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by Marci Janas '91

LINDA WEINTRAUB, internationally noted art curator and author has been named Oberlin College's first Henry R. Luce Professor in the Emerging Arts. The new professorship is funded for six years by a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation. Weintraub joined the faculty on July 1.

"It is a great privilege to be Oberlin's first Luce Professor in the Emerging Arts," Weintraub says. "I look forward to working with Oberlin's fine faculty to anticipate the emerging arts, analyze their implications, and invent ways to cultivate the talents of those who will soon be their producers: today's students. Oberlin College, distinguished for its commitment to inspiring as well as educating its students, seems like the ideal institution to undertake this unique and timely initiative."


Weintraub will offer new interdisciplinary courses that explore the historical context and cultural ramifications of the emerging arts. She will also conduct seminars with faculty from the art and humanities disciplines to develop a shared understanding of new interdisciplinary arts and to create related curricula.

"We are living in an era," she says, "in which artists conceive of 'data babies' that they put up for adoption on the Internet. Composers create multidisciplinary symphonies by improvising with an orchestra of more than 70 musicians, dancers, poets, actors and the members of the audience. Ants have been tracked, boxing has been studied, surveillance tactics have been adopted, DNA has been sold, barricades have been constructed, and the Mississippi has been swum, all as forms of art. Vampirism has even been revived and has entered the contemporary cultural arena in its original form as a ritual of love."

"The new Luce Professor," says Conservatory dean Robert Dodson, "has an ability to penetrate and to explicate with clarity the structures of relevance and meaning implicit in what for many is most perplexing and confusing in contemporary artistic expression."

"Linda Weintraub," says Clayton Koppes, College of Arts and Sciences dean, "is ideally situated by training and experience to provide a theoretical and pedagogical basis for students and faculty in the emerging arts."

Weintraub's range of interest and know-ledge embraces such diverse subjects as premodern art in Vienna, Latin American art, Thomas Hart Benton, Buckminster Fuller, the Russian avant garde, and food as art. She has written books including Painted Bodies of the Americas (Harry N. Abrams, 1999) and Art on the Edge and Over: Searching for Art's Meaning in Contemporary Society, 1970s-1990s (Art Insights, 1996). Her forthcoming Creative Options for Contemporary Artists addresses the challenge of preparing students to define their roles within the emerging arts.

This year her exhibition The Art of Body Crafting opens an international tour in Santiago, Chile. Weintraub has curated more than 50 exhibitions at Bard College, where she served as director of the Edith C. Blum Art Institute from 1982 to 1992; and at Muhlenberg College, where she was director of the Philip Johnson Center for the Arts from 1979 to 1982.

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