Johanna Drucker: Scholar of Bibliography Receives Honorary Degree From MICA

Maryland Institute College of Art recognizes IS professor’s achievements in academia and the art of the written form.

Johanna Drucker, UCLA professor of information studies, received a honorary Doctor of Fine Arts Degree at the at the 167th Commencement of the Maryland Institute College of Art on May 16. The honorary degree was given in recognition to her lifelong work in the history of the written word, typography, and digital aesthetics.

Drucker, who is the inaugural Martin and Bernard Breslauer Professor of Bibliography in the Department of Information Studies at UCLA, says that, “I was honored to be recognized by one of the leading art schools in the country, since their tradition of studio practice and critical work has been at the forefront of thinking about design curriculum in a global world.

“My fellow honorees, Pépon Osorio and Hans Haacke, are figures whose work I have admired and taught as part of contemporary art history and criticism. The idea that work in visual epistemology and graphical form could be considered on a par with their contributions shows MICA’s commitment to a broad view of the arts and its role in our lives.”

Drucker is internationally known for her work in digital humanities, experimental poetry, fine art, the history of graphic design and typography. She was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2014. Professor Drucker has held faculty positions at prominent colleges including Columbia University, and Yale University, as well as visiting faculty positions at Harvard University and State University of New York at Purchase. She is a Mellon Faculty Fellow at Harvard, and the first Robertson Professor of Media Studies at the University of Virginia, where she created the undergraduate Media Studies program and co-funded SpecLab, the Speculative Computing Laboratory. In addition, she has earned numerous Fulbright, Getty, and National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships and grants.

Drucker’s artwork can be found in museum and library collections at the Getty Center for the Humanities, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Marvin and Ruth Sackner Archive of Visual and Concrete Poetry, the New York Public Library, and the Houghton Library at Harvard, among many others. In 2012, a comprehensive retrospective of her books, graphic art, and visual projects titled, “Druckworks: 40 Years of Books and Projects,” opened at Columbia College in 2012 and traveled throughout the country for two years.

Drucker’s recent books include the co-authored “Digital_Humanities” (MIT, 2012) and “Graphic Design History: A Critical Guide” (Pearson Prentice Hall, 2008). Her independently written printed works include “SpecLab: Projects in Digital Aesthetics and Speculative Computing” (Chicago, 2009), “What Is?: Nine Epistemological Essays” (Cuneiform Press, 2013), and “In Graphesis: Visual Forms of Knowledge Production” (Harvard University Press, 2014).

In 2004, Drucker created Artists’ Books Online, which presents a collection of artists’ books in digital format along with descriptive metadata. She continues as director of the project, in addition to her new project, History of the Book Online, an online encyclopedia with entries based on materials from the UCLA Library’s Special Collections and produced by Professor Drucker’s students. Professor Drucker is a member of UCLA’s Institute for Digital Research and Education’s Humanities, Arts, Architecture, Social and Information Sciences Collaborative.


Above: UCLA Professor of IS Johanna Drucker (second from left) was welcomed by President Sammy Hoi of the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), and members of his leadership team. L-R: Hoi, Drucker, Associate Provost Gwynne Keathley, and Provost David Logan.

Courtesy of MICA