Ecologies, Aesthetics, and Histories of Art is conceived as an intellectual laboratory to address the ecological and aesthetic dimensions of human interaction with geographical, geological, botanical, zoological, astronomical, and climatic formations from the micro to a planetary scale. How was the interrelationship between the nonhuman and the human visually configured in geographically distinct, yet often interconnected, terrains in different moments of history? How did striated knowledge-systems, the agentive qualities of matter, and aesthetic practices shape such configurations, topographies, and spatial orders? To what extent were particular aesthetic practices related to the economies of religious systems or social arrangements? What are the conceptual interconnections, or conversely interstices, between theories of nature, ecology, environment, and aesthetics? While literary ecocriticism has become a field of intense debate over the last decades, the ecological turn in visual culture studies is still at its early stage. The conference thus aims to bring art history, a discipline that has for long been concerned with notions of landscape, nature, materiality, and aesthetic processes, into this emerging conversation. The conference aims to act as a crucial interpolation in the conversation between ecological and aesthetic studies, envisaged here in a historical and transcultural perspective from the earliest known human interaction with the natural environment to the present day.
Speakers: Dipesh Chakrabarty (University of Chicago); Adam Herring (Southern Methodist University); Timothy Ingold (University of Aberdeen); Lihong Liu (National Gallery of Art, Washington); Venugopal Maddipati (Ambedkar University); Michael Marder (The University of the Basque Country, Vitoria-Gasteiz); Sandy Prita Meier (University of Illinois); Spyros Papapetros (Princeton University); Felix Pirson (Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, Istanbul); Margarete Pratschke (ETH Zürich); Peter Schneemann (Universität Bern); Mimi Yiengpruksawan (Yale University)
Ecologies, Aesthetics, and Histories of Art
Organized by Hannah Baader, Sugata Ray, and Gerhard Wolf
Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz Max-Planck-Institut, December 14-15, 2015
Students in Professor Julia Bryan-Wilson's contemporary art history class are collaborating with curator Connie Lewallen for the upcoming show Mind Over Matter, opening at the Berkeley Art Museum in fall 2016. The undergraduates are researching some of the objects, photographs, and ephemera in the exhibit—which focuses on the museum's rich holdings in conceptual art—and writing essays for the online exhibition catalogue. Bryan-Wilson and Lewallen have been working together for over a year to facilitate this collaboration.
History of Art Commencement exercises will take place on Monday, May 16 at 9:00 a.m. in Zellerbach Playhouse. Save the date!
We are excited to announce that our 2016 Commencement Speaker will be Rue Mapp (A.B. UC Berkeley History of Art, 2009).
Rue Mapp is the founder and CEO of OutdoorAfro (outdoorafro.com), an organization dedicated to creating communities, events, and partnerships that support diverse participation in the Great Outdoors. The organization works to reconnect African-Americans with natural spaces and one another through recreational activities.
The department would like to recognize and congratulate four of our students -- Alexandra Courtois de Vicose, Aaron Hyman, Grace Harpster, Michelle "Micki" McCoy -- for winning competitive predoctoral fellowships. Micki and Aaron received fellowships from the Center for the Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (CASVA), Alexandra won an award from the George Lurcy Fellowship Program, and Grace received The Fulbright-Hays Dissertation Research Award. Please read more below about these fellowship winners and their research.
Alexandra Courtois de Vicose, 2015-16 Georges Lurcy Fellow, works on Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, the perceived marginality of his art and persona, and the critical rhetoric assessing his oeuvre as stemming from a ‘deviant body.’ Rather than focus on a medical diagnosis as cause for his artistic choices, Alexandra turns to the society in which Lautrec lived and created. Using a Disability Studies framework to formulate a nuanced sociological and cultural construction of disability in late nineteenth-century Paris, Alexandra proposes to frame Lautrec’s oeuvre and life in a new light. Using a selection of photographs, drawings, paintings and prints, she investigates how his construction of self, shaped by Belle Époque culture, literary and scientific currents, informed his representations of chosen subjects. She will travel to France as well as London, Berlin and Brussels during the 2015-16 academic year.
Grace Harpster will spend the 2015-16 academic year doing dissertation research in Rome and Milan, thanks to a Fulbright research fellowship. Her project traces the itineraries of Carlo Borromeo (1538-1584), famed Counter-Reformation cardinal-archbishop and later saint, to five different sites on the Italian peninsula. Borromeo's pilgrimages and patronages lead from church furnishings in S. Prassede in Rome to the Marian shrine at Loreto and the Holy Shroud relic of Turin, and on to the Sacro Monte polychrome sculpture at Varallo before ending with his death and subsequent cult in Milan. His pathways function to connect famed Renaissance 'Art', liturgical instruments, and cult images, substituting later art historical categorizations with a more endemic definition of sacre immagini. Grace aims to demonstrate that only through an exploration of image-based practice rather than theory--Borromeo was neither art theorist nor theologian--can we gain an accurate picture of how art and sacrality interacted in the early modern Catholic world.
Aaron Hyman received the Center’s Andrew W. Mellon fellowship, an award meant to support scholarship outside Europe and the United States with a particular cross-cultural emphasis. His dissertation, entitled Rubens in a New World: Prints, Authorship, and Transatlantic Intertextuality, treats the reception of prints by the seventeenth-century Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens in colonial Latin America. In the colonial period, European prints flooded the New World, and today Latin American churches and museums are filled with paintings that were copied or derived from these European sources. Aaron uses this transatlantic frame to reassess how works of art relate to one another across geographic distances and cultural divides and to rethink the terms through which early modern authorship has been understood: originality, invention, replication, and the slavish copy. Before taking up residence at the Center in 2016-17, he will spend the year based in Mexico City and Cuzco, Peru completing research for this project.
Michelle "Micki" McCoy, the 2015-17 Ittleson fellow, is writing a dissertation on the visual culture of Chinese and Inner Asian astrology and astronomy during their “golden age” from the tenth to fourteenth century. In this material, forms and concepts often appear in unexpected places, such as the western zodiac signs encircling a rock-cut Daoist shrine in present-day Sichuan and the Chinese asterisms adorning the ceiling of a Turkic Buddhist grotto on the eastern Silk Road. The body of paintings and Tangut-language texts from the Xixia kingdom, an Inner Asian state in which astral deities formed an official cult, sheds particularly important light on the processes of cultural translation at the heart of the astral arts in this period. Micki's dissertation will not only establish new connections among heterogeneous cultural realms, but also show how these processes of knowledge transfer and adaptation were fundamentally visual. She is spending 2015-16 doing fieldwork in Asia and Europe and will take up her residency in 2016-17 at the Center in Washington, DC.
Professor Lisa Trever and some students in the seminar "Mural Painting and the Ancient Americas" arrive at the de Young Museum in San Francisco to study and photograph the fragments of ancient murals from Teotihuacan, Mexico on view there in the Harald Wagner collection. With the support of the Digital Humanities at Berkeley initiative and the staff of the Visual Resources Center of the Department of History of Art, the class used specialized equipment to take photographs for panoramic stitching and photogrammetry. Special thanks to Sue Grinols, Director of Photo Services and Imaging, and Dr. Matthew Robb, curator of the Art of the Americas at the de Young, for making this visit possible. Students enrolled in the seminar will use these photographs in the production of their final research projects. The surprisingly traffic-free trip from Berkeley to Golden Gate Park even allowed the group to stop for tea at the Japanese Tea Garden before beginning their photographic work!
Left to right: Yessica Porras, Kat Huggins, Michaela Guerrera, Gabriella Nunez, Verónica Múnoz-Nájar, Nathan Kelleher, Lisa Trever, and Arianna Campiani.
Photograph by Lynn Cunningham
Darcy Grimaldo Grigsby's new book, Enduring Truths: Sojourner's Shadow and Substance (U. Chicago Press, 2015) has hit the bookstores! Professor Grigsby was interviewed recently for an article that appears in today's New York Times. The Department is pleased and honored to note that Professor Grigsby's collection of Sojourner Truth and Civil War photographs and ephemera will be featured in an exhibition at the Berkeley Art Museum next summer.
Sugata Ray is one of the artists contributing to "(processing) Bay Area Artists and the Archive," an exhibition hosted by the Art Practice Department during the month of October. The opening reception is Wednesday, October 7 at 4:00 p.m. in the Worth Ryder Gallery.