In order to be taken seriously as an artist…

In order to be taken seriously as a career artist, there are some things that are important to know about history, at least if you want to be in galleries and biennials around the world and part of that international conversation.

Among the things to know, are some of the voices of art theory and criticism who have shaped the art world today. Possession of a basic knowledge about these individuals and their contributions not only puts you in better standing as an informed member of your chosen community, it also makes the task of discussing your own work easier as you will have the necessary toolkit to describe your art within a broader context.

Lucy Lippard is one of the icons of conceptual and feminist art theory of a generation. At 80 years old, Lippard is still influencing art through her writing and collaborative projects.

There was a time when Lippard thought she would become a great novelist. She discovered that this was not her strength nor her calling instead embarking on a career as art writer/critic, curator, and activist.

Of writing about art, Lippard has remarked that she enjoys the challenge because one can never quite “get it” when it comes to distilling this topic down into words.

One of Lippard’s watershed books, Six Years: the Dematerialization of the Art Object from 1966-1972 was, in 2012 and 2013, the impetus for a major exhibition at Brooklyn Museum’s Sackler Center for Feminist Art curated by Catherine Morris and Vincent Bonin. This exhibit explored the impact of Lippard’s work in the context of the rise of feminism, civil rights, and antiwar movements.

Lippard and her collaborators once dreamed that their little volumes about art would appeal to the general populace and be found in every airport and drugstore for all to pick up and read. What they realized as time went on was that while these books were not destined to change the world, they certainly were destined to create an enormous wave in the art world.

At home in New Mexico, Lippard continues her activism by taking part in committees and boards shaping the decisions that impact her community. This modern-day activism is a far cry from the protests of the 1960s but is still an effective way to shape policy on the local level and beyond.

Of young women who reject the label of feminist, Lippard says she and her contemporaries have some hard feelings and struggle to grasp the reason behind the rejection.

Lucy Lippard is one important name in a vast sea of art theorists who have shaped the art world we know today. Learning about the people who create the environment in which you live and work is an excellent way to enrich your own career and life in the art world.

Another work by Lucy Lippard, a combination biography/art criticism of the life and work of painter Eva Hesse, serves as a launching pad to one of the Praxis Center art theory modules.

Why not make 2018 the year you connect (or reconnect) with those who have shaped the place you call home and give yourself the intellectual ammunition to take your career to the next level.

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