Artists Sarah Charlesworth and James Welling join Princeton’s Visual Arts faculty

Artists Sarah Charlesworth and James Welling join Princeton’s Visual Arts faculty

Princeton University

Top: Sarah Charlesworth, Camera Work, 2009.
Bottom: James Welling, 0865, 2009.*
June 26, 2012
Artists Sarah Charlesworth and James Welling join Princeton’s Visual Arts faculty

The Visual Arts Program in the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University is pleased to announce that Sarah Charlesworth and James Welling will join the photography faculty. Both appointments will commence September 1, 2012.

Charlesworth has been appointed Lecturer with the rank of Professor. She has taught in the graduate photography program at the School of Visual Arts for nearly 20 years. Welling, currently Chair of the Photography Department at UCLA, has been appointed Visiting Professor for the fall 2012 semester. Both Charlesworth and Welling will maintain their academic roles at SVA and UCLA, respectively, while teaching at Princeton.

Both Charlesworth and Welling are seminal figures in the “Pictures Generation,” a group of photographers who emerged in the United States in the 1970s, and their work has helped transform the history and practice of contemporary photography. Neither Charlesworth nor Welling was trained as a photographer, each having discovered the medium in graduate school after studying art history at Barnard College and painting at the California Institute for the Arts, respectively. Both artists are renowned for their interdisciplinary explorations, critical thinking, and high standards of craftsmanship.

Charlesworth’s work explores issues concerning the language of photography within contemporary culture, and she has been instrumental in bridging the intellectual gap between fine art and commercial media. She has exhibited widely in the U.S. and abroad, with over 50 solo exhibitions worldwide. Charlesworth’s work is included in numerous public collections including The Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Whitney Museum of American Art; The Solomon R Guggenheim Museum; the Art Institute of Chicago; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and the Princeton University Art Museum.

Welling’s work investigates the veracity of photography by making the most of its exquisiteness as well as the numerous “ghosts” that inhabit its machinery. He has been extremely influential in presenting the idea that photography involves manipulating what happens in front of the camera as much as what happens to the image in the lab afterward. He has exhibited widely in the U.S. and abroad, including a traveling survey, The Mind on Fire/Works 1970–1995, organized by the Milton Keynes Gallery, England, in 2012. His work is included in numerous public collections including The Museum of Modern Art and The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the J. Paul Getty Museum of Art; and the Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Tokyo.

“I’m very happy with the arrangement we were able to work out with Sarah and Jim to help us move the study of photography forward at Princeton. Sarah’s critical media thinking and Jim’s technical curiosity are welcome additions to the visual arts on campus,” notes Joe Scanlan, Director of the Visual Arts Program. “To be able to work with such accomplished artists is tremendous. I can’t imagine two better people to help us foster a more experimental and vibrant learning environment.”

Referring to P. Adams Sitney and Su Friedrich, who have taught film production and film history and theory at Princeton since 1973 and 1999, respectively, Scanlan adds, “The study of images in relation to personal narrative, politics, and critical theory is long established in the Visual Arts Program. Adding Sarah and Jim to the discussion will only broaden our students’ knowledge and abilities.”

To learn more about the Program in Visual Arts and all the programs of the Lewis Center for the Arts visit

The Lewis Center for the Arts is Princeton’s academic department for the study of creative writing, dance, theater, and visual arts, and home of the interdisciplinary Princeton Atelier. The Center presents over 100 public events each year including performances, readings, exhibitions, and lectures, most of them free.

*Image above:
Top: Sarah Charlesworth, Camera Work, 2009. Courtesy of the artist and Susan Inglett Gallery, New York.
Bottom: James Welling, 0865, 2009. Courtesy of the artist and David Zwirner, New York.

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