Art History That manifesto

I am for an art history that…

Inspired by Claes Oldenburg’s brilliant non-manifesto “I Am for an Art…” (1961), our crowd-sourced manifesto is an open-ended exercise in aspirational literary wish-fulfillment. By participating, your sentence will be included, and your name will be added to the growing list of authors. 


YOU are invited to add to this manifesto. E-mail us your contribution(s) by copying and pasting the following e-mail address into your e-mail account: iamforanarthistorythat@gmail.com. Or Tweet your sentence(s) using the hashtag: #Iamforanarthistorythat
  • I am for an art history that________________________________________
  • I am for an art history that is good for the environment and cares about biodiversity.
  • I am for an art history that take stock in what it is doing today.
  • #iamforanarthistorythat practices #urbanalchemy
  • #iamforanarthistorythat advocates for its future through collective action and shared resources.
  • I am for an art history that is inclusive and interdisciplinary.
  • I am for an art history that is geographically experiential.
  • I am for an art history that practices #CrisisPedagogy.
  • I am for an art history that #resists.
  • I am for an art history that is nocturnal.
  • I am for an art history that intervenes in the future.
  • I am for an art history that marks the present.
  • I am for an art history that helps me understand the relationship between my body and objects.
  • I am for an art history that exhausts my visual and conceptual understandings of space.
  • I am for an art history that keeps me up at night.
  • I am for an art history that lets me go to bed.
  • I am for an art history that looks beyond the dollar sign.
  • I am for an art history that puts matter over mind.
  • I am for an art history that acknowledges itself as a discipline established by patriarchal, Enlightenment values that continue to reproduce class divisions and Western stereotypes.
  • I am for an art history that tells her story.
  • I am for an art history that awakens the self and in turn awakens the world.
  • I am for an art history that can learn from social practice.
  • I am for an art history that is not sorry for exposing the truth.
  • I am for an art history that answers society’s questions with more questions.
  • I am for an art history that will enable me to understand and appreciate works of art which are not aesthetically pleasing to me.
  • I am for an art history that supports and inspires art creation.
  • I am for an Art History that helps studio students understand their surroundings and look objectively at their art.
  • I am for an art history that is explores and represents all cultures equally.
  • I am for an art history that catalyzes chain reactions not only in the field but also in the world.
  • #iamforanarthistorythat builds bridges. #ArtHistoryEngaged #Pittsburgh #SECAC2015
  • #iamforanarthistorythat cares. #ArtHistoryEngaged #Pittsburgh #SECAC2015
  • #iamforanarthistorythat stares back. #ArtHistoryEngaged #Pittsburgh #SECAC2015
  • #iamforanarthistorythat thinks outside the book cover. #ArtHistoryEngaged #Pittsburgh #SECAC2015
  • #iamforanarthistory that "encourages the participation of non-academics." #ArtHistoryEngaged #SECAC2015
  • #iamforanarthistorythat is collaborative.
  • #iamforanarthistorythat inspires, engages, and informs learners through all walks of life.
  • We are for an art history that involves collaborative projects.
  • #iamforanarthistorythat gazes through heavy lidded eyes. #Louise Bourgeois #Pittsburgh #SECAC2015
  • #iamforanarthistorythat dreams with the public. #ArtHistoryEngaged
  • I am for an art history that keeps it real.
  • I am for an art history that values material culture.
  • I am for an art history that values local art history.
  • I am for an art history that shows its relation to political history.
  • I am for an art history that honors its heroines. #RoseValland #MonumentsWomen
  • I am for an art history that brooks no fear
  • I am for an art history whose "purpose is to lay bare the questions hidden by the answers." (James Baldwin)
  • I am for an art history that includes tattoos, tattooists, tattoo methods, and tattoo culture. =)
  • I am for an art history that works for tolerance and speaks out against hate and injustice.
  • I am for an always-already art history.
  • I am for an art history that drones capitalism dumb on purpose.
  • I am for an art history that engages rather than displays.
  • I am for an art history that isn't only about the nude.
  • I am for an art history that does not hurt the brain.
  • I am for an art history that talks about more than rich white straight old men.
  • I am for an art history that includes popular culture.
  • I am for an art history that includes the experiences of children.
  • I am for an art history that is critical of itself.
  • I am for an art history that includes emojis.
  • I am for an art history that is inclusive.
  • I am for an art history that helps you find yourself.
  • I am for an art history that is more than the art market.
  • I am for an art history that panders to all levels of understanding.
  • I am for an art history that tells the artist's story.
  • I am for an art history that is more lively, multimedia (videos that are for regular people).
  • I am for an art history that has cultural context.
  • I am for an art history that doesn't smell like mothballs.
  • I am for an art history that doesn't have a dated tone.
  • I am for an art history that embraces global perspectives.
  • I am for an art history that is about the audience.
  • I am for art history that isn't heinous.
  • I am for an art history that is accessible.
  • I am for a pop culture that is about history.
  • I am for an art history that includes spatial and institutional context.
  • I am for an art history that studies relevant material, instead of wrapping my head around a broken chair that made someone's career.
  • I am for an art history that with great power comes great responsibility. #spiderman
  • I am for an art history that includes textiles and clothing as art.
  • I am for an art history that acknowledges cultural appropriation and the effects of colonization.
  • I am for an art history that isn't art history.
  • I am for an art history that is fart history.
  • I am for an art history that explores the failures of art history.
  • I am for an art history that is not more important than the making of art.
  • I am for an art history that has its own language.
  • I am for an art history that understands itself.
  • I am for an art history that knows where it came from.
  • I am for an art history with an odd sense of humor. An art history that wears a noose around its neck and says, “Hang in there!” Art history needs and honest smile and a mischievous gleam in its eyes.
  • I am for an art history that exposes the truth.
  • I am for an art history that replaces beauty with dirt and dust.
  • I am for an art history that is prepared to discover.
  • I am for an art history that appreciates stick figure drawings and notebook doodles.
  • I am for an art history that hangs on my refrigerator when I have children.
  • I am for an art history that is not just “his story” but our story.
  • I am for an art history that is accessible and unfathomable.
  • I am for an art history that Dennis can’t menace and Quaid can aid.
  • I am for an art history that farts history.
  • I am for an art history that starts mystery.
  • I am for an art history that can be comic sans the BS.
  • I am for an art history that is stuck in visceral flux.
  • I am for an art history that throws bouquets, not molotovs.
  • I am for an art history that remembers the 5th of November.
  • I am for and art history that will do anything for its children.
  • I am for an art history that is actively involved in the present.
  • I am for an art history that changes students’ majors.
  • I am for an art history that is about paintings that can speak to a younger generation that is just getting the hang of thinking like intellectuals.
  • I am for an art history that is more than just a “Where’s Waldo” of hidden symbolism.
  • I am for an art history that consists of more than just what will make your Instagram or Facebook wall look pretty and colorful.
  • I am for an art history that challenges the core of my beliefs.
  • I am for an art history that looks more like a kaleidoscope than a black and white family photo.
  • I am for an art history that rages against the dying of the light.
  • I am for an art history that shuns the haughty and superior attitude of the educated in favor of an understanding and patient attitude that strives to educate the next generation.
  • I am for an art history that not only takes the side of the victor.
  • I am for an art history that isn't just ancient.
  • I am for an art history that embraces the vulgarity of life, and its beauty.
  • I am for an art history that goes beyond a dark classroom with a painting stared at from a shitty projector.
  • I am for an art history that glorifies the art, not the artist.
  • I am for an art history that doesn't make me go cross-eyed.
  • I am for an art history that shows people the ways in which their knowledge has been constructed and manipulated to certain ends, and opens dialogue for deconstructing preconceived notions of other people and cultures.
  • I am for an art history that isn't afraid to wear its politics on its sleeve.
  • I am for an art history that makes the world more beautiful.
  • I am for an art history that changes people's lives.
  • I am for an art history that shares the story and celebrates the source and the storyteller.
  • #iamforanarthistorythat is horizontal, "horizontal art history in a global perspective." (Piotr Piotrowski)
  • #iamforanarthistorythat engages in guerrilla tactics, #guerrillaarthistory.
  • I am for an art history that makes my students jump up and down with glee.
  • I am for an art history that reaches out across economic, social, linguistic, cultural, racial and gender divides.
  • I am for an art history that sets artists' creative juices flowing.
  • I am for an art history that recognizes that critical theory has the potential to be inclusive to the people it excludes.
  • I am for an art history that does not alienate people of lower socio-economic status who don't have access to the higher education that is necessary to decipher academic jargon.
  • I am for an art history that enjoys the silence.
  • I am for an art history that evokes me to appreciate the numerous aspects of culture, spirituality, religion, class, feminism, and socialization.
  • I am for an art history that enlightens me to ponder and converse in the different aspects of art.
  • I am for an art history that opens up a new world of intelligence of which everyone can be a part.
  • I am for art histories, plural and contentious.
  • I am for an art history that is as engaged with the present as the past.
  • I am for an art history that uses archaeology, anthropology, and history to analyze all art forms despite preconceived notions of their worth.
  • I am for an art history that helps teenagers to be better people in the world.
  • I am for an art history that doesn't make me go cross-eyed.
  • I am for an art history that glorifies the art, not the artist.
  • I am for an art history that goes beyond a dark classroom with a painting stared at from a shitty projector.
  • I am for an art history that embraces the vulgarity of life, and its beauty.
  • I am for an art history that isn't just ancient.
  • I am for an art history that is now.
  • #iamforanarthistorythat obliterates the narrative arc of the "Canon" in favor of multiplicity, complexity, and provisionality.
  • I am for an art history that isn't afraid to get nerdy.
  • I am for an art history that isn't afraid to make mistakes.
  • I am for an art history that acts first, asks later.
  • I am for an art history that strives not to find the right answer, but to ask the right question.
  • I am for an art history that contextualizes form AND function.
  • I am for an art history that exposes and expands.
  • I am for an art history that isn't afraid of feminism.
  • I am for an art history that works back in to the museum and gallery structures to reveal the multiple narratives and perspectives with critical, collaborative feminist exhibitions.
  • I am for an art history that doesn't get arrested.
  • I am for an art history that gets away with it.
  • I am for an art history that has more craft.
  • I am for an art history that never forgets that art makes us human; it speaks to us from the past and sings into the future.
  • #iamforanarthistorythat writes manifestos again!
  • #iamforanarthistorythat crushes on Courbet.
  • #iamforanarthistorythat is peripatetic in its thinking and grounded in its practice.
  • #iamforanarthistorythat pays attention.
  • #iamforanarthistorythat responds to the question #IAmanArtHistorianBecause.
  • #iamforanarthistorythat takes #risks.
  • I am for an art history that opens up questions rather than insisting upon answers, that can reveal the monumentality of a single gesture, that savors quiet contemplation.
  • I am for an art history that does something other than sit on its ass in a darkened classroom.
  • I am for an art history that helps people learn about themselves.
  • I am for an art history that tells a story, and like any good storyteller, raises more questions than it answers.
  • I am for an art history that asks nicely.
  • I am for an art history that inspires the lay public and engages the scholarly community.
  • I am for an art history that gets back to the basics of drawing as the foundation of visual composition (painting, architecture, design, cinematic storytelling, and so on); that embraces Raymond Williams' principle of art as rich communication; that is a history of human creativity rather than scientific breakthrough of isms and greatest hits.
  • I am for an art history that considers art in social and cultural context, and that considers the effect that discourse has on what we say about art.
  • I am for an art history that will awe the people, inspire the oddity, and question the paradox.
  • I am for an art history that holds itself accountable.
  • I am for an art history that encompasses the critical historical study of all visual media.
  • I am for an art history that listens to artists.
  • I am for an art history that values questions as much as answers.
  • I am for an art history that helps each and every person make art newly meaningful.
  • I am for an art history that loves me back.
  • I am for an art history that cares what works of art look like, and doesn't just use them as postage-stamp illustrations for theories.
  • I am for an art history based on actual history and actual economics, not an academic Marxism.
  • I am for an art history that believes the patronage of contemporary art is as interesting as the patronage of Renaissance art - and doesn't think that art is irretrievably contaminated by its passage through the marketplace.
  • I am for an art history that is clear in its perceptions, wedded to reason, deeply felt, and yet leaves room for self-criticism, irony and a touch of wildness.
  • I am for an art history that relies on instinct.
  • I am for an art history that makes justice, rings true and reads well.
  • I am for an art history that humanizes the human kind.
  • I am for an art history that is for everyone, that focuses on the value of studying art and the rich possibilities it brings to all, rather than an outdated elitism.
  • I am for an #arthistory that #hashtags.
  • I am for an art history that includes those 3D sterogram posters at the mall - you know the ones - where if you take one and you stare at it but sorta cross your eyes a little bit until the dots blur, or you kinda focus on the reflections on the glass instead of on the colors, then suddenly you see a dolphin jumping over a wolf that's howling at the moon, and it's like it's coming straight at you!
  • I am for an art history that devours this rhubarb pastry.
  • I am for an art history that dares to be anachronistic, that is "willfully anachronistic." (Mieke Bal)
  • I am for an art history that connects the dots.
  • I am for an art history that engenders and feeds the great human gift of curiosity.
  • I am for an art history that is like a jam session for artists, scholars, curators, and collectors.
  • I am for an art history that embraces and respects visual culture.
  • I am for an art history that welcomes artists as collaborators.
  • I am for an art history of the "rowdy proletarian mass." (Redwedge)
  • I am for an art history that sits on olde stones and ponders the chasm of several thousand years.
  • I am for an art history that asks questions beyond Erwin Panofsky's canon of iconologies, beyond Cassirer's symbolic form, beyond Panofsky's reading of Kant.
  • I am for an art history that takes "fashion" out of our methodologies, so that the thinking of Derrida and Aby Warburg are not rejected for being out of date, or that feminism and psychoanalysis, for example, are somehow "old hat."
  • I am for an art history that digs deep and casts a wide net, is exciting and willing to ask bold questions.
  • I am for an art history that isn't afraid of anachronisms, isn't worried about reading Leonardo through Žižek, Michelangelo through Freud.
  • I am for an art history that is interdisciplinary, pays attention to literary theory, film studies, and narratology, structuralism, post-structuralism, Gérard Genette, Michael Ann Holly, and Hal Foster - all at once, if so desired.
  • I am for an art history that embraces the belletristic and the philosophical at the same time.
  • I am for an art history that digs into the past and makes art an undeniable adventure.
  • I am for an art history that helps us understand and love our greatest artistic achievements.
  • I am for an art history that speaks when words fail.
  • I am for an art history that critically examines its history.
  • I am for an art history that is unscripted.
  • I am for an art history that is accessible to everyone.
  • I am for an art history that does not regulate value based on notoriety.
  • I am for an art history that "is not what you see but what you make others see." (Edgar Degas)
  • I am for an art history that investigates why the obvious seems obvious.
  • I am for an art history that remembers where it has been, so that it knows where it is and is aware of where it is going.
  • I am for an art history whose passion sparks a voice that reawakens light into the darkest crevices of this world.
  • I am for an art history that wakes me up loudly every morning with its incessant ringing, ready to take on the world.
  • I am for an art history that reveals the otherwordly which broods there.
  • I am for an art history that is not dry and boring; one that will always pique the interest of one's inner child.
  • I am for an art history that acknowledges its past, does not try to change or run from it, and in doing so enlarges the future.
  • I am for an art history that looks beyond: beyond the canon, beyond the sterile walls of museums and studios, beyond the pages of moldy text books, beyond the realm of calculated, regulated, pre-approved art objects.
  • I am for an art history that "should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable." (Cesar A. Cruz)
  • I am for an art history that finds the perpetual spark that is the duende when it comes to viewing, touching, and experiencing all things art.
  • I am for an art history that navigates technology while remaining fully engaged in the human realm of feeling.
  • I am for an art history that's brave and unhindered, that anticipates an ad hoc academia.
  • I am for an art history that never stops questioning and instead poses more new questions than answers.
  • I am for an art history that ignites, and continuously rekindles, love for art and history.
  • I am for an art history that brings different cultures and time periods into dialogue with each other through the skill of visual analysis.
  • I am for an art history that doesn't care what kind of scholar you call yourself, as long as your work is good.
  • I am for an art history that doesn't set an alarm.
  • I am for an art history that sleeps late and dreams deep.
  • I am for an art history that is more hospitable, scholar to scholar, scholar to artwork, and scholar to public.
  • I am for an art history that is more collaborative.
  • I am for an art history that interests readers from physics, engineering, medicine, and law, but not from newspapers, schools, or politicians.
  • I am for an art history that is object based.
  • I am for an art history that draws everyone into open conversations that art can launch, wherever they lead us.
  • I am for an art history that sustains a discourse that enhances the role and power of art in contemporary society.
  • I am for an art history that enriches students with knowledge and intellectual skills that empower them to be productive and successful in a diverse and culturally rich world.
  • I am for an art history that is tech-friendly and entrepreneurial.
  • I am for an art history that is non-hierarchical and collegial.
  • I am for an art history that is awesome in the fullest sense of the word and open to possibilities.
  • I am for an art history that unmasks the histories of cultural politics without discarding visual pleasure.
  • I am for an art history that teaches us to love art, then shows us what’s wrong with that picture.
  • I am for an art history that can hear a pin drop.
  • I am for the art history that realizes that art and history and research and discovery are always going to be fundamentally important, so let's not always be so defensive in our pursuits, but open for more discussion.
  • I am for an art history that sincerely believes that art itself is a continuous manifestation of the human condition and that it IS important (even when our President - still love the guy - makes an off-handed joke, or funds begin to diminish).
  • I am for an art history that challenges scholars to speak less esoterically and to consider and truly value perceptions different from their own.
  • I am for an art history that acknowledges the history of art *and those who were left out of that history.
  • I am for an art history that gives context to my life.
  • I am for an art history that opens my eyes to new things and challenges my mind to new ideas.
  • I am for an art history that jumps over its borders instead of policing them, that continually questions its canon and recreates it anew, that leaves facts and dates to the internet, that speaks with living artists and non-artists and the person who checks me out at the grocery store.
  • I am for an art history that speaks to the visually illiterate (and by that, I mean people like me).
  • I am for an art history that helps me draw my young children into the mysteries and joy found in art by making it more than it appears; giving the art a story helps draw them into it.
  • I am for an art history that pulls me into a painting that I might have walked by showing me the hidden symbols and meaning. Art history can help to make each painting an I Spy game.
  • I am for an art history of 1,000 footnotes, 1,000 debts, 1,000 ideas from the margins.
  • I am for an art history that forgets most dates, as well as many names and styles -- but remembers humanity, remembers the search.
  • I am for an art history that gives visual context to the expanse and movement of time.
  • I am for an art history that is careful, discerning, and respectful.
  • I am for an art history that always acknowledges the systems which built it and in which it resides.
  • I am for an art history that wants to do, see, and be more than it did/was yesterday.
  • I am for an art history that actively seeks out those who are frustrated or disenchanted.
  • I am for an art history that does not forget the sordid or scandalous past.
  • I am for an art history that can laugh at itself often and loudly.
  • I am for an art history that embraces “an impeccable naïveté…” (Charles Baudelaire)
  • I am for an art history that our political leaders don’t trash.
  • I am for an art history that takes art out of its comfort zone.
  • I am for an art history that helps art do its job.
  • I am for an art history that has a utility beyond the field.
  • I am for an art history that impacts the future through the study of the past.

Authors: [insert your name here]

Lena Liepe, Catherine Holochwost, Daniela Jernigan, Jeanie Ambrosio, Katja Zigerlig, Peter de Staebler, Jordan Amirkhani, Lina Velasquez-Cuervo, Michael Chacon, Daniel Marino, Chloe Mims, Milt Ciplet, Kelly Sullivan, Marie Murray, Rebecca Landry, Betsy Balch, Sarah M. Estrela, Jonathan Wallis, Adeline Rudolph, Nico Maly, Cleo van der Veen, Heather Linger, Ishan Allen, Addison Nace, Sam Stewart, Josh Lucca, Clara Strong, Lillian Burke, Hannah Grover, Rachel Hale, Al Najjar, Jane Foreman, Alexander Schlosser, Austin Miller, Hana Katz Stein, Adam Winton, Megan Gastineau, Timothy DiTocco, Rebecca Tsang, Kenneth Rodriguez, Logan Prager, Briana Okerman, Czdari Lee, Jonathan Kreh, Rachel Cumming, Shreya Aggarwal, Isabelle Klabunde, Sarah M. Estrela, Rufus Jiaan Chen, Alison Kettering, Yvonne K. Widenor, Andrea Pappas, Sarada Natarajan, Anna Garski, Misbah Hirani, Dan Huizinga, Annabel Smith, Manel Trenchs, Claire Kovacs, Sarah Molland, Laura Gelfand, Heather Slania, Rachel Middleman, Sally Deskins, Mary Savig, Renee McGarry, Brittany Lockard, Victoria H.F. Scott, Anne Collins Goodyear, Colleen Denney, Matthew Israel, Caren Neile, Liliana Leopardi, Donald Simpson, Yer Moua, Charles Haxthausen, Jeanne-Marie Musto, Rebecca Herz, Carol Lee Chase, Pepe Karmel, Linda Nochlin, Kenneth Silver, Lisa Uddin, Martha Soemantri, Christina Bradstreet, Heather Kolnick, Joanna Hecker, Martha Hollander, Anne Swartz, Daniel Harkett, Vernon Hyde Minor, Kelly Dupree, Charles Palermo, Dani Augustine, Ioannis Tzortzakais, Meghan Kotz, Katryna Vanande, Monica Mitry, Richard Shiff, Amy Grover, Audrey Aurigemma, Ana Juarez, John Torrents, Versel Reid, Whitney Van Wormer, Jordan Wolf, Karina Vallejo, Luckas Arias-Torfs, Molly Davy, Rangsook Yoon, Tina Rivers, James Romaine, James Elkins, Jill Shaw, Maxwell Anderson, Mack Sjogren, Christine Sundt, Alexandra Oliver, Michelle Millar Fisher, Christine Y. Hahn, Norma Broude, Mary D. Garrard, Leslie Sherman, Nora Lenhardt, Monica Rudquist, Karen Kurczynski, Amanda Kopplin, MaryAnn Janosik, Heather Horton, Emma Flood, Tory Davis, Amy K. Hamlin, Karen J. Leader, Alex Bortolot.

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