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Senior Fellowship 2015
Better for the Making: Art, Therapy, Process will offer an expansive historical treatment of the social importance of art that attempts to answer the straightforward but elusive inquiry: When and under what circumstances did people in America come to believe that making art was good for them? The study will begin with the period following the Civil War, when psychology and pragmatist philosophy offered a means of coping with and habituating oneself to the radical contingencies of modern life. While a literature on the development of 19th century notions of rehabilitative craft exists, no one has claimed, as Hudson does, that this appeal to process—here defined as making something without anticipating or requiring an artwork to serve as the apotheosis of one’s engagement with materials and making—is foundational to American visual modernism, and to the eventual turning of process into the category of “Process Art” in the 1960s.
Suzanne Hudson’s work has appeared in such publications as Parkett, Flash Art, Art Journal, and October. A regular contributor to Artforum since 2004, she also has written numerous essays for international exhibition catalogs and artist monographs and lectured widely. She is the author of Robert Ryman: Used Paint (MIT Press, 2009; 2011) and the co-editor of Contemporary Art: 1989–Present (Wiley-Blackwell, 2013). Her most recent book is Painting (Thames & Hudson, 2015). She is currently at work on a manuscript on Agnes Martin.