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“The Language of Art Criticism: What Can Words Do?” A Talk by Seph Rodney

Seph Rodney is interested in the function of art criticism — aside from the obvious work of promoting certain artists or styles, or placing artists, styles, or movements in the historical record. He will speak about what criticism does, perhaps unconsciously, such as signal status or curry favor, or gain or affirm membership in an exclusive club. He will discuss how compelling storytelling can do more than all of this.
Seph Rodney, PhD, was born in Jamaica and came of age in the Bronx, New York. He has an English degree from Long Island University, Brooklyn; a studio art MFA from the University of California, Irvine; and a PhD in museum studies from Birkbeck College, University of London. While in London, he created, produced, and hosted a radio show called The Thread, broadcast on Resonance FM, from 2008 to 2011.

Rodney is a senior editor and writer for Hyperallergic, writing on contemporary art and related issues. He has also written for CNN Op-ed pages, American Craft Magazine and NBC Universal, and penned catalog essays for Joyce J. Scott, Teresita Fernandez, and Meleko Mokgosi. He can be heard on the podcast “The American Age.” His book, The Personalization of the Museum Visit, was published by Routledge in May, 2019.

Presented in partnership with the UMass Departments of Journalism, Afro-American Studies, Art, and History of Art & Architecture.