2009 President's Message - Past President's Message

2009 President's Message

Dear MAHS Member,

Welcome to our first on–line Newsletter. You may remember that during the April 2008 membership meeting in Chicago, the question was raised as to whether MAHS should retain the traditional printed newsletter or adopt an electronic one. This query was followed up by a questionnaire via the internet. The consensus was that we should change to an electronic newsletter, and this is the inaugural "issue". Special thanks to editor Gustav Medicus for taking up the innumerable challenges of this new format.

On behalf of the MAHS membership, I would also like to extend warm thanks to conference chairs Frances Connelly and Leesa Fanning for coordinating the April 2009, conference in Kansas City and to the staffs of the Nelson–Atkins Museum of Art and the Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas, Lawrence, for their hospitality and the wonderful facilities which they made available to us.

The last few years have ushered in a lot of new and exciting changes for the Society. The redesign of our Web site, a new snazzy logo, and the ability to pay for membership and conference registration online are helping to make belonging to MAHS better and easier than ever. The Board has worked to expand opportunities for awards and overseen the publication of our second volume of Midwestern drawings. Especially noteworthy is our newly established status an Affiliate Society of the College Art Association. In February 2009, we inaugurated our new affiliation in Los Angeles with the session New Directions for Art Museums in the Midwest which was chaired by Judith Walker Mann and Joseph A. Becherer. This session included presentations by Saralyn Reece Hardy, Director of the Spencer Museum of Art; Matthias Waschek, Director of the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts; and Marc Wilson, Director of the Nelson–Atkins Museum of Art. In February 2010, the CAA will be in Chicago, and MAHS will once again participate. Leesa Fanning, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, will chair New Acquisitions in Midwestern Museums, and Joseph A. Becherer, Chief Curator and Vice President of the Frederick Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park will chair the panel discussion Contemporary Outdoor Sculpture: Conquering New Venues and Welcoming New Audiences, at our CAA Affiliate Business Meeting.
Click here to see the call for MAHS CAA papers and panel discussion participants.

In April 2010, after seventeen years, MAHS will return to a much changed Omaha, Nebraska. Omaha still boasts great steaks, art deco architecture, and the Old Market district with its specialty shops, which is where our conference will be located. In addition, we will enjoy Omaha’s fine museums and galleries, including the Great Plains Black Museum which showcases the history of African Americans on the prairies; the Durham Museum (formerly Union Station); the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts; and the Joslyn Art Museum, which will host a reception and a day of sessions for MAHS. Sessions will also be held at the studio of innovative ceramicist/sculptor Jun Kaneko. This fall, you will also receive a printed version of the call for papers for this conference.

After discussion with the MAHS Board of Directors, the Program Committee decided that in addition to offering traditional period and media—oriented sessions, the Omaha conference would be somewhat different from previous conferences in that a block of sessions will focus on a single theme: Monumentality. These sessions will be "devoted to the impact and meaning of size; logistical considerations for large and small–scale works; famous and/or important monumental works; and other issues related to scale across all chronological periods and geographical areas." We expect 2010 to be an exceptional year for MAHS. See you in Omaha.

Robert Randolf Coleman