Mary Kelly, world-renowned artist, scholar, and educator appointed Judge Widney Professor
March 26, 2017
Mary Kelly appointed Judge Widney Professor at USC Roski School of Art and Design
World-renowned artist, scholar, and educator Mary Kelly has been named a Judge Widney Professor at the University of Southern California.
Known for project-based work that addresses issues of sexuality, identity, and collective memory in the form of large-scale narrative installations, Kelly's fresh voice has had a deep influence on the evolution and critique of conceptual art. From early works exploring the mother-child relationship through a series of works focused on war and, most recently, on intergenerational history, her practice continues to drive and inform debates around feminism and postmodernism in art.
"We believe strongly in the ability of artists to spur social change and to that end, Mary Kelly is a leader," said USC Provost Michael Quick. "As one of the world's foremost feminist artists, Professor Kelly uses her work to address some of the most complex problems and challenges in our society. We are honored to have her join our faculty."
Erica Muhl, dean of the USC Roski School, added, "Mary Kelly's work as an artist and scholar has become pivotal to the development of contemporary art since 1970. Her extraordinary contributions to arts practice and arts pedagogy, including her groundbreaking work with graduate students, is known and esteemed worldwide. Her vision and experience will complement that of USC Roski's existing roster of world-class faculty, and help to set the stage for the next decade in the school's advancement."
The Widney Professorship, named after Judge Robert Maclay Widney, the university's founder, is reserved for exemplary scholars and practitioners in the arts, sciences, humanities, business and leadership. Kelly will be the first fine artist and the first woman to hold this position. As a Widney Professor of Art, she will join the faculty at the USC Roski School of Art and Design, providing mentorship and educational opportunities to USC Roski students, and further advancing the school as a center of exceptional artistry and critical thought. Following closely on the hires of Suzanne Lacy, Nao Bustamante, Patty Chang, Keith Mayerson, Kori Newkirk and Edgar Arceneaux, Kelly's appointment further confirms the school's commitment to providing the highest quality of education for its students.
Kelly has been long considered one of the most influential artists working today. Her work has been exhibited by leading institutions around the world, including the Institute for Contemporary Art London, The New Museum, New York, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, The Vancouver Art Gallery, Generali Foundation, Vienna, Whitney Museum, New York, MOCA Los Angeles, MOCA Chicago,
Walker Art Center, ICA Boston, Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, Tate Britain, Tate Modern, Haus der Kunst, Munich, Musée National d'Art Moderne (Centre Pompidou) Paris, and in international exhibitions such as The Whitney Biennial (1991, 2004), The Biennale of Sydney (1984, 2008), and documenta 12.
Noted for her theoretical writings on art, Kelly's published works include Imaging Desire (MIT Press, 1996) and Post-Partum Document (University of California Press, 1983/1998). She is a recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, as well as honorary doctorates from the University of Wolverhampton, England, and Lund University, Sweden