A collaboration between SUNY Geneseo and the New Deal Gallery in Mt. Morris is updating a collection of more than 200 paintings from the 1930s, and seeing new relevance for the ecological challenges of our own times. The project, called “The Green New Deal: Art During a Time of Environmental Emergency,” is taking the form of a gallery show that opens May 2, along with a digital exhibit created by students of Associate Professor of English Ken Cooper.
The gallery’s collection owes its existence to the Federal Art Project, which “allocated” paintings to the state tuberculosis hospital on Murray Hill. They seem to have been chosen for their restful associations, however, and weren’t always typical of the artists’ more experimental or political work—an important context recovered by the project. For the past year, junior English major Abigail Ritz has been re-photographing and researching the collection thanks to an Ambassadorship through the Center for Integrative Learning. Students in Cooper’s OpenValley course this spring have continued that work and developed a series of linked online exhibits to re-evaluate paintings now approaching a hundred years old.
Why a Green New Deal? Americans already know how the Dust Bowl intensified the social crisis of the Great Depression. But new “attribution studies” by climatologists suggest that a series of record temperatures during the late 1930s probably were the first to have some Anthropogenic dimension. In other words, those past events have a direct lineage to climate change today and our own efforts to mobilize an effective response.
Accepted for publication in the peer-reviewed journal Genders is “’There is No Magic Here’: Saidiya Hartman, Percival Everett’s Zulus, and Slavery’s Archive,” an essay coauthored by Distinguished Teaching Professor Beth A. McCoy and Geneseo alumni Gregory J. Palermo (English/Literature, Physics), Jeremy A. Jackson (English/Literature), Danielle M. Ward (English, Geological Sciences), Timothy Moriarty (English/Creative Writing), Christina Broomfield (English/Literature, Art History), Melissa Ann Smith (Childhood/Special Education), Matt Huben (English/Literature), and Justin M. Turner (English/Literature).
The essay emerged from the collaborative final project in McCoy’s Fall 2013 ENGL 394 Black Apocalyptic Fiction seminar. You can view the full essay here.
SUNY Geneseo’s English department and Milne Library have launched the first ever National Book Review Month: a month dedicated to encouraging readers and writers to review books.
Readers are encouraged to post a 100-1000 word review at the NaRMo website, which also offers tips for reviewing and other resources. Or post a review to an online store or send one to a literary magazine.
National Book Review Month is committed to sharing a wealth of exciting contemporary literature. Dr. Lytton Smith, Assistant Professor of Poetry at SUNY Geneseo and a former publicist for presses including Four Way Books and Persea Books, said, “I despair every time I hear about the death of poetry or fiction or books in general; there’s more amazing contemporary writing out there than anyone would have time to read, and NaRMo is our way of beginning to help people find the books that are looking for them.”
Use #narmo and @getreviewing in whichever ways seem right to you!