Avenues Artist in Residence Program Welcomes Meredith Mowder

Kate Howard
Curriculum Specialist for the Visual and Performing Arts, Avenues: The World School

The Avenues Artist in Residence (A.I.R.) program brings a cross section of creative professionals into the school to share their passions and expertise with our community and inspire our students to think, make and learn through collaborative projects and experiences.

This year, we’ve had the privilege of working with visual artist Mickalene Thomas (Avenues parent), pop-up book artist Colette Fu, dancer Joseph Woodson, theater director Alexandra Aron and art historian Meredith Mowder, who kicked off the 9th grade students’ return from spring break with the first of a series of four mini art history lectures on modern art.

Ms. Mowder set the historical stage for the development of modernism.

Ms. Mowder set the historical stage for the emergence of modernism.

Ms. Mowder started her lecture with the following question: What is Modernism? She quickly set the historical stage for one of the most innovative periods in creative thinking and making to date. Our 9th graders traveled from Édouard Manet, Luncheon on the Grass, 1863, to Wassily Kandinsky, Improvisation 28, 1912, in under an hour! While the lecture format is new to our freshmen they fared well and embraced the narrative while fine-tuning the skills of listening and note taking.

By exploring the social, economic, political and aesthetic contexts for the artistic developments of the last century, our hope is that students will grasp the historical context for understanding works of contemporary art exhibited in the neighboring Chelsea galleries and beyond. If the learning outcome proves successful, the intention is to incorporate this mini-lecture model into the freshman curriculum moving forward.

The 9th graders took notes during the lecture.

The 9th graders took notes during the lecture.

Meredith Mowder teaches courses on modern and contemporary art at Hunter College, CUNY, and is a Joan Tisch Teaching Fellow at the Whitney Museum of American Art. As a Ph.D. candidate and Enhanced Chancellor’s Fellow in art history at The Graduate Center, CUNY, Meredith is completing a dissertation on performance art in downtown New York during the 1980s. She has presented her research nationally and internationally, and contributed to numerous publications. She has also edited the first monograph of performance art duo Fischerspooner, titled, Fischerspooner: New Truth (Damiani/Artbook, 2014).
If you are interested in hearing Ms. Mowder speak yourself, on April 28 from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. she will be giving a lecture entitled “From Modernism to Postmodernism and Beyond” in the Black Box Theater. All members of the Avenues community are welcome.