By Melissa Starker
CCAD has been raising its profile in Columbus quite successfully over the past couple of years.
But Michael Goodson, CCAD’s director of exhibitions since August 2011, is looking ahead with something much broader in mind.
“My goal with exhibitions and visiting artists is quite simply to bring great contemporary art and artists to the school,” he says. “This will in turn make CCAD a destination for contemporary art—not only for patrons but also for great students and teachers from all over the U.S. and, ultimately, the world.”
Formerly exhibitions director of New York’s James Cohan Gallery and a professor of art at Hunter College, Goodson has also assumed a teaching role at CCAD. He guides students in the MFA program, leading discussions and presentations of their thesis work. But as he explains, “The exhibitions programming and visiting artists are my first thought as I drag myself to consciousness each morning.”
Goodson sees a distinction between his efforts in the classroom and in the Canzani Center Gallery and believes there’s educational value in developing thoughtful programming that doesn’t always fit seamlessly into school curriculum — but his two roles are organically entwined. Each strongly informs the professional development of CCAD’s artists in training.
By exposing students of all levels to the works and real-world wisdom of a stellar assortment of visiting artists, he’s expanding and strengthening personal connections between the student body and the global community of working artists.
According to Ric Petry, director of graduate programs and part of the search committee who hired Goodson, “He has brought an impressive group of artists and scholars to campus who have been meeting with the grad students—Stefan Sagmeister, Benjamin Anastas, Eleanor Heartney, Byron Kim, Donald Moffett, and Chris Ware, to name just a few from last semester. It’s been great.”
With MFA candidates, Goodson also shares the practical experience he acquired from conducting the day-to-day operations of a top-tier commercial gallery, from developing contacts to planning and physically installing exhibitions to marketing artwork.
Petry notes that Goodson has taken these lessons off campus as well. “He has organized grad student visits to New York, where his network has provided studio visits and mentorships with a number of artists.”
At the same time, Goodson has challenged himself, branching outside of his existing network to connect the college with the finest international talents.
“Honestly, I’ve asked things of New York and Los Angeles and Hong Kong galleries since arriving here that have little if anything to do with previous connections through the New York art world,” he explains. “You ask things, respectfully and thoughtfully, and people say yes…sometimes.”
His efforts have yielded a diverse and unassailably impressive slate of exhibitions and lectures for 2013. Among the artists scheduled to make an appearance at CCAD, whether in person or through their work, are Sol LeWitt, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Nari Ward, Jim Hodges, Fred Tomaselli, and Gary Panter, along with author and cultural critic Greil Marcus (Lipstick Traces).
Such notable scores suggest an increasingly prominent role for CCAD in the art world, as well as for the city it calls home. The line-up is enough to whet the appetite of most contemporary art lovers, not just students and faculty, and holds the potential to make the college’s gallery exactly the kind of destination Goodson envisions.
“In my estimation, one reason to live in Columbus is the Wexner Center,” Goodson says. “I think that, given a little time and energy and growth, exhibitions at CCAD might be another reason.”
Published in print twice a year, CCAD’s IMAGE magazine shares stories about our creative community, whether here in Columbus or around the world—what we’re doing, thinking, and planning next. The IMAGE blog brings those stories online for transmission at the click of a mouse.