Three New Articles on Academia.edu
During the month of January 2016, Dr. Jeanne S.M. Willette posted three articles on the website which circulates academic publications, Academia.edu.
“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.
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