New Publications

Three New Articles on

During the month of January 2016, Dr. Jeanne S.M. Willette posted three articles on the website which circulates academic publications,

“Breaking the Begats” is a new look at the famous chart created by Albert Barr, Jr. for the 1936 catalogue, Cubism and Abstract Art. This exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art was designed to show off the collection modern art owned by the museum and the proposed chronology of modern art put forward by Barr. This chronology was more than a timeline, it was a teleological account of the journey and the goal of avant-garde art: abstraction. This re-examination of an eighty year old chart was first given as a paper at the Southeastern College Art Conference in Pittsburgh, October 2015 and asked a simple question: where was the art Alfred Barr placed on his chart?

The ultimate answer led to a second paper, “Return of the Prodigal Painting: Rethinking Courbet’s Jean Journet,” about a painting that had been missing one hundred years. Many of the movements charted by Alfred Barr in 1936 were either sequestered or confiscated and many were ultimately destroyed. Some art was laundered through art dealers in Lucerne and in New York, one of whom was the art dealer to Adolf Hitler, Hildebrand Gurlitt. When an apartment belonging to his son Cornelius was found, stuffed with only lost works of art, many of the missing works came to light. There was two caches, one in the apartment in Munich and one in Salzburg. In November 2015, BBC sent a news crew to Salzburg to film the paintings laid out on tables, awaiting restoration. The video showed a beautiful painting by Gustave Courbet, instantly recognizable as an important work. The Portrait of Jean Journet (1850) had been missing for a century and could not be fully discussed by art historians. This article, published in January of 2016, less than two months after appearing on the BBC video is the first examination of this painting by a contemporary art historian.

In continuing a study on how knowledge is disseminated on the Internet, a new article, “What Counts: Producing Knowledge in a Digital Age,” discusses how scholarly writing is evaluated through “peer review” within the “publish or perish” context,common in traditional academia. Despite the importance of the practice, there is only one book written on the topic, even though lives and careers hang in the balance of an unexamined process of judgment. There however, numerous studies and commentaries and observations that appear from time to time noting the corruption and the lack of honor, morality and ethics in “peer review.” In addition, this article brings in the third leg of the “peer review,” “publish or perish:” promotion within the academic institution. A survey of Faculty Handbooks of numerous colleges and universities revealed two parallel universes–the digital humanities and the idea of peer reviewed journals and/or books printed on paper as being the only acceptable version of scholarship. The study also showed a complete lack of interest in content; the only element that “counted” was the prestige of the publication, not the quality of the actual work itself. This is the first paper to bring all the elements of traditional academic “success” together, indicting that while the digital humanities are building a new future for scholars, traditional academic still refuses to acknowledge an entire field where knowledge is being produced. is an open website. All the public has to do is to join, no fees or dues, just a password.

Dr. Jeanne S. M. Willette Interview of Sandow Birk

An Interview with

Sandow Birk on the American Qur’an

at the

Koplin Del Rio Gallery

Los Angeles, California

September-October, 2014

and the

Orange County Museum of Art

Newport Beach, California

November 8, 2015-February 28, 2016

On the occasion of these two exhibitions of Sandow Birk’s painstaking translation and illustration of the American Qur’an, Dr. Willette interviewed the famed Otis Alumni on his project in the fall of 2014 at the Koplin del Rio Gallery. Over two hundred images or pages of the Qur’an were on display to be carefully read and perused. Each page is accompanied by a contemporary image which, while illustrating, comments upon the contents of the page. Birk asks the Western audience, so used to facile and uninformed accounts of the Muslim faith, to rethink what it has been told and to re-learn from the original source. As a result of this remarkable body of work, Birk was named a United States Artists Knight Fellow for 2014.


Link to the Interview on Vimeo

Dr. Willette featured in Documentary on Freud

In May 2015, a documentary about the philosopher and founder of modern psychology, Sigumund Freud, will be premiered in Israel. Dr. Jeanne S. M. Willette was invited to participate in this significant film. Produced by The Freud-Zaki Production and directed by producer, Zaki Schiff, this film features experts on Freud from Paris, London, New York, San Francisco. Dr. Willette was one of four participants from Los Angeles. The topics she discussed were as follows: Freud’s first and only visit to America, the reception of Freud in American and the use of Freudian theory in American art criticism, the uneasy relationship between Freud and the Surrealists, focusing on André Breton and Salvador Dali, both of whom visited the psychologist, with unsatisfactory results. Finally, she discussed the American nephew of Freud, Edward Bernays, the found of public relations and advertising, which was based upon Freudian theory. It was Bernays who, using his uncle’s ideas of human psychology who taught women to smoke and Americans to eat bacon as part of a “hearty breakfast.”


Freud’s Couch

Hopefully, The Freud-Zaki Production will have an American premiere and an appreciative American audience next summer

Lecture Series at the Orange County Museum of Art



To commemorate the centennial of the “historic avant-garde,” Dr. Jeanne S. M. Willette will present eighteen lectures, sponsored by the Education department of the Orange County Museum of Art and the Visionaries. This series will investigate the rise and fall of the avant-garde in Europe immediately before and during and in the aftermath of the Great War.

Fall Session: Staring with the year 1910, the first session will discuss the avant-garde leading up to the War and the art and the artists will be discussed in particular historical contexts.

Winter Sessions: This series of lectures will discuss art during the War, the artists who lived and those who died and those how never recovered.

Spring Session: After the war, the remaining artists struggled to regain their lives and their former places in a greatly changed art world.


Gino Severini. Visual Synthesis of the Idea: “War” (1914)

Broadcast Interview on WBAI

Dr. Jeanne S. M. Willette on the Prairie Miller Show


This past January 2014, Dr. Willette was featured on the well-known New York radio program with commentator Prairie Miller. The topic of the day on Arts Express was the impact of commercialization of the arts with a special concentration on how artists react under the duress of market conditions.

Listen to the Podcast.