Harvard Art Journal turns 25

CoverThe revival edition of Harvard Art Journal gives a voice to writers and shines a light on artists and exhibitions, schools and the importance of art in our lives. 

By Harvard Arts Blog Staff

Harvard Art Journal was founded in 1988 and published between 1988-1992. After a hiatus, wherein technology and art evolved, the journal is back. This newest issue, edited by Paula Hornbostel '93, director of the Lachaise Foundation, salutes alums in the Class of '93 and others for their contribution to or appreciation of the arts, especially the faculty, curators and program administrators at Harvard who "stoke and nourish that dynamic life of the mind and commitment to art and culture which define Harvard." The Harvard Arts Blog reached out to Hornbostel to ask a few questions about the journal and a life in the arts. The exchange follows. 

What do you hope readers will take away, enjoy and think about after reading the journal? HAJ
The original Harvard Art Journal showcased a small number of scholarly essays by Fine Art majors, and I wanted this 25th reunion edition to appeal to a wide readership, offering something for everyone and art from around the world. I hope readers find something familiar, something new, and something deep within its pages. From the Agora in Athens, to the Lobkowicz Palace in Prague, to the Louvre’s loan of the Sphinx in Tehran, art is an integral part of the human experience, making life along the way more beautiful, or at least more human.

Many of the contributors have gone on to careers in other fields ­– medicine, law, finance. What are your thoughts about the ways in which fine art ­–  or any of the arts ­–  contribute in a foundational way to careers outside the arts?
Creating art can spur creative thinking outside the box, and therefore enhance any career, from activist to zookeeper. Art has the tremendous capacity to serve as a release from adversity, but also as a means of communication and interconnection. To appreciate the arts is to appreciate humanity. The gripping photographs of Louie Palu tell the story of one war, the sex trafficking documentary of Alexandra and James Lawrence ‘93 tells the story of another, while the Digital Diaspora project of Thomas Allen Harris ‘84 attempts to rebuild the past and create community engagement. All of these rely on and are enriched by art. And art can always provide an intriguing respite from one’s job and fodder for conversation.

What thoughts do you have for current undergrads about studying the arts or considering a life in the arts?
I would say follow your instincts and the courses and professors which strike your passion. Art is not limiting but can encompass history, politics; identity, sex, literature and religion.