Why Imperfect Conversations?

At this moment in time, when disagreement about ideas too easily turns to judgment of a person’s worth as a human being, it can feel challenging to express our thoughts and beliefs.

Instead, we need to be able to discuss ideas that matter even when we don’t agree. These conversations are imperfect because they are grounded in curiosity and prioritize listening in spite of discomfort , and creating space for articulating our ideas even when our wording may be, well, imperfect.

Words and images have the power to shape how we understand ourselves and the world, how we think about individual and collective identities, and how we relate to each other and interact across our differences. Our imperfect conversations will delve into how artists challenge assumptions, confront long standing beliefs, and offer new visions of what is possible. They are  inspired by the ideas that art puts before us; and our shared commitment to facilitating effective and respectful discussions about complex issues and their implications.

This podcast emerged from our desire to invite more people to join us in conversations we’ve been having for years. Art is at the center of much of our work and is often the starting point for our own conversations, so this is where we begin.

It was destiny.

Two young art history students met at the University of Wisconsin-Madison: Jennifer Vigil, an undergrad, Melanie Herzog, a graduate student. They bonded over their desire to explore a more diverse and inclusive approach to 20th-century (and now 21st-century) American art history. Their friendship and shared passion for art and art history led to various projects, collaborations, and ongoing conversations over the years. As professors, curators, writers, and artists, Jennifer and Melanie have encouraged dialogue about complex topics through the lens of art. They teach, publish, and lecture widely on North American art and visual culture.