Theory & Practice

Alexander Nemerov and Richard Meyer Join the Department of Art & Art History at Stanford University

The new faculty members look to a future of interdisciplinary collaboration.

By ROBIN WANDER

Stanford University is pleased to announce the appointment on August 1, 2012, of two distinguished scholar-teachers as professors of art history in the Department of Art & Art History: Alexander Nemerov and Richard Meyer.

The arrival of Nemerov and Meyer reinforces Stanford’s preeminent leadership in American art and further enhances the excellence of the department.

Nemerov comes to Stanford as the Carl and Marilynn Thoma Provostial Professor in the Arts and Humanities from Yale University, where he most recently served as chair and professor in the Department of Art History.

The Thoma Chair position, located in the Department of Art and Art History, is explicitly intended to transcend individual departments and connect fields of study across the university.

The arrival of Nemerov and Meyer reinforces Stanford’s preeminent leadership in American art and further enhances the excellence of the department.

A scholar of American art, Nemerov writes about the presence of art, the recollection of the past, and the importance of the humanities in our lives today. Committed to teaching the history of art more broadly as well as topics in American visual culture—the history of American photography, for example—he is a noted writer and speaker about painting, film, photography, and literature.

His most recent books are To Make a World: George Ault and 1940s America (2011), the catalogue to the exhibition of the same title he curated at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and Acting in the Night: Macbeth and the Places of the Civil War (2010).  His new book, Wartime Kiss: Visions of the Moment in the 1940s, will be published by Princeton University Press this fall.

“I am delighted to be at Stanford and to focus on this next phase of my career in the company of such exceptional scholars and collections.  Teaching is very important to me, and I am hoping to carry on the courses I taught at Yale and to develop new ones here, both for undergraduates and graduate students,” states Nemerov.

Meyer was associate professor of art history and fine arts in the Department of Art History at the University of Southern California, where he also directed the interdisciplinary Visual Studies Graduate Certificate Program and the Contemporary Project, a multi-year initiative to forge new dialogues between the academy and the art world.

He recently completed two book projects: Art and Queer Culture, 1885-present, an illustrated survey, and What was Contemporary Art?, a short history of the idea of contemporary art in the United States during the last 100 years.

“I am honored to join the vibrant intellectual community at Stanford University with its world-class faculty, students, and programs. I can’t think of a more exciting environment in which to teach and think about American art and visual culture. I look forward to collaborating with new colleagues in the Department of Art & Art History, at the Cantor Arts Center, and throughout the university,” said Meyer.

Arts Initiative

The new faculty appointments are part of the long-term plan for growth that is made possible by the Stanford Arts Initiative, which was part of the Stanford Challenge that concluded in December 2011.

The Arts Initiative comprises significant investments in the arts across campus, including increased graduate fellowships, new academic and extracurricular programs designed to encourage interdisciplinary collaboration, additional faculty positions and new arts facilities.  The Department of Art & Art History will relocate to a new home, the McMurtry Building, in the developing arts district at the gateway to the university campus in 2015.

The new faculty appointments are part of the long-term plan for growth that is made possible by the Stanford Arts Initiative, which was part of the Stanford Challenge that concluded in December 2011.

The McMurtry Building, designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, will house art history and art practice under one roof.  Department programs are currently housed in several facilities on campus. The vision is to bring the programs together and rethink customary practices as well as strengthening the links between diverse programs.

Diller Scofidio + Renfro is an interdisciplinary design firm that integrates architecture, the visual arts and the performing arts. The firm, which is based in New York City, was chosen for its experience and distinctive approach to architecture for the arts and education. Boora Architects, an Oregon firm considered a leader in the creation of cultural, educational, residential and workplace environments, was selected as executive architect.