sfai news

September 14, 2009

SFAI Appoints Jeannene Przyblyski New Dean of Academic Affairs

The San Francisco Art Institute has appointed Jeannene Przyblyski, chair of SFAI’s program in History and Theory of Contemporary Art, as its new Dean of Academic Affairs. Effective immediately, the appointment follows former Dean Okwui Enwezor’s decision to step down from the position in order to devote himself more fully to his curatorial work and writing even as he will continue to play a central role on SFAI’s faculty.

A PhD in Art History from UC Berkeley, Przyblyski is an artist, historian, urban strategist, and instructor. After teaching at SFAI for many years preceding, she joined the faculty in 2005 and has been the chair of SFAI’s program in History and Theory of Contemporary Art since its inception, in 2006, as part of SFAI’s School of Interdisciplinary Studies.

“Together with former Dean Okwui Enwezor,” SFAI President Chris Bratton commented, “Dean Przyblyski has played a key leadership role in developing both the plan of action and the new programs that have made for the early success of SFAI’s School of Interdisciplinary Studies. Largely because of the contribution of vital faculty members like Jeannene, the School of Interdisciplinary Studies succeeded in graduating its first class of BAs and its second class of MAs in May 2009. In addition to her dedication to SFAI’s students and its curricular expansion,” President Bratton added, “Dean Przyblyski’s commitment to the local art world and community is also remarkably deep and everywhere evident.”

Przyblyski has lectured frequently at arts and cultural institutions across the Bay Area, including the de Young, the Legion of Honor, SFMOMA, and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. She is the executive director of the San Francisco Bureau of Urban Secrets—a visual arts and urbanism think tank that incubates and promotes art and political interventions in city life—and serves as an artist and consultant for the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy. She has worked on the Board (from 2002 to 2007), and works on the Advisory Council (ongoing since 2007), of the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR), where she is a frequent contributor to its publications. From 2004 to 2009, she served the City of San Francisco on the San Francisco Arts Commission, where she chaired the Visual Arts committee and was a member of both the Civic Design Review and the Executive committees. She also serves on the advisory committee of Root Division, a community arts and education organization in San Francisco.

Przyblyski’s publications span topics in the history of art, photography, and urbanism, and include Making the News: Modernity and the Mass Press in Nineteenth-century France (coeditor) (1999), The Nineteenth-century Visual Culture Reader (coeditor) (2004), and The Camera on the Barricades: Photography and the Paris Commune of 1871 (forthcoming).

During his four-year tenure as SFAI’s Dean of Academic Affairs, Okwui Enwezor, internationally recognized as one of the foremost art directors and curators on the contemporary global art scene, drove the implementation of a number of new academic measures at SFAI, including (1) an innovative new curricular architecture, comprising the School of Interdisciplinary Studies and the School of Studio Practice; (2) the first new degree programs in over twenty years (programs in Exhibition and Museum Studies, in History and Theory of Contemporary Art, and in Urban Studies); (3) a reconceptualization of existing studio majors such as the programs in Ceramics and Film; (4) a series of successful tenure-track hires; (5) the creation of the Visiting Artists and Scholars Lecture Series as well as both the Winifred Johnson Clive Foundation Distinguished Visiting Painting Fellowships <Winifred Johnson Clive fellowship> and the Pilara Foundation Distinguished Visiting Photography Fellowships; and (6) the groundwork for an entirely new design initiative.

“Okwui Enwezor’s four years as SFAI’s Dean of Academic Affairs,” President Bratton stated, “mark an unprecedented period of comprehensive curricular and programmatic revitalization, all brought about through a remarkably strategic use of existing resources.”

As a continuing member of SFAI’s faculty, Enwezor will remain centrally involved in SFAI’s academic programs—in particular, in the programs in Exhibition and Museum Studies and in History and Theory of Contemporary Art (both part of SFAI’s School of Interdisciplinary Studies), in the planning and development of SFAI’s new School of Design, and in SFAI’s many ongoing international programs, including the Visiting Artists and Scholars Lecture Series, the Winifred Johnson Clive Foundation Distinguished Visiting Painting Fellowships, and the Pilara Foundation Distinguished Visiting Photography Fellowships.