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For Immediate Release

Media contacts:
Jane Turnis
(719) 389-6138

Leslie Weddell
(719) 389-6038


Lecture second in Colorado College’s innovative “What’s the Big Idea?” art series

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Nov. 14, 2006 – Erika Doss, an authority on American art and cultural studies, will discuss “Genius, Visionary, Icon: The Culture of Celebrity in the Contemporary Art World,” on Thursday, Nov. 30 at 7:30 p.m. in the WES Room at Worner Center, 902 N. Cascade Ave., located on the Colorado College campus.

In her lecture, Doss will explore why some artists become famous while others labor a lifetime in obscurity. Her multi-media presentation will examine the current heightened focus on celebrity status in the art world by tracing the construction of art-world fame from Jackson Pollock’s feature spread in Life magazine in 1949, through Andy Warhol’s “Factory” era – when everyone was promised 15 minutes of fame, to the present infatuation with art world luminaries such as Damien Hirst and Matthew Barney.

According to Jessica Hunter Larsen, Colorado College’s new curator, Doss’ lecture will not disappoint. “Erika Doss is a tremendously authoritative and engaging speaker. Attendees of her lecture can expect to be challenged, entertained and enlightened,” says Larsen.

Doss is a widely-published and well-respected art historian who works in the areas of American art and cultural studies. She has written extensively on the role visual images play within American culture. Her publications include “Benton, Pollock, and the Politics of Modernism: From Regionalism to Abstract Expressionism,” “Spirit Poles and Flying Pigs: Public Art and Cultural Democracy in American Communities,” “Elvis Culture: Fans, Faith, and Image” and “Twentieth-Century American Art.”

Doss is currently a professor of art history at the University of Colorado, Boulder. In addition to teaching courses in American, modern and contemporary art history, Doss directed the American Studies program at the University of Colorado from 1991-2002. She is editor of the CultureAmerica series at the University Press of Kansas, and is on the editorial board of American Art, published by the Smithsonian American Art Museum. In July 2007, she will join the American Studies department at the University of Notre Dame.

Doss’ lecture at Colorado College is the second in a year-long series titled “What’s the Big IDEA?” The series’ lectures, exhibits, performances and events examine the intersections of art, everyday reality and the media. According to Larsen, Doss’ “deft and compelling scholarship demonstrate how images, whether fine art or media-centered, both reflect and shape contemporary identity.”

Larsen, who’s curatorial practice has focused on creating exhibitions that inspire viewers to discover enriched understandings of themselves, their community and the broader world, has come to Colorado College just as it is building its 73,000-square-foot Cornerstone Arts Center, an interdisciplinary teaching and performing arts facility. The $33 million building, designed to encourage and promote collaborative works and learning, will house the IDEA (Inter-Disciplinary Experimental Arts) Space, which will serve as a teaching, art installation and performance venue.

Larsen’s goal is to bring art into the social, academic and recreational lives of students and the surrounding community. “I think art is a great way to open discourse,” she says. “I want to make art a part of the daily experience; I want to have it invite comment and conversation.”

Her objective behind the “What’s the Big IDEA?” series is to familiarize students with “art” before the Cornerstone Arts Center opens in January 2008. She wants to make students so comfortable with art that they have no doubts about the worthiness of their opinions. She hopes that by taking art out of the gallery, eventually more people will be comfortable going into the gallery.

The event is free and open to the public.

For information, directions or disability accommodation at the event, members of the public may call (719) 389-6607.

About Colorado College
Colorado College is a nationally prominent, four-year liberal arts and sciences college that was founded in Colorado Springs in 1874. The college operates on the innovative Block Plan, in which its 1,945 students study one course at a time in intensive 3½-week blocks. For more information, visit www.ColoradoCollege.edu <http://www.ColoradoCollege.edu>