Alpesh Patel and Kristi McGuire Named Critical Studies and Humanities Fellows at Cranbrook Academy of Art

Alpesh Patel (L) and Kristi McGuire (R).

BLOOMFIELD HILLS, MICH., June 24, 2016 — Cranbrook Academy of Art is pleased to announce the appointment of two fellows to our Critical Studies and Humanities program for the 2016-2017 academic year.

Our Fall Critical Studies and Humanities Fellow is Alpesh Kantilal Patel, an Assistant Professor in Contemporary Art and Theory and Director of the MFA program in the Visual Arts at Florida International University (FIU) in Miami. His art criticism, curating, and art historical scholarship reflects his queer, anti-racist, and transnational approach to contemporary art. He is publishing the monograph, “Productive Failure: Writing Transnational South Asian Art Histories” in 2017.

While at Cranbrook, Patel will focus on how globalization tends to overlook how images function within specific sites and times. His lectures will scale down the global to the local and the regional/transregional to examine the production, circulation, and consumption of contemporary art and design.

Patel has contributed to journals and helped edit books on queer and haptic Brown Atlantic, agonistic museum viewing practices, and failed decolonial “spicticles.” He is a frequent contributor to Hyperallergic,Artforum, Art in America, and frieze. As a curator, he helped establish FIU’s Miami Beach Urban Studios where he organized WOMEN我們 and solo exhibitions of Mounir Fatmi and Tom Scicluna. In 2007, he produced the exhibition Mixing It Up: Queering Curry Mile and Currying Canal Street in Manchester, England.

“Alpesh Patel will help our students situate their work both theoretically, nationally and globally, as well as in the context of contemporary identity politics,” said Sarah Turner, Dean of Cranbrook Academy of Art. “Dr. Patel exemplifies the spirit of the Critical Studies Fellowship, bringing not only engaging and committed scholarship to our students, but also an open and generous spirit. He will be ready to share his work, but at the same time, allow himself to be influenced by the work of our students.”

Our Spring Critical Studies and Humanities Fellow is Kristi McGuire, an artist-educator, writer and editor based in Chicago. Since 2011, she has taught in the Department of Visual and Critical Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has also served as the Web and New Media Editor for the University of Chicago Press for the past 10 years. Her research and teaching focuses on production-based studios of radical cultural inscription, the relationship between historical grief work and conspiracy theory, contemporary art’s fetish of the 1990s, and critical theory’s affective legacies.

She is the coeditor of “Theorizing Visual Studies” (Routledge, 2012) and her writing has appeared in publications such as the Believer, Chicago Review, the Chicago School of Media Theory, and Daily Serving, where it has manifested in the form of performance texts, poems, catalogue essays, introductions to edited collections, art criticism, emendations, and other types of marginalia.

In her practice, she manipulates written forms to render the visible or “natural” world strange, thereby calling attention to the seemingly intimate ways that we encounter (and engender) capital in our daily lives. In her collaborative editorial practice, which often focuses on the labor a text “performs,” she has worked with independent art publishers and institutions such as Soberscove Press, DOMINICA, Sternberg Press, the Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, along with an array of artists, scholars, and institutions.

At Cranbrook, McGuire’s fellowship will focus on the relationship between neoliberalism and contemporary art, as well as the poetics of political economy, or the consequences of transforming speech into capital.

“Kristi McGuire will bring an exciting level of energy and agility in thinking to the fellowship program” says Turner. “Her ideas reach across studies of economy and labor practices while also situating contemporary art practices across many modes – writing, performance, studio practice and social engagement. This approach is an excellent fit for our students, who themselves move quickly across a variety of forms of expression.”

The Critical Studies and Humanities Fellowship at Cranbrook Academy of Art was launched in 2009 to respond to the most current intellectual climates within contemporary art, design and architecture. Our Visiting Critical Studies and Humanities Fellows create opportunities for students to have a sustained and active role in exploring the ideas of a noted scholar, artist, and critic from outside the Cranbrook community.

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