Following her retirement from Princeton University, celebrated historian Dr. Nell Irvin Painter surprised everyone in her life by returning to school―in her sixties―to earn a BFA and MFA in painting. In Old in Art School, she travels from her beloved Newark to the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design and struggles with the unstable balance between the pursuit of art and the inevitable, sometimes painful demands of a life fully lived.
How are women and artists seen and judged by their age, looks, and race? What does it mean when someone says, “You will never be an artist”? Who defines what “An Artist” is and all that goes with such an identity, and how are these ideas tied to our shared conceptions of beauty, value, and difference? Old in Art School is Nell Painter’s ongoing exploration of those crucial questions, drawing on insights from two careers.
Read about Nell Painter, ageism, and "disappearing women" here.
BIO: Nell Irvin Painter
Nell Irvin Painter is an award-winning author of many books, including Sojourner Truth, Southern History Across the Color Line, Creating Black Americans, The History of White People, and Standing at Armageddon. She is the former Edwards Professor of American History, Emerita, at Princeton University and lives in Newark, New Jersey. In addition to her earned doctorate in history from Harvard University, she has received honorary doctorates from Wesleyan, Dartmouth, SUNY-New Paltz, and Yale. After retiring from teaching, she returned to school to receive a BFA from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers and MFA in painting from RISD.
BIO: Sarah Lewis
Sarah Lewis is an Assistant Professor at Harvard University in the Department of History of Art and Architecture and the Department of African and African American Studies. Her articles on race, contemporary art, and culture have been published in many academic journals as well as The New Yorker, the New York Times, Artforum, Art in America and for the Smithsonian, The Museum of Modern Art, and Rizzoli. Lewis is a frequent keynote speaker at many universities and conferences from TED, SXSW, PopTech, ASCD and for a wide range of organizations from the Aspen Ideas Festival to the Federal Reserve Bank. Her work has been profiled in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.