A reflection on the passing of Dr. Acacia Warwick

February 18, 2014

Reflections by Paul Krainak

Chairperson, Department of Art

Professor Warwick began at Bradley in the Fall of  2008. She succumbed to an illness that she had been battling since 2009 and passed away on February 14th, 2014. Dr. Warwick received her PhD in Modern Art History at UCLA in 2006 with a specialty in film studies and Bradley was her first tenured track position.

Dr. Warwick filled a significant position in the Art program for Modern and Contemporary art history and theory. She was especially capable in communicating important new trends in studio art and criticism to our BFA students and was a gracious and enthusiastic mentor for our undergraduate art history majors and graduate students in Studio Art. She had a broad understanding of the history of art since Impressionism, a strong grasp of the revolutionary movements of the 1920’s, and a commitment to including the voices of women and minorities in her historical and cultural presentations.

Acacia Warwick  eagerly accepted her extended teaching assignment and approached her classes and subjects rigorously and with enthusiasm. Students consistently describe her approach to teaching as “passionate, intellectual and inspiring”.  Her first semester she taught a Special Topics class on Weimar Culture that, for the first time at Bradley, introduced students to a comprehensive overview of early experimental film that was also one of the most influential artistic periods in the last 200 years. Thanks to Dr. Warwick’s particular specialization and the groundbreaking research done with her doctoral committee at UCLA, she was able to dig deep into the core of modern art’s precedents and represent the formal and ideological underpinnings of current art production. And this she did vividly and persuasively so that students felt that they were not only learning but being initiated in a wonderful and exciting new kind of logic and dynamic philosophical framework.

Acacia organized and moderated a panel on visual language associated with the Inland Visual Studies Center that was a rigorous and thorough discussion of  popular media projections in relation to regional art and architecture. Her panel was a perfect example of how she was able to shed light on popular discourses as well as academic practices and make them relevant and exciting to a wide audience. Carmon Colangelo, Dean of the School of Art &Design at Washington University, said that “her introduction of the panel topic has changed my perspective on the state of art and art curricula in the Midwest”.

She was one of the most informed and articulate teachers I have heard speak on contemporary criticism and theory and our graduate students have benefitted greatly from her clarity and passion for modern and post-modern visual aesthetics. She has also raised significant issues in the study of contemporary art with respect to women and minorities and provided reliable guidance and mentorship for undergrads who wished to pursue Art History in graduate school.