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ESTERA MILMAN GESTORBEN

Von Mica Pollock

Publiziert in: Boston Globe on Feb 11, 2021

Estera Milman

Estera Milman, Kunsthistorikerin, Kuratorin und Erforscherin der Avantgarde, starb am 27. Januar 2021 in Boston. Milman erwarb ihren BFA an der Rhode Island School of Design und ihren MFA an der University of Iowa (UI) in Fotografie/Fotomedien, historischer Kritik und Theorie. Anschließend gründete sie 1982 Alternative Traditions in den Contemporary Arts (ATCA) an der UI, während sie gleichzeitig am Stanley Museum of Art kuratierte und an der School of Art and Art History unterrichtete. ATCA ist in der UI Library, Special Collections, untergebracht und widmet sich dem Sammeln, Interpretieren und Ausstellen bahnbrechender, innovativer Kunst nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg Individual ATCA Collections. Unter der Leitung von Milman schuf das ATCA einen intellektuellen und institutionellen Raum, um sich mit den herausfordernden Ideen von Künstlern auseinanderzusetzen, die oft außerhalb des "Mainstreams" der populär gefeierten Kunst standen. Zu einer Zeit, als nur wenige Museen bereit waren, Ephemera, Performance-Relikte, Artefakte und dazugehörige Künstlerpapiere zu zeigen, geschweige denn zu sammeln, widmete Milman ihre berufliche Karriere der Schaffung eines institutionellen Rahmens zur Unterstützung von Kunst, die den Markt herausfordert, es wagt, unsere Sensibilität zu erweitern und eine gerechte Welt fordert. Sie war den Idealen der menschlichen Gleichberechtigung und der Kunst als politischem Mittel gegen Selbstgefälligkeit und Elitedenken zutiefst verpflichtet. Sie veröffentlichte zahlreiche Publikationen, erhielt zahlreiche NEA- und NEH-Stipendien und Auszeichnungen und nutzte das Internet und den Galerieraum innovativ, um die Parameter dessen, was Museen werden könnten, zu verschieben. milman-interarts.

Milman hinterlässt zwei liebevolle Töchter, Mica Pollock und Nira Pollock, und deren Familien, sowie die Familien von Carlyn und Michael Foster, Kinder des zweiten Ehemanns Stephen Foster. Ihre Schwestern, Isa Milman und Sepora Jacobson, und deren Kinder trauern um sie.

Ein Gedenkgottesdienst wird diesen Sommer stattfinden.

Nach dem Holocaust in einem Displaced Persons Camp geboren, kam Milman 1950 als Flüchtlingskind in die USA und blieb eine glühende Verfechterin der Menschenrechte. Die Familie bittet um Spenden in ihrem Namen an
a) support humane immigration policy work at Alliance San Diego or
b) support refugee legal assistance, which supported Milman’s own entry.

WERKE von Estera Milman:

Anmerkungen zur Ästhetik des Untergangs1995
Boris Lurie: Knives in Cement and Other Selected Constructions, exhibition, Iowa City 1999
Knives in Cement and other selected constructions by Boris Lurie 1999
ONE-on-ONE, Dialogue with Boris Lurie, video, New York 2000
"NO!art" and the aesthetics of doom 2001
NO!art and the aesthetics of doom, exhibition, Evanston 2001
NO!art and the aesthetics of doom, exhibition, Iowa City 2002
Pop, junk culture, assemblage, and the new vulgarians 2004

Rezension zu Estera Milman:

Brendan Wolfe: Is the UI trying to censor this woman? 2000

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OBITUARY

Remembering the vision of Estera Milman
by Elizabeth Riordan, The University of Iowa Libraries, News on Feb 18, 2021

We lost an important voice in the art and archival world last month.

Estera Milman, art historian, curator, and researcher of the avant-garde, died January 27, 2021 in Boston. Milman received her MFA at the University of Iowa in Photography/Photomedia, Historical Criticism and Theory. She then went on to be a curator for the Stanley Museum of Art and teach in the School of Art and Art History. 

In 1982, Milman founded Alternative Traditions in the Contemporary Arts (ATCA) at the University of Iowa. Now housed in Special Collections,  ATCA was dedicated to collecting and preserving the works and papers of contemporary artists and to the facilitation and dissemination of research related to the post-World War II avant-garde. Artists and critics whose works and papers are represented in the ATCA collection include Vito Acconci,  Laurie Anderson, Ay-O, Gregory Battcock, George Brecht, John Cage, Giuseppe Chiari, Buster Cleveland,  Robert Filliou, Ken Friedman, Klaus Groh, Al Hansen, Dick Higgins, Alice Hutchins, Ray Johnson, Shigeko Kubota, George Maciunas, Robert Morris, Claes Oldenburg, Yoko Ono, Benjamin Patterson, Dieter Rot, Andre Tomkins, Endre Tot, Wolf Vostell, and Robert Watts, among a host of others.

Under Milman’s leadership for 18 years, ATCA allowed a space for people to grapple with and embrace the challenging ideas brought forth by artists outside of the “mainstream” of popularly celebrated art. As stated in Milman’s obituary, “At a time when few museums were ready to show—let alone collect—ephemera, performance relics, artifacts, and related artist papers, Milman dedicated her professional career to establishing the institutional framework to support art that challenges the market, dares to expand our sensibilities, and demands a just world. She was deeply committed to ideals of human equality and to art as a political mechanism for challenging complacency and elitism.”

Apart from publishing widely and receiving numerous awards and grants, Milman also proved ahead of her time in exploring how the internet could push ideas of art and space beyond the museum walls, as demonstrated on her “Estera Milman inter/arts” webpage.

Her visionary look at what the art and archival world has left a mark on those who knew her as well as the ATCA collection here at Special Collections. Tim Shipe, curator of the International Dada Archive, reflects about his time with Milman during a 1989 conference below:

“My initial encounters with Estera Milman occurred in the early 1980s, during meetings of the Board of Directors of what was then called the ‘Dada Archive and Research Center,’ when we charted the possible futures of this project that was still in its infancy. But I believe I first began to grasp the scope of Estera’s thinking about art and archives during a 1989 conference that she organized and on whose published proceedings we collaborated. The title was Art Networks and Information Systems, and I can best describe it by borrowing liberally from my 1990 review in Art Documentation, written when the impact of the event was fresh in my mind:

astonishingly diverse assortment of artists, librarians, entrepreneurs, and other arts and information specialists from a variety of institutions, large and small, gathered in Coralville, Iowa for an unusual planning conference cosponsored by New York’s Franklin Furnace Archive and the University of Iowa’s Alternative Traditions in the Contemporary Arts. It was the particular vision of this conference to bring together practicing avant-garde artists, librarians from some of the nation’s most influential institutions, curators of small archives and special collections far from the mainstream, and a variety of other people active in various areas of the contemporary arts as well as the information professions, harnessing the potential of their diverse areas of expertise in order to examine the problems of sharing information about contemporary artists’ materials and, if possible, to begin developing a plan to link a variety of alternative collections in some sort of electronic network. Facing one another in a cozy conference space were artists who had never heard of MARC or AACR2, librarians who had never dreamed of Fluxus or Neo-Dada, and a surprising number of people who were familiar with both the contemporary arts scene and the more arcane areas of library and information science. This unlikely assortment of attendees came with open minds and a genuine desire to learn from one another, to listen, and to seek common solutions.

I won’t claim that Estera Milman invented the World Wide Web at that conference, but the art information system that she proposed during the concluding session certainly seems, in retrospect, to anticipate what in just a few years we would know by that name. Such was Estera’s vision.

In the years following the conference, Estera and I had a number of fruitful exchanges, often concerning the best way to catalog some of the artists’ books from the Alternative Traditions collection. We had fewer interactions in later years, and it is always that 1989 conference that comes to mind when I consider Estera’s role as a thinker about the interrelations between artistic practice, art theory, art history, and art documentation.” 

Source: https://blog.lib.uiowa.edu/speccoll/category/news

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