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Art historian Linda Nochlin chosen President's Distinguished Visitor, to give public talk

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. (September 10, 2004) — Renowned art scholar and author Linda Nochlin, just named the twelfth President's Distinguished Visitor by president Frances D. Fergusson, will discuss "Why Contemporary Art is Great: Two Women, One Man," on Monday, September 20 at 6: 00 p.m. in Taylor Hall 102. A reception to honor Linda Nochlin will be held from 4:30-5:30 p.m. the same day in the college's Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center.

Nochlin may be best known for her 1971 essay Why Have There Been No Great Woman Artists, which attempted to analyze both the concept of "greatness" in art and the social and institutional structures preventing women from achieving major status in the art world. At Vassar, Nochlin will reflect on a new definition of greatness, as women have gained more respect in the art world.

"I believe that contemporary art is 'great' not in some solemn, final and judgmental sense, but in the way we say something is great when it moves us, makes us think, or forces us to see the familiar world in a new, and perhaps highly disturbing light," said Nochlin, the Lila Acheson Wallace Professor of Modern Art at the Institute of Fine Arts of New York University. "The three artists I will be talking about — Jenny Saville, Sam Taylor-Wood, and Robert Gobe — are all great in this exhilarating and revelatory way. They afford us deep sensual pleasure at the same time they force us to question our previous notions about the representation of the body."

A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Vassar College in philosophy, and former member of the college's art history faculty (1963-1979), Linda Nochlin specializes in the art of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, particularly on the work of the realist painter Gustave Courbet, the Impressionists, and issues concerning the representation of women and the work of women artists. Nochlin has also served on the art history faculty at Yale, the City University of New York Graduate Center, Hunter College, and Columbia University, and her fellowships have included the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Guggenheim Foundation. Nochlin received her M.A. in English from Columbia and her doctorate in art history from NYU.

Nochlin will be awarded the President's Distinguished Visitor medal, and lead various activities with students and faculty, during her stay at the college. Vassar's previous honorees have been Frances Sternhagen (2000), Meryl Streep (1997), Jane Kramer (1994), Elinor Guggenheimer (1991), June Jackson Christmas (1988), Elizabeth Eisenstein (1988), Vera Rubin (1987), Nancy Graves (1986), Harriet F. Pilpel (1985), Dr. Mary Steichen Calderone (1983), and Mary McCarthy (1982).

For more information, please call Jeff Kosmacher, Director of Media Relations, at (845) 437-7404. Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations should contact Cathy Jennings at (845) 437-5370. Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential, liberal arts college founded in 1861.

Posted by Office of Communications Friday, September 10, 2004