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Annette Michelson papers, 1861-2018 (bulk 1958-2004)

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Michelson (Annette) papers, 1861-2014 (bulk 1969-2002)

Biographical / Historical Note

Born in New York in 1922, Annette Michelson was an American art and film critic, translator, editor, and scholar. She contributed significantly to the fields of cinema studies and the international avant-garde in visual culture. She was a founding editor of October and was a Professor Emerita in New York University's (NYU) Department of Cinema Studies.

After graduating from Brooklyn College in 1945, Michelson pursued graduate studies in art history and philosophy at Columbia University (1948-1949) where she studied with Meyer Schapiro and at the University of Paris (1950-1953). She spent the next 15 years in Paris as a critic and editor for several prominent publications, including Éditions René Julliard (1954-1957) as advisory editor; New York Herald Tribune (1957-1961) as art editor of the International edition; Arts Magazine (1957-1963) as Paris correspondent; and Art International (1962-1964) as Paris editor.

Michelson returned to the U.S. in 1966 and, a year later, joined the newly-formed Department of Cinema Studies at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. Michelson was an extremely active faculty member. Her classes and seminar topics ranged from Dada, Pop and Surrealism to science fiction. She regularly organized and chaired conferences and colloquia for the school and had close working relationships with several doctoral students. Michelson was awarded the Jay Leyda Prize for Excellence in Teaching (1993) and the Distinguished Teacher Award (1994). She transitioned to her Emerita position in 2004 as the department's first professor emerita.

In addition to her post at NYU, Michelson has been a visiting professor and guest lecturer at numerous institutions, including Yale University, the University of Vienna, the State Film School in Moscow, Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Centre Georges Pompidou. Michelson was a member of the Board of Directors of Anthology Film Archives. She was a consultant on film programming at the National Gallery of Art and a senior fellow at the National Gallery's Center for Advanced Study of the Visual Arts (1986-1987). She received an honorary degree from Concordia University in 1997. Her other honors include the Mather Award for Distinction in Art Criticism and grants for research on Soviet Cinema awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts.

In 1966, Michelson had been appointed associate editor for Film and Performance of Artforum Magazine, a position she would occupy for the next decade. She founded October, the journal of contemporary art criticism and theory, with Rosalind Krauss in 1976. Over the years, Michelson was responsible for several of October's special issues, with topics ranging from Soviet revolutionary culture to Georges Bataille. Michelson began her relationship with the Getty Center in 1989, when she was selected as a senior scholar in residence at the Getty Research Institute. During her tenure as a scholar she focused on research related to the theory and practice of film. From 1990 to 1992, she was a consultant at the Getty for the conference "Cine City: Perceptions of Urban Space: Film and Architecture 1885-1995." In 1992, she became a member of the visiting committee of the Getty Center.

Annette Michelson passesd away in Manhattan on Spetember 17, 2018.

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