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Stanford University
Meet Maggie Dethloff

Meet Maggie Dethloff

Five Questions for the New Assistant Curator of Photography and New Media

The former Capital Group Foundation curatorial fellow started her new role in December 2019 to further advance the Cantor’s vision of a 21st-century museum.

If you could have dinner with any artist, deceased or otherwise, who would it be and why?

Lately I’ve been thinking about how great it would have been to meet Robert Heinecken (1931–2006). Heinecken pushed the boundaries of the medium of photography. I like his idea of “analytical facture,” which refers to choosing a medium or artistic process based on how well it’s suited to working through a particular concept.
Process informs content as much as—and sometimes more than—subject matter.

What emerging formats and/or contemporary topics are most exciting to you?

I am most excited about existing formats being used in new ways. In photography, for instance, since digital processes have threatened to make analog photography “obsolete,” there has been a resurgence of artists using not only 20th- but also 19th-century photographic processes, often in unusual and exciting ways. I am interested in exploring how innovations in emerging technologies also lead to innovations in existing technologies and how both reflect contemporary life.

If you could teach a class about anything at Stanford, what would it be?

It would be neat to teach an interdisciplinary course on the materiality of medium. We would read theory and criticism, like Clement Greenberg’s argument for medium specificity, alongside texts from chemistry, geology, and environmental studies that explain the materials that comprise artistic mediums, and their impact on human life and the environment. It’s important that artworks are objects that exist in the world and are part of economies of material and labor.

Let’s time-travel to 100 years into the future. What do you think will be different about how we experience and appreciate art? What will remain the same?

Technologies like virtual reality (VR) are already being used to create art that we experience in newly immersive ways. VR and 3-D imaging will also allow more people all over the world to see artworks in great detail on the Internet. The appeal and value of viewing original artworks in person will never disappear, though, and the fundamental role of art to express and interpret the human condition will remain the same.

Fill in the blank: I’m currently reading...

Alex Nemerov’s Silent Dialogues is what I’m reading at work. It’s about the photographer Diane Arbus and her brother, Howard Nemerov, the poet. At home, I just finished Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, which is a heartbreaking novel about loneliness and the balm of nature, learning, art, and poetry.





Spring 2020 Magazine

A digital copy of the magazine is available by clicking the button below. While some of the dates of exhibits mentioned in the magazine will inevitably change, rest assured that we will share those details when they are finalized.

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