Office Hours: Rachel Haidu teaches Each One Another: The Self in Contemporary Art

April 5th
445 Gold St.
Downtown Brooklyn (City Point BKLYN)

In this conversation, we will be talking about the "self," which used to be understood as one of art's most privileged subjects. Given how much attention we pay to structures of identity--as Samuel Delany once said, “Identities are, thus, by their nature, reductive. (You do not need an identity to become yourself; you need an identity to become like someone else)"--what is left of the self for us to consider? How do we see interiority, oneness, uniqueness, and collectivity through reconsidering selfhood in art? Looking at shapes in painting, characters in film and video, and roles in dance, our conversation will consider how art lets us feel and think about our mutating and successive selves.


Each One Another: The Self in Contemporary Art

 With Each One Another, Rachel Haidu argues that contemporary art can teach us how to understand ourselves as selves—how we come to feel oneness, to sense our own interiority, and to shift between the roles that connect us to strangers, those close to us, and past and future generations. Haidu looks to intergenerational pairings of artists to consider how three aesthetic vehicles––shape in painting, characters in film and video, and roles in dance––allow us to grasp selfhood. Better understandings of our selves, she argues, complement our thinking about identity and subjecthood.
She shows how Philip Guston’s figurative works explore shapes’ descriptive capacities and their ability to investigate history, while Amy Sillman’s paintings allow us to rethink expressivity and oneness. Analyzing a 2004 video by James Coleman, Haidu explores how we enter characters through their interior monologues, and she also looks at how a 2011 film by Steve McQueen positions a protagonist’s refusal to speak as an argument for our right to silence. In addition, Haidu examines how Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker’s distribution of roles across dancers invites us to appreciate formal structures that separate us from one another while Yvonne Rainer’s choreography shows how such formal structures also bring us together. Through these examples, Each One Another reveals how artworks allow us to understand oneness, interiority, and how we become fluid agents in the world, and it invites us to examine—critically and forgivingly—our attachments to selfhood.

This event is part of McNally Jackson's single-session seminar program, Office Hours, where we invite authors and scholars to lecture on their work. These intimate seminars are capped at 15 people to facilitate deep discussion. If cost is a prohibiting factor, please email Books are available for ship out or pick up before of the event to give attendees ample reading time ahead of the seminar. We encourage folks to arrive prepared to listen, discuss, and socialize!

Rachel Haidu is associate professor of art history and visual and cultural studies at the University of Rochester. She is the author of The Absence of Work: Marcel Broodthaers 1964-1976.



(Ticket price includes the copy of the book and shipping, if applicable)
SKU: 9780226823416seminar
Price: $55.00