Professor Miwon Kwon, Chair of UCLA’s Department of Art History

December 2016

On December 2, 2016, we were fortunate to have the opportunity to welcome contemporary art specialist Professor Miwon Kwon, Chair of UCLA’s Department of Art History, who shared with us her experience as a principal investigator in the Mellon-funded collaboration between the UCLA department and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Kwon spoke eloquently and frankly about the challenges of the object-based learning agenda. Her topics included the danger of returning to a model of connoisseurship that appears to be anti-historical and anti-theoretical in nature; the challenge of creating long-term change and impact through permanent curricular change; the difference between object-based learning within the context of an art history PhD and curatorial studies programs; how the knowledge produced and the audiences engaged differ between the academy and the museum, and how to build horizons of continuity across these differences; how to make both the human face of the museum and the many different departments within a museum familiar to students; and the differences between life as a scholar and life in various parts of the museum.