MARTIN JAY, DAVID LEVINE, and a sum-up of other goings-on at Critical Theory and the Arts, ’14-’15

-Distinguished critic and intellectual historian, MARTIN JAY (UC Berkeley)—author of The Dialectical Imagination, Downcast Eyes, Marxism and Totality and many other works on critical theory—ushers in the Spring semester with a visit to CTA in early January for a lawless open seminar with students and faculty. No papers. No readings. No preparations. Just spur-of-the-moment questions for spur-of-the moment answers.

-Distinguished environmental activist ALBERT BUTZEL visits CTA to discuss his lifelong effort to protect the environment, what the law can and cannot accomplish in these struggles, and what room there is—or isn’t—for innovative legal strategies in contending with corporations. In particular, we will discuss the effort to save Storm King Mountain in the 1960s-70s, and Albert Butzel’s central role in establishing what truly deserves to be called a landmark case of environmental defense that became, in fact, the basis of much modern environmental law.

-Dr. STEPHEN BLUM, Professor of Musicology at CUNY, talks about the compositional practice of Charles Ives and Gustav Mahler. In particular, Professor Blum intends to discuss how Ives and Mahler transformed and recomposed quotations and fragments from popular and traditional music in several of their major works.

-OBIE Award winning artist and writer–DAVID LEVINE–teaches “ON THE SPECTACLES” this Spring at Critical Theory and the Arts. David’s work includes performances at MOMA, Mass MOCA, Documenta xii, Gavin Brown@ Passerby, Tanya Leighton Gallery, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and the Watermill Center; video, photographic, and installation work at Blum and Poe Gallery (LA), Untitled Gallery (NY), Galerie Feinkost (Berlin), ISCP (New York), TPW Gallery (Toronto), Matadero (Madrid), HAU2 (Berlin), and Goethe Institute New York. Beyond his OBIE Award (2013), he has received grants from: NYSCA, NYFA, Florence Gould Foundation; German Federal Cultural Foundation; and fellowships from: Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard, MacDowell Colony; Village Voice OBIE award, 2013

-2014-2015 Artist-in-residence JEANNE SILVERTHORNE returns to continue a discussion that started at the tip of the Fall semester, on the possibility of several extinctions underway in the situation of the arts and artists: “post-studio” production and social media challenge many of the fundamental assumptions of a private practice including notions of interiority, the creative potential of some degree of isolation, intimacy and the presupposition of an immediate, individual relationship with a viewer—all realities that are now vanishing.

-Pianist AARON LIKNESS (our resident performer) prepares four concerts for this academic year that will introduce students to experimental compositional work of the 20th century. The first concert marks a turning point in the emergence of musical experimentalism, including pieces by Erik Satie, Claude Debussy, and composers from the New York School, including Morton Feldman and Earle Brown.

-Architect GEORG WINDECK (Cooper Union/Critical Theory and the Arts) presents a seminar in Fall 2014, “Art City, City Art: On Site.” The seminar originates in Max Weber’s observation that “without cities, there is no art history.” Professor’s Windeck’s seminar investigates one aspect of Weber’s observation by studying the relation between the built environment of art institutions in NYC in their complex relation to other urban functions and structures. Recently, seminar lectures have prepared students for studies of Roosevelt Island, the Cloisters, and the memorials, monuments and towers of Lower Manhattan. Professor Windeck’s seminar amounts to a consideration of New York City itself; readings and discussions draw on contemporary urban and architectural critics: a very large topic.

-2014-2015 Guggenheim Fellow artist MOWRY BADEN joins program chair, Robert Hullot-Kentor, in the second half of his seminar on “The Arts, their History, and the United States.”

-Sociologist, JEREMY COHAN (CTA) will be in Chicago this year working on a study of the history of the Chicago Teachers Union and what this union’s complex history has to do with the situation of education in Chicago–a matter relevant to the situation of education nationwide. In Spring 2015, however, Jeremy returns to NYC to lead a mid-semester seminar at CRITICAL THEORY AND THE ARTS on Richard Hofstadter’s distinguished, THE AMERICAN POLITICAL TRADITION. Hofstadter called this ‘visibly a young man’s book’. Perhaps that’s what it took to espy the infrastructure of American politics–rancor, moralism, love of property, lack of system, suspicion of democracy–and to raise the pen in protest against heroes who don’t deserve the honor. We, with Hofstadter, ask: Can we pry open the narrow bounds of citizenship?

– CTA faculty member JOHN CLEGG (economist, activist) heads up the Spring session of the “Serious Times” Proseminar, with plans for a series of discussions on money and capitalism.

-Visiting professor OLIVER DECKER (Leipzig), a sociologist and psychoanalyst, presents to the students on the history of social research, and get them started on a social research project of their own.