A new partnership between the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation and Art in America is attempting to correct the imbalance of arts coverage from the regions in the national media (meaning, art happening outside of New York and L.A.)
This pilot writing fellowship is intended “to foster new discourse about arts and culture that reflects the diversity of the nation, and increase awareness of culturally rich enclaves often not identified as art centers.” Indeed, when “Art in America” means Beijing, Berlin and Venice as much as New York, cities like Atlanta and Nashville tend to fall by the wayside, relegated to the occasional 400 word review at the “back of the book.” (Prospect New Orleans has delivered some healthy national attention on that city’s art scene, despite complaints by local artists that they are slighted in the curatorial selection process.)
Each fellow will produce one long-form piece focused on arts and culture in their respective city for the magazine.
The five regional writers include two from BURNAWAY territory: Art Papers editor and artistic director Victoria Camblin of Atlanta and Cameron Shaw, the executive director and founding editor of Pelican Bomb, a website and curatorial project in New Orleans. Pelican Bomb was BURNAWAY’s partner for last year’s Critics-in-Residence program, which brought national critics to Atlanta and New Orleans for a week in order to engage with and learn about the cities’ respective arts scenes.
The other fellows are Bill Arning, director since 2009 of the Contemporary Art Museum Houston, and prior director of the MIT List Center for the Visual Arts in Cambridge and the nonprofit space Whitewalls in New York. Novelist Lynn Crawford, whose book Simply Separate People, Two was published in 2011, will be writing about Detroit. San Francisco will be covered by Kevin Killian, a poet, author, editor and playwright of primarily LGBT literature.
Shaw describes her upcoming article as about “the black collective impulse in post-Katrina New Orleans.”
Camblin says her piece will examine “how Atlanta infrastructure has impacted — and how it could impact — the art scene here. This is reflective of some research we’ve begun to undertake at ART PAPERS this year, which is looking at the impact of transportation, migration, communication, elements of public health and civic life, and so on, on the arts — and of course, vice versa. I will step back from this work to consider a more synthetic viewpoint, linking together those ideas and their histories for a narrative about how the structure of the city — which finds kinship elsewhere in the country, and in the world — propels and is navigated by artists, now.”
Kevin Killian’s essay will be the first to appear in Art in America, in the March 2016 issue, with the other publication dates to be determined.
In the meantime, come back to BURNAWAY, your nonprofit source for regional arts criticism, every day, since 2008.