Towards a new museum: Griselda Pollock
In collaboration with the Holberg Prize, Nasjonalmuseet invites you to a conversation with one of the biggest contributors of our time to art history and understanding of visual culture. Giselda Pollock (b.1949) is an extraordinary, provocative and thought-provoking feminist art historian who has made a strong mark with her extensive analysis, including within disciplines like film science and cultural studies. The conversation is taking place as an extension of Pollock receiving the 2020 Holberg Prize for her “groundbreaking research within feminist art history and cultural studies. In this evenings special episode of Towards a new museum, we meet Pollock in conversation with director of exhibitions and collections, Stina Högkvist.
Since 1990, Griselda Pollock has been a professor of Social and Critical Histories of Art at University of Leeds, where she has contributed to a radical change of the discipline and its inclusion of diversity. As early as 1985 she was already co-founding an interdisciplinary Centre for Cultural Studies and in 1995 Centre for Jewish Studies. In 2001 she founded and became the first director of the trans-disciplinary Centre for Cultural Analysis, Theory and History, a position she still inhabits. Pollock has also has a key influence on the development of feminist film science, and she is still an important inspiration both with and outside of academia.
Pollock’s first major scientific work, Old Mistresses: Women, Art and Ideology from 1981, co-written with Roszika Parker, was a radical criticism of the traditional art history, the established art canon and museum curation. The book has become a classic within feminist art history, and is still highly current. The groundbreaking approach that characterizes Old Mistresses can also been found in other works by Pollock, from her early article in the feminist magazine Spare Rib in the 1970’s to the monographies about artists like Van Gogh (1978, 2020), Mary Cassatt (1980, 1998) and Charlotte Solomon (2018). Her research articles and catalogue texts have become groundwork for artists like Eva Hesse, Louise Bourgeouis and Georgia O’Keefe, and have changed the art historical canon used in teaching and research around the world. A characteristic of Pollock is the ability to combine traditional art historical expertise with innovative, sophisticated theory.
Pollock has also influenced the fields of film science and trauma studies. In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s her work within feminist film theory, especially an article about Hollywood melodrama in the magazine Screen became crucial to the development of film studies as a discipline. In later years the book Concentrationary Cinema (2011), which she edited alongside Max Silverman, inspired a whole branch of research within film- and trauma studies. Pollock’s major work, the monography Charlotte Solomon and the Theatre of Memory (2018), connects this field of research with her feminist work. Here she launches a pioneering analysis of a series of paintings, painted by a young Jewish woman, who later died in Auschwitz.
Through her career, Pollock has published more that 25 books and at least 200 articles and essays. She has always maintained the highest scientific level, whilst also challenged established knowledge and institutionalized hierarchies of thought and value. Thus she has become a beacon for generations of art- and cultural historians.
In later year, Pollock has also participated in discussions about the role of art museum in the public, which will be a topic in tonight’s conversation.
The conversations will be held in English.