I like how you're interested in current artists, when I'm sure so many of your peers probably prefer to talk about dead artists, right?
It's true that a major portion of art historians prefer to research work from what I call pre-modernism (from antiquity, the Renaissance, and Neo-Classicism, etc), but it really great to see that the art history field is expanding to include Modern and Contemporary, Asian, African Diaspora, Islamic and Latin American art.
However, yes, I think you are right in stating that most historians prefer to research 'dead artists', and I think that is linked to two major issues:
(1) the general population prefers this work, they have a hard time understanding/relating to modern art.
(2) There is a strange terminology problem when you begin researching contemporary artists- am I an art historian or an art critic? Because of that, I think art historians who are purely interested in the historical side of art history tend to lean towards researching artists that have long been dead. (Its interesting to test this theory when you look at different major university art history programs- I can tell if the department is based on studying the classics by seeing if they call their department Art History or History of Art---obviously this is never 100% true)
How do you see yourself as compared with other art historians?
I don't really compare myself to other art historians. I didn't attend any academic programs where there are 20-30 other art historians (at my level) just sitting around chatting, so I never felt a competition to size myself up. And, when I do attend lectures and conferences I am either there as a student, in which case I am in awe of the other art historians and trying to learn, or as a lecturer, and I am too focused on my presentation to compare myself. I think the most important thing for me is that I succeed at making my path, and that is going to be completely different that another art historian as I don't really define myself in that way.
Having said that, if I had to answer the question, I would probably say that I would wipe the term Degenerate Art or entartete Kunst out of the history books. The fact that Hitler and the Nazis were able to discount (and rename) the achievements of basically every Modern artist for their own gain, and that this term still exists is awful.