Martha Buskirk

Martha Buskirk

Fellow: Awarded 2015
Field of Study: Fine Arts Research

Competition: US & Canada

Martha Buskirk’s Guggenheim fellowship will allow her to continue work on a new book examining contemporary artistic production as one aspect of a broad field of cultural activity. A crucial element of this research focuses on advocacy around artist’s rights. Equally important will be the analysis of relationships between artistic authorship and legal definitions of intellectual property, together with her investigation of how proprietary control over cultural forms can be at odds with public interest.

The current research is part of a long-standing exploration of challenges posed by transformations in contemporary art and culture. Her recent book, Creative Enterprise: Contemporary Art between Museum and Marketplace (Continuum, 2012), surveys the institutional and economic interests that shape both the reception of art and its creation. Her earlier book, The Contingent Object of Contemporary Art (MIT Press, 2003), considers transformations in the nature of the object and artistic authorship through an examination of such linked pairs as original and copy, object and context, performance and document, or permanence and impermanence.

She is also co-editor of The Duchamp Effect with Mignon Nixon (MIT Press, 1996) and The Destruction of Tilted Arc: Documents (MIT Press, 1990) with Clara Weyergraf-Serra, as well as numerous catalogue essays and articles that have appeared in Artforum, October, Art in America, and other venues.

Buskirk has taught for many years at Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, Massachusetts, where she is Professor of art history and criticism, and she has held visiting appointments in the History, Theory and Criticism Program at MIT. She earned her BA from Oberlin College and her Ph.D. in art history from the City University of New York, Graduate Center. Her previous research has been supported by fellowships at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, the Clark Art Institute, and the Henry Moore Institute.

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