Andrew Russeth to explore the impact of visual arts on lecture platform


Andrew Russeth will speak at 10:45 a.m. Thursday, August 9, in the Amphitheater on why art, in all its various forms, is essential to everyday life.

Russeth is an art critic rooted in New York and the co-executive editor of ARTnews. Russeth’s blog, “16 Miles of String” has been supported by the Warhol Foundation of Arts Writers Grant Program.

“In this week focused on art and cross-cultural understanding, Russeth turns our attention to the visual arts, using contemporary art on the Amp stage,” said Matt Ewalt, Institution chief of staff, “much like Silkroad has done with music throughout the week — to help us explore examples and consider the impact of cross-cultural artistic collaboration and dialogue.”

Russeth will be giving a broad overview as he discusses the recent visual arts that have caught his eye and the attention of many others.

“I will be looking at issues of migration and refugees through contemporary arts,” Russeth said. “Also, I will be looking historically at a few artists’ practices.”

Russeth also plans to touch on cultural appropriation within the art world.

“The hope is to throw out a bunch of interesting things that are important to me and the art world,” Russeth said. “If the takeaway could be ‘Art is really important, and it can play a real role in bridging communities and making people understand each other,’ that would be very exciting to me.”

There is so much art being made, and knowing that there is always “something new to see and learn” is what keeps Russeth excited about his work.

Russeth believes social media helps publicize art as it places it on a public platform.

“People used to have to wait until the latest copy of an art magazine to see new art,” Russeth said. “Now, people can go on Instagram as an art show is happening and immediately see photographs of works. Of course, that’s not the full experience; nothing compares to looking at a work in person. But in terms of sheer information and accessibility, we never have been living in a time like now and social media is really instrumental in that.”

According to Russeth, the art world is bigger; however, it is also more competitive.

“I will always take more art and more artists over a few artists,” Russeth said.

To anyone hoping to be an art critic, Russeth advises to “see a ton of art, talk to artists and learn.”

This will be Russeth’s first time at Chautauqua Institution.

“I wanted to come purely off the absolute sterling reputation (Chautauqua) has for putting on incredible programming,” Russeth said. “The fact that Yo-Yo Ma is involved is pretty incredible to me. He’s been a longtime role model of mine. I know everyone loves art at Chautauqua, so I can’t wait to meet everyone.”

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The author Donovan Conaway

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