The Block Muse

A Feast of Astonishments: Emerging Scholars Symposium (April 29, 2016)

Emerging Scholars Symposium

Friday, April 29
10AM–2PM - Panel Presentations
John Evans Alumni Center
1800 Sheridan Road

Charlotte Moorman’s innovative performance art, collaborations with other artists, and founding and coordination of the Annual Avant Garde Festival of New York from 1963 through1980 made her a fixture in the New York art scene as well as a significant—albeit understudied—figure in the history of contemporary art. In conjunction with the Mary and Leigh Block Museum’s exhibition, A Feast of Astonishments: Charlotte Moorman and the Avant-Garde, 1960s–1980s, the Emerging Scholars Symposium welcomes six graduates students from PhD programs across the country to present papers on Moorman’s life and work and the larger impact of her creative vision on artistic practice from the 1960s to the present.

10 AM - Panel #1: Collaborations and Contexts
Moderated by Elise Archias, PhD, Assistant Professor, School of Art and Art History, University of Illinois at Chicago

  • Saisha Grayson, PhD candidate in Art History, Graduate Center, CUNY, "Producing Platforms: Charlotte Moorman, Lucy Lippard and Catalytic Curating"

  • Caitlin Schmid, PhD candidate in Historical Musicology, Harvard University, "Musicians Using Bizarre Sounds’: Charlotte Moorman’s New York Avant Garde Festival and Performance Art as Music"

11:15 AM - Panel #2: The Body
Moderated by Laura Joseph, PhD, Consulting Curatorial Associate, A Feast of Astonishments: Charlotte Moorman  and the Avant-Garde, 1960s–1980s

  • Sophie Landres, PhD candidate in Art History and Criticism, Stony Brook University, "Deus Ex Machina: How Charlotte Moorman and Nam June Paik First  Humanized Technology"

  • Hayan Kim, PhD candidate in Art History, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, "Legacy of the Living Sculpture: Charlotte Moorman and Nam June Paik,1965-1972"          

1PM  Panel #3: Popular Media and Persona

Moderated by Michelle Puetz, PhD, Pick-Laudati Curator of Media Arts, Block Museum

  • Chris Reeves, PhD student in Art History, University of Illinois at Chicago, "Late Night Avant-Garde"

  • Evelyn Kreutzer, PhD student in Screen Cultures, Northwestern University, "Of Water Tanks and TV Bras: Media Self-Reflexivity and the Implied Listener in the Video and Performance Art of Charlotte Moorman and Nam June Paik"

4PM - Keynote & Reception
Block Museum of Art

Kristine Stiles: "Public Figures and Breakers of Laws: A Critique of Contemporary Performance Art"

The day's discussions will culminate in a keynote lecture by Kristine Stiles. Stiles is the France Family Professor of Art, Art History & Visual Studies at Duke University  (Ph.D. 1987, University of California at Berkeley). She specializes in interdisciplinary experimental art, from performance and conceptual art to violence, destruction, and trauma in art. Her latest book is Concerning Consequences: Studies in Art, Destruction, and Trauma (University of Chicago Press, 2016). She edited, annotated, and wrote the survey essay for Correspondence Course: An Epistolary History of Carolee Schneemann and Her Circle (Duke University Press 2010), among many other publications.

Panel Presenters: 

Saisha M. Grayson is a Ph.D candidate at the Graduate Center, CUNY, where she focuses on contemporary art, performance, feminist theory, and exhibition history. She is currently working to on her dissertation, “Cellist, Catalyst, Collaborator: The Work of Charlotte Moorman,” as a Predoctoral Fellow at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. From 2011 until February 2016, she was Assistant Curator at the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum, where she organized the Museum’s presentation of “Wangechi Mutu: A Fantastic Journey,” curated “Chitra Ganesh: Eyes of Time,” and co-curated the still-open Agitprop! exhibition (up through August!). Prior to her tenure at the Museum, Grayson taught at Queens College, did freelance curating, writing, editing, and communications consulting.  Recently published pieces include essays on Andrea Geyer, for her latest catalogue, and Tracey Moffatt, for Moving Image Review and Art Journal (MIRAJ). 

Hayan Kim is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Art History, and education coordinator at the Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her dissertation “Play: Early Video Art and American Television Ecosystem” examines how works by Nam June Paik, Dara Birnbaum, Dan Graham, TVTV, and Videofreex echoed the growing political and ecological consciousness in American society during the 1960s and 1970s. Her research has been supported by the Graduate College at UIUC and the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Evelyn Kreutzer is a PhD student in the Radio/Television/Film Department at Northwestern University. She holds a B.A. in American Studies and German Literature from the Freie Universität Berlin and an M.A. in Screen Cultures from Northwestern University. She has interned at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and worked at the John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies, Berlin. Her research interests include media spatiality and intermedia art; museum studies; as well as film music and sound studies.

Sophie Landres is a PhD candidate in Art History and Criticism at Stony Brook University.  Her dissertation, “Body, Law, Instrument: Charlotte Moorman’s Early Performances with Nam June Paik” examines how Moorman and Paik adapted musical practices to contest social and compositional control over performing bodies.  Sophie received her Master's Degree in Art Criticism and Writing from the School of Visual Arts and her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of Iowa.  Her writing has appeared in numerous publications.  She has also curated exhibitions throughout New York City and most recently, in Marfa, Texas.  From 2014 to 2015, Sophie was the Andrew W. Mellon Global Initiatives Fellow, helping develop Creative Time’s project for the Venice Biennial’s 56th International Art Exhibition.  She previously taught at New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study and currently teaches at the Sotheby’s Institute of Art.

Chris Reeves is a current art history phd student at University of Illinois Chicago. In Winter of 2016 he started "Expanded Art History for Plants," a series of experimental art history lectures at the UIC greenhouse. He is co-founder of Thing-Stead, an ongoing artist book series imprint, and an expanded version of the book "Classical Muddly: the Portsmouth Sinfonia," co-written with Aaron Walker, will be published by Soberscove press in early 2017. 

Caitlin Schmid is a Ph.D. candidate in Historical Musicology at Harvard University.  Her research interests include twentieth-century musical avant-gardes, American music, sound art, and Baroque dance.  She is currently writing a dissertation that explores how four festivals of experimental music in 1960s America (the New York Avant Garde Festival, TudorFest, the Here2 Festival, and FluxFest Kit 2) were produced, performed, and received.  A preview of this work can be found in a series of articles she wrote in spring 2015 for the online publication  Schmid has presented papers at both regional and national conferences and has received numerous grants to support her research, including the John Cage Research Grant from Northwestern University.   


Elise Archias is Assistant Professor of Art History at the University of Illinois, Chicago and was the George Gurney Senior Fellow at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC in February and March. Her book The Concrete Body -- Yvonne Rainer, Carolee Schneemann, Vito Acconci is about the persistence of modernist abstraction in the unlikely site of performance art in the 1960s, and why "embodiment" as an idea needed to be given form so urgently in this period. The book received a Miess/Mellon Author's Book Award in 2015 and will be released by Yale University Press in Fall 2016. This spring, Elise has been presenting new research on the late 1950s paintings of Joan Mitchell, and she is organizing an exhibition at UIC’s Gallery 400 in 2017 on contemporary artists influenced by Yvonne Rainer.

Laura Wertheim Joseph is an independent curator and scholar who specializes in performance, feminism, and gender studies, as well as theories of affect, embodiment, and materiality. She received her PhD from the University of Minnesota’s Department of Art History in 2015. She has curated or served on the curatorial team for a number of exhibitions, including Lynn Hershman Leeson: Investigations (2011) at the Katherine E. Nash Gallery, Minneapolis; Heart/Land: Sandra Menefee Taylor’s Vital Matters (2014) at the Plains Museum, Fargo; and A Feast of Astonishments: Charlotte Moorman and the Avant-Garde 1960–1980 at the Mary and Leigh Block Museum; Evanston. She is currently curating at the Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis. She is the author of a number of publications including, most recently, Ana Mendieta’s first published filmography in Covered in Time and History: The Films of Ana Mendieta (University of California Press and Katherine E. Nash, 2015).

Michelle Puetz is the Pick-Laudati Curator of Media Arts at the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University. Her critical and curatorial work focuses on time-based media and contemporary art, and on the visualization of sound—specifically 16mm optical audio—by artists working in the 1960s and 70s. She was the Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Curatorial at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago from 2013-15 and taught at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the department of Film, Video, New Media and Animation from 2008-15. She received her PhD in Cinema and Media Studies from the University of Chicago in 2012.


Faye Gleisser is a PhD Candidate in Art History at Northwestern University specializing in 20th and 21st art, critical race theory, and biopolitics. Her research interests include transnational cultural exchange, historiography, and the abstraction of social encounter. In the fall of 2016, she will begin her position as Assistant Professor of Contemporary Art at Indiana University. 

Erin Reitz is a PhD candidate in Art History at Northwestern University, specializing in twentieth and twenty-first century art with expertise in the art, visual culture, and politics of the 1960s and 1970s. Her current research focuses on the strategies by which artists and filmmakers of that era tried to inspire militant political consciousness and action. She has been awarded a 2016–2017 Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship in support of her dissertation, “From Oakland to Outer Space: The Political Geographies of the Black Panthers, 1966–1982.” 


This program is co-sponsored by Northwestern’s Department of Art History.