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Dr. Dan Siedell Announced as Presidential Scholar

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Dr. Dan Siedell Announced as Presidential Scholar

October 3, 2013 - 12:00am Tyler Vawser

"Bringing Dr. Siedell to King’s greatly enhances our program in Media, Culture, and the Arts. His expertise in art history and criticism, under-girded by a strong theological foundation, will prepare our students to interact with and contribute to the world of cultural criticism and of modern and contemporary art."

NEW YORK -- October 3, 2013 -- Dr. Daniel A. Siedell, art historian and author of God in the Gallery: A Christian Embrace of Modern Art will bring his extensive experience to The King's College in New York City as Presidential Scholar and Art Historian in Residence.

"Dan Siedell is one of the preeminent voices, if not the most preeminent, in the field of art history and art criticism in Christian circles today. His scholarship is respected across the academy as a writer and speaker, and his book God in the Gallery has received widespread praise," said College President Gregory Alan Thornbury.

"As a Presidential Scholar at The King’s College, Dan will come alongside our distinguished faculty to foster theologically informed conversations about the importance of art in contemporary culture."

The appointment adds to Dr. Siedell's already notable list of positions as a "Scholar-in-Residence" at the New City Arts Initiative (2012-2013) and as curator of LIBERATE, the teaching ministry of Tullian Tchividjian and Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church.

Siedell has served as a Professor of Modern & Contemporary Art History, Theory & Criticism at the University of Nebraska-Omaha and as the Chief Curator at the Sheldon Museum of Art at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

He earned his doctorate in Art History from the University of Iowa and his Master of Arts in Art History, Theory, and Criticism from Stony Brook University. 

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"I want to help King's students experience the art world from the perspective of someone who has devoted his life to it," Siedell said. "The appointment provides me the opportunity to pursue my work on modern and contemporary art in conversation with theology as well as to deepen the church's understanding of the history of art as an important cultural practice with significant theological implications."

In addition to research and writing, Siedell will develop the integration of art history into the College’s broader Politics, Philosophy, and Economics core curriculum and programs for graduate and seminary students and junior faculty around the country. In the spring, Siedell will teach a course on a framework for interpreting art from a Christian perspective and a practicum that will take advantage of the College’s location in the art capital of the world. 

Harry Bleattler, Program Chair, said, "Bringing Dr. Siedell to King’s greatly enhances our program in Media, Culture, and the Arts. His expertise in art history and criticism, under-girded by a strong theological foundation, will prepare our students to interact with and contribute to the world of cultural criticism and of modern and contemporary art."

The Media, Culture and the Arts (MCA) program prepares students for careers as cultural creators, critics, influencers and gatekeepers. In addition to the King's Common Core, MCA students focus their studies on media and media-related technologies, principles of cultural interpretation, and world cultures. MCA students and graduates intern and work at top publishing houses such as Penguin, Crown, Harper Collins and media companies including MTV Networks, BBC Worldwide Productions, MSNBC, and CBS, as well as New York City museums and art galleries.

In advance of the announcement, Makoto Fujimura, artist and founder of the International Arts Movement, said, "Dan Siedell is not only one of the best critics and interpreters of culture today, but one of the leading thinkers toward integration of art, faith and culture. I am delighted to hear of his new appointment at The King's College as it signals King's commitment to arts and culture, and to developing leading thinkers for the 21st Century."

In response to the appointment, notable art historian and art critic, James Elkins, E.C. Chadbourne Chair in the Department of Art History, Theory, and Criticism at the Art Institute of Chicago, said, "Dan Siedell is, I think, the most interesting, reflective, and persuasive writer on the subject of religion, spirituality, and contemporary art. I am constantly recommending him to colleagues and young artists."

The response from within the Christian arts movement was palpable.

"This is such exciting news for Daniel Siedell and The King's College," said Andy Crouch, Executive Editor ofChristianity Today and author of Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling and Playing God: Redeeming the Gift of Power. "Dan is one of the most careful and creative interpreters we have of contemporary art in dialogue with the Christian tradition. In a time when all too many of his fellow Christians still retreat from the contemporary art world into various forms of artistic nostalgia, Dan has moved forward into serious and sustained collaboration and conversation. His appointment will enrich The King's College—and the city that surrounds it."

Matthew Milliner, Assistant Professor of Art at Wheaton College said, "Dan Siedell singularly advanced the religion and art conversation by distinguishing the sanctuary from the salon: Art galleries should not play church, nor should churches be art galleries, for each have their own proper aesthetic domain. Moreover, he demanded this differentiation while still insisting that on the metaphysical level, 'the church’s aesthetics and poetics... is the ground of all aesthetics and poetics.' By appointing Dan Siedell as a Presidential Scholar, The King's College has ensured that this judicious but uncompromising model of cultural engagement finally has a chance of becoming the norm." 

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