In the past several decades, interest in the art and visual culture of the United States has increased in Europe and Asia among scholars who are fostering fresh ideas about our subjects and encouraging museums abroad to acquire, exhibit, and understand American art from new perspectives. Simultaneously, art historians have moved beyond an insular view to explore American art in an international context. Cross-cultural exchange, artists’ sojourns, the movement of objects around the world, and the networks through which artworks are produced, distributed, and collected have all become subjects of scholarly inquiry. The term American art—once used to refer hegemonically to art of the United States—is now expanding to embrace the art of the Americas from the Canadian arctic to Cape Horn. This new proclivity for crossing borders also applies to exchanges between media; Americanists are now examining connections between fine art and all aspects of visual, material, aural, kinesthetic, and even gustatory culture.
In tandem with this more expansive view of American art, museums are seeking to diversify their staffs and collections in order to create exhibitions that better reflect the multicultural identities of their more varied audiences. Curators and museum educators have begun to decolonize their galleries, moving African American, Asian American, Latinx, and Native American art away from the margins to become the focal points of their installations, integrating the art of these populations into art historical narratives about America, and partnering with indigenous communities and diverse cultural organizations to interpret these works in deep, multiple, and respectful ways.
These trends have created a more capacious arena of study—one that accommodates and promotes voices, subjects, and approaches that might have seemed unlikely, if not unthinkable, two decades ago. Panorama began publication during this crucial period of expansion, and its commitment to methodological innovation, inclusion, and diversity springs from this fact. The existence of Panorama is a response to and also stands ready to respond to this growth in the field.
With this issue, Panorama embarks on a new stage in its development, as founding editors Ross Barrett, Sarah Burns, and Jennifer Marshall have now handed the reins to Betsy Boone and Lauren Lessing. John Bowles will join us in January 2018. As incoming executive editors responsible for setting the tone for the next three years, we have given long and serious thought to the role of Panorama for those intellectually invested in the art of the United States and the way it complements other existing publications in the field. As such, we are renewing our commitment to those features that distinguish this journal from others—the Bully Pulpit, for example, in which we will continue to consider provocative topics that merit (indeed need) greater consideration than they have received thus far. We also remain committed to providing our readers with a full roster of high quality book and exhibition reviews, a service to the field made all the more necessary given its recent expansion. Research Notes will likewise maintain a prominent position within Panorama, providing both new and seasoned scholars with a forum in which to test their ideas, announce unexpected discoveries, and share the early stages of a project. As the only peer-reviewed digital journal dedicated to American art, we are equally committed to maintaining a rigorous blind peer-review process for our feature articles, while also providing the authors with an enthusiastic and supportive environment in which to develop their work for publication. Our digital format offers high quality color images, a venue for those eager to explore movement, sound, and the interactive as they relate to the visual, and ready circulation of new scholarship to readers around the world.
With this issue, we are also delighted to welcome several new members to the Panorama team. Margaretta Lovell and Marissa Vigneault have recently joined Naomi Slipp as section editors responsible for book reviews, and Jacqueline Francis joins Mishoe Brennecke as a section editor in charge of exhibition reviews. Thanks is due to the outgoing section editors Jessica Marten and John Bowles, and to the founding editors for their confidence in us as we move into the future. A debt of gratitude is also owed to the Luce Foundation for their generous support, which has enabled us to recently hire Jessica Skwire Routhier as the new managing editor. The Association of Historians of American Art (AHAA) continues to provide unflagging support to the journal for which we are grateful.
In closing, we wish to affirm our belief that diversity and breadth equals excellence and innovation. As executive editors of Panorama, we look forward to working with you to provide a platform for the promotion and study of American art in the broadest sense of these words.
M. Elizabeth (Betsy) Boone
Cite this article: M. Elizabeth Boone and Lauren Lessing, “Editors’ Welcome,” Panorama: Journal of the Association of Historians of American Art 3, no. 2 (Fall 2017), https://journalpanorama.org/editors-welcome-5.
PDF Version: Editors Welcome 3.2
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