As long as I can recall, I have been curious about the arts and their place in human experience. Aesthetics, which is my main academic interest, allows me to combine this interest in the arts with an equally compelling interest in philosophy. Among the philosophers of special interest to me are Plato, Hegel, and Nelson Goodman whose friendship I enjoyed for many years after a chance meeting at a conference in Ghent Belgium. My studies at Boston University provided a fortunate crossing of history of philosophy and analytic philosophy. Prior to this as an undergraduate, I had developed an appreciation for the work of the pragmatists, especially John Dewey and William James.
My interest in knowledge is broad rather than narrow and extends from the arts and philosophy to history, literature, public policy and economics, especially the stock market and the art market. Among the arts my work extends mainly to the visual arts: painting, sculpture, photography, video art. In the performing arts my work includes writings on the aesthetics of dance. On occasion I have been known to perform in avant garde theater productions.
From the beginning, my work has extended to the application of knowledge to applied societal issues. After a critic’s fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts which allowed me to study dance criticism at the National Dance Center, I wrote dance criticism. My interest in bringing arts to audience in the social service community led to the creation of Art Reach Milwaukee, an agency to bring arts into social service agencies and provide artists with employment. Later on it was possible to orchestrate (as founding director) the creation of the Haggerty Museum on the Marquette Campus to provide a laboratory for learning that would allow students to integrate the arts into their academic studies and to offer the community a venue for free access to visual arts exhibitions from across the world. Curating modern and contemporary exhibition has greatly extended my knowledge of the visual and performing arts, especially dance and performance art. Professional leadership opportunities as Executive Director of the American Society for Aesthetics and Secretary General/ First Vice President of the International Association for Aesthetics has provided world wide opportunities for developing professional activities and friendships across the world.
In recent years I have focused much of my attention on China where I have been invited to lecture on aesthetics at various universities including Peiking University, the Central Academy of Fine Art, Central Academy of Social Sciences, and other universities in China. These visits led to projects to promote cultural exchange between China and the USA. During the opening week of the Olympics, I presented a lecture on Art and Sport at the Olympic Truce Foundation Award Ceremony and was able to attend the exciting opening ceremonies of the games. As well, I became involved in the booming contemporary art community in China where I now serve as international curator for a contemporary Chinese art museum in Beijing.
All of these experiences have influenced my research and writings which include essays on Hegel’s Aesthetics, Nelson Goodman, semiotic theory of painting style, dance aesthetics, and the avant garde. Recently I have written on such topics as “Philosopher and Artist: Unsettled Boundaries: Deleuze” “Hegel and Danto on the End of Art,” “The Cultural Identity of Art Works,” “History of Twentieth Century Aesthetics Since 1966,” “Duchamp and the American Avant Garde.” I am currently working on a history of twentieth century aesthetics. Other publications include numerous exhibition catalogues including artists Cuban Wifredo Lam (2008), Keith Haring (2007) and the French Informalist Jean Fautrier (2002).
My recent teaching includes courses in the Marquette philosophy department and at the Les Aspin Center for Government in Washington, D.C and as visiting professor at Universty of Primorska in Slovenia. Courses of special interest: aesthetics and philosophy of art, the arts in a democratic society, and seminars in graduate aesthetics.
Dr. Carter has recently been profiled by the Beijing Review. The article is on-line.
Dr. Curtis L. Carter has been appointed to the Board of Directors of the International Research Center for Aesthetics and Art Theory (IRCA), based in Rome, Italy at the University of Rome. The IRCA serves as a platform for scientific research, scholarly development, and their international exchange in the field of aesthetics and art theory. The IRCA approaches issues in aesthetics in the context of interdisciplinary projects exploring knowledge from an interdisciplinary perspective where research in aesthetics is undertaken in collaboration with other disciplines including media and communications, the sciences, economics and politics, art and religion.
Dr. Curtis L. Carter, Professor of Philosophy, has been named to the Milwaukee Art Museum Fine Arts Society Board of Directors, at the Annual Meeting on September 30, for a three year term. The Fine Arts Society (FAS) provides a forum for members, collectors, and scholars to share their interest in European painting, sculpture, and decorative arts before 1900. The Society sponsors lectures and programs that heighten awareness of Europeʼs rich cultural heritage. FAS promotes acquisitions and conservation of European art by means of gifts, donations, and bequests to the Museumʼs Collection. Dr. Carter will also serve on the acquisitions committee for art acquisitions before 1900.
Dr. Curtis Carter has been elected President of the International Association for Aesthetics for a three year term. Dr. Carter will be installed in the association's Congress in Beijing in August 2010.
To see an interview of Dr. Carter for Chinese television click here.