This week, from our friends at Huffington Post, we bring you an article by artist and writer Jacqueline Bishop exploring the career of art historian Amelia Jones, who has long questioned and worked to challenge existing disciminatory structures as they relate to race, gender, and identity. Bishop quotes Jones, saying “From very early on I found myself interrogating the structures of the discipline, by asking such questions as, ‘Where are the black artists? The women artists?’” This article was originally published on January 21, 2016.
“What I am trying to do in my academic life is change art discourse. I want to change the field of art history. It is time to have a new narrative and it is time to bring new, more diverse voices to the field.” So maintains Amelia Jones, the Robert A. Day Professor of Art & Design and Vice-Dean of Critical Studies at the Roski School of Art and Design at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.
Amelia Jones’s focus on diversity took root early. She was born in North Carolina at a time when overt segregation was collapsing. Starting in the fifth grade she was bussed across town to go to school with a largely African-American student body. “That time was hugely formative for me,” Jones said, “because when they integrated the schools a lot of white middle-class children left the public school system, while white middle-class children like myself, whose parents kept them in the public school system, found ourselves in schools that were smaller and with facilities that weren’t as good. I saw the ways in which the black community was underserved and even to my fifth grade eyes, it was super shocking.”