2022 In Review, and 2023 Previews

I don’t know about you, but 2022 has been a rather eventful year for me. Let’s go back and take a look at the previous year and get a preview of what’s to come in 2023.

In terms of dissertation work, 2022 was by far my most productive year to date. I completed two on-site research trips to New York City and Minneapolis, perusing hundreds of archival documents at the Met and the Walker Art Center. I wrote three chapters, and did the initial revisions on each. I’m also starting to get a sense of where I’m going with the dissertation, and what my main arguments will be.

The dissertation isn’t the only thing I’ve been working on. This fall, I taught my first course, Museums & Crisis. After years of presenting online, I returned to in-person conferences, giving papers at both the Space Between and ASA. Through these conferences, I visited Cleveland and New Orleans for the first time. I’ve also been bolstering my publications. I wrote a short essay for South Writ Large earlier this spring, and I contributed book chapters to two different anthologies, one as sole author, one as a co-author. Both of those should be coming out this year or next. I also drafted a manuscript for a journal article, which is currently undergoing peer review.

I’ve also been maintaining my curatorial experience. In February, the Barry Art Museum opened Motion/Emotion, I show I spent more than a year curating. Over the summer, I completed two additional projects with them: a reinstallation of the Museum’s Doll Gallery, and an exhibition on the work of Rhonda Holy Bear. During the fall, I worked on a new exhibition highlighting the museum’s bébé collection, which will open next month. Outside the Barry, I also got more involved with the Virginia Association of Museums by serving on the program committee for their annual conference.

It’s also been a busy year for travel. In April, thanks to my role as the JDP Fellow at the Career Center, Brandon and I traveled to Scotland, spending a week in the St Andrews area. Two weeks after that, we flew to Bentonville for a PACCIN conference, where I was finally able to visit the Crystal Bridges Museum. In August, we drove up to New Hampshire for my Dad’s surprise birthday party, which marked the first time I’d seen much of my extended family since before the pandemic. This holiday season, we spent Christmas there so that Brandon could decide whether a New England Christmas was worth the hype.

In terms of hobbies, I completed my most ambitious knitting project yet when I made Brandon a double-knitted Star Wars blanket. I also got back into wall painting by adding birds and other local animals around our house. Waller Mill Park, a place I’d never visited prior to buying our house, has become a favorite place to take walks. And I took up a brand-new hobby with container gardening, growing cucumbers, lettuce, and more.

And of course, Brandon and I got married. After years of talking about it, we followed through and are now officially husband and wife.

In short, it’s been a pretty eventful year, even if it didn’t always feel that way.

Not that 2022 was all kittens and roses, of course. Lest you think I lead the perfect life, let me assure you I don’t. I scaled up my knitting, but definitely didn’t sketch as much as I would have liked. I found a new park for walks, but barely took my bike out this year. There was a learning curve to my container vegetables, and not everything turned out successfully. The dissertation chapters are written but they’re by no means finished. For the most part, my travels went uneventfully, but I did have one instance where a flight was cancelled and I had to drive home. Teaching was a good experience, but it was also emotionally draining and at times frustrating. One of our cats, Iris, had an acute asthma attack and had to spend the night in an oxygen tank at the emergency vet. In August, we discovered water damage in one of our bathrooms thanks to a broken flange, and while our home insurance covered the expense, it took several months to repair. And in the background of all these events, finances were (and are) always a concern, something which inflation hasn’t helped. 2022 was a good year, then, better than other years I’ve experienced recently, but it was by no means perfect. But no one’s is.

2022 is over and behind us though, so what’s in store for 2023?

In terms of the dissertation, I’ll be working on Chapter 5, the final one. I’ll also need to write an introduction and conclusion, and complete any outstanding research for my other chapters. At the minimum, this entails going on Newspapers.com to find visitor reactions to shows. More significantly, it means taking a couple more recent trips.

One of these trips will be to none other than Roswell. A few months ago I co-curated an exhibition on the museum’s 85th anniversary by picking out a few objects from their collection and providing the label text. In February, they’re bringing me out there to give a lecture on the museum’s WPA history. While I’m there, I’ll go back to the archive and finish my research on it. I haven’t been back to New Mexico since we moved here nearly five years ago, so it’ll be an experience, to say the least.

2023 should also be an eventful one in terms of conferences. In February, after years of submission and rejection, I’ll be traveling to CAA in New York to give a paper on my Museums & Crisis class. It’s not the first time I’ve been involved with CAA, I did chair a virtual panel last year, but it’s the first time I’m sharing my own work. What’s more, a few weeks ago a group of artists associated with CETA contacted me after reading my blog post on the initiative, so we’ll be meeting in person to get to know one another’s work better.

I’ll also continue working with the Barry Art Museum. The bébé exhibition is the first of a series of intimate shows exploring facets of the museum’s doll collection, so I’ll continue researching and writing for them.

As for hobbies, I stocked up on sock yarn during a sale, so I’ll finally learn how to knit socks and make a few pairs as Christmas presents. I’ll also continue painting birds and other animals on our walls, and have a larger project planned for the pocket door in our bathroom. I also hope to do more easel painting, thanks to Brandon’s birthday present of a tabletop easel. And speaking of Brandon and his love of gifting, thanks to his Christmas present of a small potter’s wheel, I’ll be returning to a beloved hobby I haven’t practiced since 2016: throwing pottery.

Happy New Year, everyone. Wherever you go and whatever you do, I hope it’s a good one.

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