UC Berkeley History of Art Department


arts.berkeley.edu Archive

  • Nainsukh, Villagers Around a Tree, ca. 1765; Indian Museum, Kolkata

    CANCELLED: In Search of Nainsukh with B.N. Goswamy

    This event has been cancelled. We apologize for any inconvenience.

    Sponsors: The Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive, The Institute for South Asia Studies, The South Asia Art Initiative.

     “In the context of traditional Indian art it is often said that tracking an artist is akin to keeping an eye on a platter of votive leaves you have released on the waters of a swift current. Yet the effort is worth making,” said B. N. Goswamy, one of India’s leading art historians. In this illustrated lecture, Goswamy discusses the work of the great eighteenth-century Indian painter Nainsukh and describes the long and complex paths he took to find his way to the artist.

    Professor emeritus of art history at the Panjab University, Chandigarh, Goswamy has had a major impact on the field of Indian painting. The recipient of many honors, such as the Tagore National Fellowship for Cultural Research, he has taught worldwide, including at the Universities of Heidelberg, Zurich, Pennsylvania, Texas (at Austin), and California (at Berkeley.) The two-volume study which he coedited, Masters of Indian Painting: 1100-1900, introduced eponymous major exhibitions at the Rietberg Museum, Zurich and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. He is the author of more than twenty-five books, including the classic studies Nainsukh of Guler and The Spirit of Indian Painting. His most recent work is on the painter Manaku of Guler.

  • Yale Art Gallery image

    Shah Abbas' Iran and Global Early Modernity

    Until 7:15 pm | 05/08/2019

    Kishwar Rizvi, Chair, Council on Middle East Studies Professor, Department of the History of Art Yale University

    The UC Berkeley History of Art Department is proud to present a lecture by Kishwar Rizvi (Yale): Shah Abbas' Iran and Global Early Modernity.
    This event is free and open to the public.

  • Crossed Braids, Parallel Lives: Boccaccio, Botticelli, and the Way of Looking at Hair

    Emanuele Lugli

    The Departments of Italian Studies and History of Art are proud to present Emanuele Lugli (Stanford University): CROSSED BRAIDS, PARALLEL LIVES: BOCCACCIO, BOTTICELLI, AND THE WAY OF LOOKING AT HAIR


  • St. Anne Teaching the Virgin to Read; 18th century; Goa. Repository: St. Joseph's Seminary Museum, Macau

    2019 Judith Stronach Travel Seminar Symposium

    Until 5:00 pm | 04/23/2019

    Indian Ocean Art Histories: Goa; Bombay; Kochi

    The 2019 Judith Stronach Travel Seminar focused on the Indian Ocean, the third largest water body and the world’s oldest cultural continuum that has facilitated the mobility of people, objects, and ideas over millennia. Students in the seminar mapped the ways in which such oceanic networks also shaped the global history of art from the early modern period to the contemporary by focusing on three key moments in this longue durée history: Goa in the early modern period, Bombay (now Mumbai) under British rule, and the contemporary in Kochi via the 2018 Kochi-Muziris Biennale. In this day-long public symposium, participants of the seminar will present their research papers. The Travel Seminar was made possible due to a generous gift to the Department of History of Art from the Estate of Judith Lee Stronach.


    Oceanic Art Histories: A Brief Introduction, 11:00-11:15am
    • Indian Ocean Art Histories, Sugata Ray
    • Notes From the Field, Diliana Angelova

    Networks of Circulation, 11:15-12:45pm
    • Rethinking East Asia in the Indian Ocean World: Tsukijihonganji Temple and Indo-Saracenic Style Architecture across the Japanese Empire, Andrea Jung-An Liu
    • Eco Art Deco: Maritime Modernisms of Bombay and Beyond, Riad Kherdeen
    • The ‘Free-floating’ Srinagar Biennale: Kashmir’s Distant Traumas Transported, Melissa Carlson

    Lunch, 12:45-1:45pm

    Considering Material, 1:45-3:15pm
    • Bom Jesus: Questions Concerning Style in Goan Church Architecture, Joseph Albanese
    • Pierced Bodies: Ivory and Wood Figures in Kochi and Goa, Ramón De Santiago
    • Material Matrix: The Trans-Oceanic and Geological Construction of the Victoria Terminus, Joel Thielen

    Break, 3:15-3:30pm

    Art Histories from Below, 3:30-5:00pm
    • Forgotten Crosses: Material Evidence of a Medieval Indian Ocean Christianity, Ariana Pemberton
    • Sanskritizing the Vernacular Aesthetic: Re-contextualizing Betal and other Goan folk deities through the lens of Vedic Orthodoxies, Alex Ciolac
    • Problems and Possibilities of “Resistance:” Positioning the 4th Kochi-Muziris Biennale, Katherine Bruhn

    Wine Reception, 5:00pm


  • Graduate Student Professionalization Workshop Series, 2018-19

    Until 2:00 pm | 04/17/2019

    Postdoctoral Fellowships and the Tenure Track Market
    Speakers: Gregory Levine and Lauren Kroiz
    Wednesday, April 17, 2019, 1:00-2:00, 308A Doe


    **Brown Bag event. Light refreshments will be provided**

  • Graduate Student Professionalization Workshop Series

    Until 2:00 pm | 04/17/2019

    Gregory Levine and Lauren Kroiz

    Postdoctoral Fellowships and the Tenure Track Market
    Speakers: Gregory Levine and Lauren Kroiz
    Wednesday, April 17, 2019, 1:00-2:00, 308A Doe Library

    **Brown Bag event. Light refreshments will be provided** 

  • 2019 Digital Humanities Fair, April 15-18

    Until 6:00 pm | 04/19/2019

    Please join us for the 2019 Digital Humanities Fair, April 15-18! The DH Fair is an annual event that offers the UC Berkeley community the opportunity to share projects at various stages of development, receive invaluable feedback from peers, and reflect on the field more broadly.

    Please note that the Poster Session/Reception and Keynote are free ticketed events. We recommend getting your tickets early.

    DH Fair Reception and Poster Session
    Monday, April 15th

    Help us kick off the 2019 DH Fair by browsing posters on recent DH work at Berkeley and enjoying refreshments with colleagues. Free tickets required.

    You can also propose a poster to present at the Reception by April 8th.

    Keynote: Zeynep Tufekci
    Hate Speech, Algorithms, and Digital Connectivity
    Monday, April 15th

    Techno-sociologist Zeynep Tufekci, an expert on the relationship between social media and social movements, will enter into dialogue with campus hate speech researchers on what it means to enter into an age of digital connectivity and machine intelligence in which algorithms are increasingly used to make consequential decisions about us. Dr. Zeynep Tufekci is an Associate Professor at the UNC School of Information and Library Science (SILS), the author of Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protests, and a New York Times opinion writer. She is a faculty associate at the Harvard Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society. This talk requires a (free) seat reservation. Reservations will be made available to book at 10am on 4/05/19. Watch the Facebook page for updates.

    DH+Lib: Building and Preserving Collections for Digital Humanities Research
    Wednesday, April 17th
    Doe Library 180

    This session will feature panelists building collections and tools for local digital humanities projects. Kathryn Stine, manager for digital content development and strategy at the California Digital Library, will talk about building web archive collections through collaboration, preparing these collections for discovery and use, and tapping the research potential of the resulting captured content and data. Mary Elings, Head of Technical Services for The Bancroft Library, will talk about the role libraries can play in developing research-ready digital collections to facilitate emerging research methods. And Gisèle Tanasse, Film & Media Services Librarian at the Library, will discuss her role in Shakespeare’s Staging, a DH project to help digitize, preserve, and make accessible Shakespeare performances from UC Berkeley students.

    3D Printed Replicas for Ancient Egyptian Antiquities
    Rita Lucarelli, Department of Near Eastern Studies, UC Berkeley
    Thursday, April 18th
    Art History/Classics Library, Doe 308A

    3D digital and printed replicas of various ancient Egyptian antiquities, from statues and busts to coffins, stelas and other magical objects, are becoming increasingly popular on the web as well as in museums kiosks and shops. Rita Lucarelli, Associate Professor of Egyptology, will discuss how the 3D models of ancient Egyptian coffins produced for the “Book of the Dead in 3D” project at UC Berkeley advances the study of ancient Egyptian heritage. This lecture is part of the Ancient History and Mediterranean Archaeology (AHMA) Colloquium, "Digital Humanities and the Ancient World."

    D-Lab, Digital Humanities at Berkeley, Arts + Design, Berkeley Center for New Media, The Center for Technology and Society at the Anti-Defamation League, Digital Humanities Working Group, The Library, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, History of Art/The Visual Resources Center, Ancient History and Mediterranean Archaeology (AHMA) Colloquium

  • The 2019 Berkeley/Stanford Symposium at SFMOMA- Save the Date!

    The thrid Berkeley/Stanford Symposium will be on April 13, 2019. 

    The Berkeley/Stanford Symposium is an annual gathering of emerging voices in the arts. Organized collaboratively by graduate students in Art History at both Stanford and UC Berkeley, the symposia are open to graduate students in all fields and young members of the wider community of visual culture, including artists, designers, museum professionals, and writers.

    Details and RSVP information will be announced when available, check back soon!

  • Objects of Special Note(s): Constructions of Containment, Writers and Readers by Late Roman Ivory Writing Tablets

    Until 5:00 pm | 04/09/2019

    Ann Kuttner, University of Pennsylvania

     A striking new genre of Late Roman precious things was the enormous, carefully decorated, ivory writing tablet, with subjects Christian, polytheist, political, mythological, and more. This was a hyper-luxurious version of a vitally useful object for writing of all kinds. Discussion of the some 200 Late Antique ivory diptychs’ typically seeks historic aristocrats in those tablets inscribed for magistrates’ appointments, thus engendering dates to which to pin narratives of Late Roman style (and politics). Some diptychs draw detailed stylistic or iconographic discussion. But very, very few scholars meditate the decorations of these things, often items of gift economy -- visual epistles -- in regard to their character as artifacts: objects to open and close, whose interiors greatly mattered as notional containers of a written voice scripted by or for those giving or owning them. In that context it matters that exteriors display inscribed objects and calligraphic pattern; scroll, codex, or diptych are encountered by authors, readers, auditors, Muses; protagonists enunciate, doors open, bureaucrats scribble in diptychs, ritual boxes gape... How do object and image, thing and script, mutually animate one another? This presentation probes the interplay of visual language, object identity, and the "material text" to better understand a major genre of Late Antique artifice.

  • Ethics of Care: Reflections on Blackness, Art, and the Institution

    Bridget R. Cooks, Erica Deeman, Mildred Howard, and Naima Keith

    Anticipating the exhibition About Things Loved: Blackness and Belonging, this program aims for critical engagement around questions of belonging, curatorial possibilities, and the role of institutions. Coming together to discuss these issues are Bridget R. Cooks, Erica Deeman, Mildred Howard, and Naima Keith.

    Bridget R. Cooks will contribute insights from her influential publication Exhibiting Blackness: African Americans and the American Art Museum, focusing on Peter Bradley’s Isom Dart I, which is featured in the exhibition. Cooks’s scholarship addresses representations of African Americans in visual culture, the history of African American artists, and museum criticism. She is an associate professor in the Departments of Art History and African American Studies at UC Irvine.

    Artist Erica Deeman will discuss her photography featured in the exhibition. Deeman’s work visualizes themes of identity, gender, and race and explores the tradition of portraiture. With the portrait, she engages her audience to question how viewers evaluate the face through their own visual expectations and historical portrayals.

    Mildred Howard, an installation and mixed-media artist and educator, will talk about her work, also featured in the exhibition. Howard is known for her large-scale installations invoking both collective history and personal narrative.

    Naima Keith, deputy director of exhibitions and programs at the California African American Museum, will discuss how art can forge dialogues around history and consider possibilities for curating in the contemporary moment. Keith’s curatorial focus is art of the African diaspora; she was formerly associate curator at the Studio Museum in Harlem.

    This event is included with BAMPFA admission, for more information see the museum's event listing.

  • Stoddard Seminar Spring 2019-- "Designing Identity"

    Until 2:00 pm | 03/20/2019

    Thelma K. Thomas, Associate Professor of Fine Art, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University

    The seminar is based on Professor Thelma Thomas' essays and work for the exhibition Designing Identity: The Power of Textiles in Late Antique Egypt (2016).

    Ideals of character and beauty, and conceptions of self and society, were in flux during Late Antiquity, a period of extensive dramatic cultural upheaval for the Roman world, as the extraordinary growth of Christianity eclipsed paganism. Textiles from Late Antiquity document transformations of cultural traditions and societal values at the most intimate level of the individual body and the home. These textile artifacts are fragile, preserved only in arid conditions, often in fragments, and only rarely intact.

    The textiles selected for the exhibition Designing Identity at New York University's Institute for the Study of the Ancient World present an aesthetic of vibrant colors, fine materials, technical virtuosity of professional production, and variations on designs that display personal identity in the clothing of men, women, and children, as well as hopes for prosperity and protection in the textile furnishings of households. Prized for their artistry since the earliest discoveries beginning at the turn of the nineteenth century, such textiles were eagerly collected by designers, artists, scholars, museums, and captains of industry. This exhibition catalogue explores the parallel histories of ancient textile production and consumption, and the modern business of collecting Late Antique textiles.

    Attendance is open to UC Berkeley History of Art Department students, faculty, staff, and invited guests.

  • Stoddard Lecture Spring 2019-- Monastic Lessons in Cloth from Late Antique Egypt: Worn, Embodied, and Remembered

    Until 7:00 pm | 03/19/2019

    Thelma K. Thomas, Associate Professor of Fine Art, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University

    Explorations of late antique painted portraits of the Egyptian desert fathers yield lessons about leading a righteous life. This presentation considers how visual messages and teaching texts about clothing directed attention to lessons embedded in the actual garments in which monastic fathers vested their spiritual children. In this way, the monastic habit could cue memories ranging from instruction about daily behavior to contemplation of the salvific virtues of monastic life that would form the monk's future resurrection body.

  • Computational Photography Techniques for Object-Based Research

    Until 2:00 pm | 03/15/2019

    Carla Schroer, Co-founder and Director of Cultural Heritage Imaging (CHI), San Francisco

    In this workshop, Carla Schroer will introduce the basics of two methods of computational photography—RTI and photogrammetry--and the extraordinary possibilities they offer for the study of artworks and historical artifacts. Schroer will demonstrate how light alone can be harnessed to reveal surface information unavailable through direct observation. Her talk will also will showcase the applicability of photogrammetry (3-D modeling) for the research, conservation, and documentation of artworks. The presentation includes an overview of the needed equipment, software, basic image collection techniques, and data preservation through Digital Notebook. Schroer is a pioneer and leader in the field of computational photography. She has worked on numerous cultural preservation projects (a Diego Rivera mural, Greek stelai, medieval manuscripts) and taught such workshops around the world. Her talk is not to be missed.


    The workshop has received funding from the Stoddard Lecture Series Fund and the History of Art Department at UC Berkeley.

  • Ceiling of Main Chamber, Cave 9, Yungang. Second Half of the Fifth Century.

    The Architecture of Hyperbole: Problematics of Scale and Style in Early Chinese Buddhist Architecture

    Until 7:15 pm | 02/27/2019

    Jun Hu, Assistant Professor, Northwestern University

     The physical dimensions of Buddhas, like the Dharma, are often understood to be unfathomable. Even when they are described in scriptures, they appear in such hyperbolic terms that put them beyond human measure. The creation of cultic images and architectural spaces to enclose them therefore becomes a challenge and an opportunity to articulate the scaled relationship between the Buddha and the devotee. This lecture will look at how this is achieved at two levels: the creation of cave complexes and the construction of standalone timber structures and will conclude with some thoughts on the implications of this encounter with Buddhism for the development of Chinese architecture.

  • Shrine of the Mañjughoṣa Emperor, c. 1787. Niched hanging panel and calligraphy couplet. Eastern side hall, Pavilion of Raining Flowers, Palace Museum, Beijing.

    Refuge in the Empire: Art of Buddhist Kingship in Qing Dynasty China

    Until 7:15 pm | 02/20/2019

    Wen-Shing Chou, Assistant Professor, Hunter College

    In 1757, the Qing Qianlong emperor of China sent a portrait of himself to Tibet with the express instructions that the image serve as his surrogate for making pilgrimages and receiving veneration. The portrait, which subsequently became a locus of devotion in the Potala Palace in Lhasa, features the emperor in the guise of an ordained Buddhist monk, king, and deity at the center of a vast spiritual pantheon above a paradisiacal landscape. At least a dozen similar works were produced at imperial workshops in Beijing throughout the latter half of the eighteenth century. This talk examines how these ideological images harnessed the efficacy of vision, materiality, lineage, and liturgy within an Indo-Tibetan devotional framework to effect and affirm a Qing-centered Buddhist orthodoxy.