UC Berkeley History of Art Department


arts.berkeley.edu Archive

  • A Line in the Sand: Art, Ecology, and Precarity
    The Berkeley/Stanford Symposium at SFMOMA

    A Line in the Sand takes its title from the sense of precarity and urgency emerging from recent efforts to take unified global action on environmental issues. Epitomized by the mission to mitigate climate change outlined in the Paris Agreement, drawing a line in the sand marks a boundary, the recognition of a critical horizon that demands a collective response and solution. In the wake of the United States' decision to withdraw from this seemingly global imperative, what are the limitations of political action in the name of the environment? Do these strategies reduce Earth to a receptive surface for human action, and narrowly legislate what counts as positive engagement with the environment? Are there ways of visualizing our relationship to the planet — other ecologies — that go beyond conservation, sustainability, and "living green" to address humanity's inextricably deep political, social, and cultural entanglement with the environment? Across art, design, and visual culture, what new forms of action do such ecologies permit?


  • The Past is Present: Virtuality, Archaeology, and the Future of History -BCNM Spring 2018 Symposium

    Until 4:00 pm | 04/06/2018

    With rapid advances in modern documentation and interpretive technologies such as scanning, visualization, and Virtual and Augmented Reality, how must our study of the past and its material legacy adapt?

    The Past is Present is an interdisciplinary event bringing together scholars, students, technology innovators, and cultural heritage workers in conversation about new methods and tools which are shaping their work.

    Over the course of three days (April 4-6), the Berkeley Center for New Media will provide a venue for an international group to explore critical issues of new technologies. On April 4th, we will begin the program with an opening reception for a VR exhibition around art, archaeology, and architecture. The symposium on April 5th will feature scholarly presentations on topics such as Documenting Archaeology and Architecture; Accessing history through Drawings, Plans, Casts, and Copies; and Academic, Public, and Pedagogical Priorities for the 21st Century. Participants will also grapple with these issues through hands-on demos and workshops alongside professionals in the tech industry on the last day of the event.

    Speakers include: Christophe Girot (University of Zurich), Nicolo Dell'Unto (Lund University), Elaine Sullivan (University of California, Santa Cruz), Eugenie Shinkle (University of Westminster), Adam Lowe (Factum Arte), Brendan Cormier (Victoria & Albert Museum), David Gissen (California College of the Arts), Lynn Cunningham (University of California Berkeley), Rachel Optiz (University of South Florida), Maurizio Forte (Duke University), Stuart Eve (University College London), Sonia Katyal (University of California Berkeley), Ben Porter (University of California, Berkeley)

    Schedule to be announced shortly! For more information and registration details visit the Berkeley Center for New Media website.

    Presented in partnership with swissnex San Francisco.

  • Careers Beyond the Tenure Track

    Until 2:00 pm | 03/14/2018

     Speaker: Robert J. Kett, Canadian Centre for Architecture and Curatorial Assistant of Architecture + Design, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

  • The Princess and the Prayer Scroll

    Until 7:00 pm | 03/13/2018

    Leslie Brubaker

     Byzantine private prayer scrolls are rare.  Most date from the 13th or 14th centuries, and while several of them were written in gold ink only two of the preserved examples — neither of which has ever been published — contain any images.  This paper presents one of the illustrated scrolls, now held in a private collection.  It identifies the woman who owned it, considers the role of private prayer scrolls in the late Byzantine period, and examines the gender issues that this particular example raises.

    Leslie Brubaker is Emerita Professor of Byzantine Art & Director of the Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies at the University of Birmingham. A comprehensive biography is available here.

    Co-sponsored by the Program in Medieval Studies and the History of Art Department.

    A reception will follow.

  • The Italian ‘Commercial Revolution’: An Archaeological Reading?: A talk by Chris Wickham

    Until 7:00 pm | 03/12/2018

    Chris Wickham, Chichele Professor of Medieval History emeritus at Oxford University and Fellow of All Souls College

    Sponsored by the UC Berkeley Medieval Studies Program

  • Cartonera books from Latin America

    Amateurism Across the Arts Conference

    Until 6:15 pm | 02/09/2018

    Amateurism Across the Arts is an exploration of vernacular, popular, fannish, kitsch, informal, self-taught, user-generated, and DIY production in music, architecture, literature, the visual arts, dance, and new media– especially in relation to raced, classed, and gendered notions of value. How do the implicitly skilled “arts” rupture and reorganize themselves around hierarchies of taste? And how can critical race and feminist/queer scholarship account for “hobbyist” — that is, extra-institutional, self-organized, or improvised — modes of cultural production and circulation? If amateurism has been traditionally disavowed in modernist and avant-garde historiographies, it is at the same time persistently—even obsessively—invoked, and is hence inextricably woven into those discourses.

    The symposium asks how the “high” and the “low” are porous constructions by looking at the ways that these charged terms have been deployed and dismantled across several artistic disciplines, particularly as we examine the alternative economies and systems of distribution that attend such forms of making. While it has become commonplace for “fine” artists to recruit untrained participants into their practices, it is vital to acknowledge that many non-professional forms of making grow out of necessity and survival. In addition, though “amateur” is frequently used as a shorthand for the unpracticed and/or uninteresting, this conference seeks to understand its connections to its root word amare: a complex outgrowth of critical investment, pleasure, and love.

    Schedule of Events

    Organized by Julia Bryan-Wilson, Director, Arts Research Center

  • AAVC Workshop with Stacey Sloboda

    Until 6:00 pm | 03/08/2018

    Stacey Sloboda


    Please join the Asian Art and Visual Cultures Working Group for an upcoming workshop with Stacey Sloboda, Associate Professor of Art History at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.


    Professor Sloboda specializes in 18th- and 19th-century histories of ornament, decorative arts, and collecting and display and has published extensively on the global histories of Chinese porcelain. We will be discussing her recent co-edited volume Eighteenth-Century Art Worlds: Global and Local Geographies of Art, which examines the interwoven and cross-cultural histories of Chinese, Japanese, Indian, and European design. We hope that this workshop can be an opportunity to discuss Professor Sloboda's current research and, more broadly, consider our own work in relation to emergent scholarship on global art histories. Please contact Shivani Sud for readings.


  • Stoddard Lecture Spring 2018

    Elissa Auther, Visiting Associate Professor and Windgate Research and Collections Curator, Museum of Arts and Design, Bard Graduate Center.

    Textile Narratives: Andean Hand Weaving and the Rise of Modern Fiber Art
    Artists central to the fiber art movement in the U.S. in the 1960s and 70s, including Sheila Hicks, Ed Rossbach, Ruth Asawa, Lenore Tawney, and Alice Kagawa Parrott, to name a few, shared an abiding interest in Andean weaving and other indigenous textile traditions of the ancient Americas. This paper addresses the origins of the awareness of these traditions and its meanings for artists working in the aesthetically maligned medium of fiber in the post-war period.

  • Embrace, 2005, Emily Jacir

    Emily Jacir in conversation with Natalia Brizuela, Ahmad Diab, and Atreyee Gupta

    Until 1:30 pm | 02/15/2018

    The artist Emily Jacir (Spring 2018 Regents' Lecturer) in conversation with Natalia Brizuela, Associate Professor, Film and Media, and Spanish and Portuguese; Ahmad Diab, Assistant Professor, Near Eastern Studies; and Atreyee Gupta, Assistant Professor, History of Art.


  • Approaching the Tenure Track Job Market

    Until 7:00 pm | 02/14/2018

    Speakers: Whitney Davis and Anneka Lenssen.  

  • Modern Art in the Arab World: Primary Documents

    Translation as Research with Ahmad Diab, Anneka Lenssen, and Kathy Zarur

    Until 8:00 pm | 02/13/2018

    Ahmad Diab, Anneka Lenssen and Kathy Zarur

    To celebrate the upcoming publication of the anthology Modern Art in the Arab World: Primary Documents (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2018), co-editor Anneka Lenssen (Assistant Professor, Global Modern Art, UC Berkeley) joins Ahmad Diab (Assistant Professor of Arabic Literature, UC Berkeley), and Kathy Zarur (curator and Lecturer in Visual Studies, CCA) in a conversation exploring the possibilities of translation as artistic research. The event will feature brief readings in English and Arabic of texts in the anthology and a discussion of related works of art. In turn, specific of acts of translation (whether between languages, or between text and image) will be examined in relation to problems of global canon, world literature, and the internationalism of socialist pathways of cultural exchange in the 1960s and 1970s–the latter engaged in its own, important translational projects. In light of recent efforts in the United States to revisit and revive Arab modernist and avant-garde histories by means of translation, how do we understand the hopes and challenges of this period? To what extent did artists themselves, located in complicated colonial and post-colonial conditions, already work by translation—between languages, materials, and worldview? And in what ways might such translations-as-research intervene upon contemporary cultural practice?


    Translation as Research: February 13

  • Open House + Arts/Visual Collections Showcase

    Until 6:00 pm | 02/13/2018

     The Art History/Classics Library and the History of Art Visual Resources Center are hosting an event to bring together the many arts-related and visual scholarly resources and scholarly output from around the UC Berkeley campus and beyond. Please join us and learn more about these arts/visual collections at our Open House + Collections Showcase. It will be a book-fair style event with outreach materials and collection highlights from the many collections around campus, the California Digital Library, and the University of California Press.

  • Fourth Annual CAA Preview

    Until 2:00 pm | 02/02/2018

    Ivy Mills, Emma R. Silverman, Imogen Hart, Rebecca Levitan and Grace Harpster

    Morning Papers
    10:00 – 10:40 Ivy Mills, "Maimouna Guerresi's Woman-Minaret."
    10:40 – 11:20 Emma R. Silverman, “Making a Modern Monument: Photography and the Watts Towers.”
    11:20 – 12:00 Imogen Hart, "Inside Out: Exhibiting Decorative Art Between the Wars."
    12:00 – 12:30 Break. Coffee and light refreshments will be served.
    Afternoon Papers
    12:30 – 1:10 Rebecca Levitan, "Pasquino the ‘Speaking Statue’: How a Hellenistic Sculpture Became the Voice of Early Modern Rome."
    1:10 – 1:50 Grace Harpster, “Figino’s True Effigy: Portraits of Carlo Borromeo as Saintly Testimony.”

  • Insurgent Imaginaries: Art and Iconoclasm in the Eighteenth-Century Andes

    Ananda Cohen-Aponte, Cornell University

    This presentation focuses on the production, modification, and destruction of images within the context of the Tupac Amaru (1780–1783) and Tupac Katari (1780–1781) Rebellions of the southern Andes. Historians and anthropologists have produced numerous studies on the sociocultural, economic, and political dimensions of anticolonial movements in the Andes. The visual and aesthetic aspects of these rebellions, however, remain largely overlooked in the scholarly literature. Drawing on new field and archival research, this presentation considers interventions into the material world as a form of political praxis. In particular, it analyzes several case studies involving the breaking, burning, and modification of artworks by rebels and royalists alike, calling into question the terms under which we define defacement and censorship. This presentation looks at a variety of objects, including portraits, textiles, sculptures, and khipus in order to highlight the diverse visual worlds that intervened in the practice of political subversion.

  • From SFMOMA to the Ghost Ship: Exploring Bay Area Arts Ecosystems

    UC Berkeley Undergraduate Seminar Final Projects Launch Event
    Please join us at La Peña in the Lounge for brief presentations and discussion of collaborative research projects developed during the Fall semester.

    Light Snacks

    Free • The Public is cordially invited!
    Presented by

    “From SFMOMA to the Ghost Ship: Exploring Bay Area Arts Ecosystems”
    UC Berkeley History of Art Department and American Studies Program

    Special thanks to La Peña
    “Promoting social justice, arts participation and intercultural understanding since 1975”