As I look back on this year, I am humbled by the incredible privilege we all share in being part of the School of Art at Carnegie Mellon University, and certain that such privilege makes it our duty as artists, thinkers, and visionaries to help move society forward. Art has always played a role in how society and the individual evolve, and art schools—as platforms for the new, and spaces for those who reside outside of normative culture—have held a unique place in art’s history. This has been an exciting year for our School, full of positive change and growth, and I want to take this opportunity to highlight some of our accomplishments.
This spring the School announced major changes to its facilities, the largest in nearly twenty years. In the fall of 2019, the School will open a new graduate facility providing eighteen individual studios, expansive common areas, a study space, administrative offices, and a nearly thirteen hundred square-foot flexible-use space. In addition to transforming the graduate experience, the relocation of the program will allow for a much-needed expansion of undergraduate facilities in areas currently occupied by the graduate program.
Academically, the School of Art took strides forward within its BXA curriculum, introducing the first Engineering & Arts major, which joins our other dual degrees (with computer science, the humanities, and science). We are also excited to welcome two new faculty members to the School this fall: Dr. Jongwoo Kim in Critical Studies and Johannes DeYoung in Electronic and Time-Based Media. This past year we hosted one of our largest and best-attended lecture series, with fourteen artists and thinkers including radical figures such as Chelsea Manning, Andrea Zittel, and Cristóbal Martínez.
Our students’ work on unconventional projects during this year reached across disciplines, challenged societal biases, and applied groundbreaking technology to complex problems. This fall, School of Art students worked with students in music, computer science, the BXA program, and the IDeATe network to present a music and art festival in a limestone mine. Senior Zaria Howard applied machine learning and computer vision techniques to identify, annotate, and organize the Carnegie Museum of Art’s vast collection of photographs by Teenie Harris. Finally, helping to recognize the underrepresentation of women of color in the digital art space, Fifth Year Scholar Lauren Valley launched “Electric Women,” a new online platform that shines a light on these important artists.
Our faculty have produced their own impressive work. Among the highlights: Professor Angela Washko’s solo exhibition “The Game: The Game” appeared at the Museum of the Moving Image. Professor Imin Yeh’s work is currently on view at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts in a two-person show with Paul Mullins. This past spring, Professor Golan Levin gave the keynote address at the National Arts Educators Association Convention on the importance of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, mathematics) education. Next fall, Professor and MFA Director Jon Rubin and alumnus Mel Bochner are among the elite list of artists participating in the Carnegie International, and Professor Devan Shimoyama will open “Cry Baby,” a major solo exhibition, at The Andy Warhol Museum.
Finally, School of Art alumni have made an impressive impact on the cultural landscape over the last year. Renee Stout (BFA ’80) was awarded the 2018 Women’s Caucus for Art Lifetime Achievement Award, while Peter Burr (BFA ’02) won a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship. Kathy Lee (BHA ’15), better known as techno musician Yaeji, garnered extensive attention this year with the release of a new EP; performed at Coachella; and has continued to push music in new directions, fusing what The New Yorker described as “U.K. rave, the deep kicks of New York house, and, occasionally, the stringed flourishes of traditional Korean folk.”
In closing, I would like to thank the entire School community—our students, faculty, staff, alumni, and supporters. It has been a significant year of change and growth for the School, and we have many other exciting initiatives on the horizon. I wish everyone a fantastic summer, and I look forward to meeting the class of 2022 next fall!
Regina and Marlin Miller Head of School
School of Art
Carnegie Mellon University