grant recipients Carol Magee, JJ Bauer, Richard Marciano, and Heather Gendron will launch a project to provide training in the management of artists’ archives.

Alumnus Severn Eaton participates again in the Black Mountain College (Re)Happening

The {Re}HAPPENING honors the dynamic artistic energy of Black Mountain College and pays tribute to the groundbreaking innovations of that community of artists. Meanwhile, the event launches a contemporary platform for artists and patrons to experience adventurous art and creativity in the present day.

This year’s event takes place on Saturday April 5, 2014 and re-imagines Black Mountain College’s tradition of Saturday night parties and performances. This year marks the fifth annual {Re}HAPPENING when more than eighty artists from the region’s diverse creative communities will come together in the spirit of Black Mountain College. Artists are encouraged to push the envelope and take risks by incorporating spontaneity, experimentation, audience participation and/or interdisciplinary modes of art-making into their work.

The evening unfolds on the original campus of Black Mountain College (currently Camp Rockmont in Black Mountain). The grounds and buildings offer an array of sites for artists to utilize as the setting for their work – including forests, fields, hiking trails, tennis courts, a target range, the roundhouse, the lodges and cabins, large gymnasium, all against the beautiful backdrop of the mountains and Lake Eden. This setting occupies a unique place in history. Sharing art in this beautiful location is what makes the {Re}HAPPENING a deeply resonant event.

The event begins at 6pm with a cocktail hour where guests explore the grounds and socialize on the side porch. This is followed by a seated dinner held in the historic Lake Eden Dining Hall where ‘Happenings’ first began. After dinner, general admission brings in hundreds more visitors to experience a night of performances and installations.

More information can be found here:

Joy Drury Cox has Artist Book on display at MOMA


January 8–March 31, 2014

MOMA, The Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Education and Research Building, Mezzanine

This exhibition presents a selection of experiments with novels from throughout the past hundred years. Early in the 20th century, modern artists illustrated canonical novels, while others conceived works of their own. In subsequent decades, artists and writers continued to integrate texts and images. In the 1960s and 1970s, a period of bold experimentation with books as an art form, practitioners engaged with conceptual, formal, and political aspects of the novel. In the 1980s, the novel became a site of critical interrogation through appropriations, “altered books,” and parodies. New fusions of image and text appeared in the graphic novels and photobooks of the 1990s. Today, artists continue to reinvent the novel, exploring the implications of digital texts, reimagining the traditional book, and playing with literary conventions.


Joy Drury Cox. Old Man and Sea (Jersey City: Conveyor, 2012) 
Cox omits all but the periods from Hemingway’s 1952 tale of a fisherman adrift. Lines drawn between the periods suggest constellations or maps, as well as disorientation.

Alumna Stacy Waddell in Group Show at Studio Museum in Harlem

When the Stars Begin to Fall: Imagination and the American South queries the category of “outsider” art in relation to contemporary art and black life. Situating itself within current art historical and political debates, the exhibition considers work by self-taught, spiritually inspired and incarcerated artists, alongside other projects based in performance, socially engaged practice and the archive, as well as painting, drawing, sculpture and assemblage, that make insistent reference to place. With the majority of work having been made between 1964 and 2014, the exhibition brings together a group of thirty-five intergenerational American artists who share an interest in the U.S. South as a location both real and imagined. Moving between a graphic sensibility, an interest in creation myths and the use of found materials and detritus, the artists reference various classical tropes of blackness as sites of origin—fantastical and performed, important yet perhaps illusory. The catalogue includes entries by the exhibition’s organizer, Assistant Curator Thomas J. Lax, along with leading scholars Horace Ballard, Katherine Jentleson, Scott Romine and Lowery Stokes Sims, who write on notions of spirituality, the ethics of self-taught art and the idea of the South in the American project.

Artists in the exhibition include Benny Andrews, Kevin Beasley, McArthur Binion, Beverly Buchanan, Henry Ray Clark, Courtesy the Artists, Thornton Dial, Minnie Evans, Theaster Gates, Deborah Grant, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Bessie Harvey, David Hammons, Lonnie Holley, Frank Albert Jones, Lauren Kelley, Ralph Lemon, Kerry James Marshall, Rodney McMillian, Joe Minter, J.B. Murray, John Outterbridge, Noah Purifoy, Marie “Big Mama” Roseman, Jacolby Satterwhite, Patricia Satterwhite, Rudy Shepherd, Xaviera Simmons, Georgia Speller, Henry Speller, James “Son” Thomas, Stacy Lynn Waddell, Kara Walker, Carrie Mae Weems and Geo Wyeth.

Stacy’s contribution to the exhibition is an expansive mixed media piece entitled The Secret Life of Plants, that forces the viewer to contend with the convoluted “topographies” of the American South.