Lisa Trever and Victoria Lyall
Lisa Trever and Victoria Lyall (SFSU) will convene an interdisciplinary symposium on Mural Painting and the Ancient Americas, within the annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology on Saturday, April 18, 2015, 8 a.m. to noon., at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square.
Artist and activist Judy Baca argues that “Muralism is a work made in relatedness. Related to the people that surround it; related to the place it is in and made in a public voice.” Indeed, mural paintings—made either in twentieth-century Los Angeles or in eighth-century Guatemala—are works that are often time-, place-, and community-specific. Often the life of a mural is brief, until it is expunged, repainted, or—more often in the case of ancient American examples—interred and built over. The close ties between murals and the time, place, and people of their facture make their ephemerality all the more poignant.
In the last thirty years we have witnessed extraordinary archaeological discoveries of mural paintings throughout the Americas. This has also been a period of marked advances in technical, material, and art historical research and reassessments of long-known painted walls. This symposium brings together archaeologists, art historians, archaeometrists, conservators, and curators to discuss the meanings and functions of mural paintings from the American Southwest, Mesoamerica, and South America. Emphasis is placed on the ways in which context matters in the production of meaning and how archaeological inquiry might open new vistas on murals as temporally, spatially, and socially “related” works. Papers include archaeological subjects as well as historical and contemporary subjects that relate later murals and muralisms to the ancient American past.
The 4th Mario A. Del Chiaro Lecture: The Religious Landscape of Etruria: new discoveries and interpretations
For many centuries the Tuscan landscape has provided the setting for hilltop cities and towns, undulating hills covered with olive trees or vineyards, and rivers and roads that provide avenues for trade and travels between the coast and the inland. The landscape was important to the Etruscans, but for reasons that may escape us unless we are willing to see what we look at and to develop a sensitivity for the importance of sacred places throughout ancient Etruria. Thanks to literary sources and abundant archaeological evidence it is possible, although not always easy, to recreate the religious landscape created by the Etruscans, with sacred mountains and caves, springs and lakes, combined with elaborate urban and extra—urban sanctuaries with temples and altars.
In her lecture Ingrid Edlund-Berry will present examples of known and lesser known sacred spaces of ancient Etruria and hope to show how the landscape contributed to the Etruscan perception of the world and the worship of deities that determined the wellbeing of individuals as well as communities with a sense of religious piety that the neighbors of the Etruscans, including the Romans, seem to have found both puzzling and enviable.
Ingrid Edlund-Berry is Professor Emerita in the Department of Classics at the University of Texas at Austin.
Affective Bodies - Performative Cultures and Aesthetic Practices: A Round Table with Photo and Visual Artist, Pushpamala N.
The Institute for South Asia Studies is organizing a roundtable with Pushpamala N., a renowned Bangalore-based contemporary artist. Pushpamala’s photo-performances and videos invoke a wide range of subjects from colonial photography, popular prints, premodern manuscript painting, and cinema to explore questions of gender, identity, and history through masquerade. The roundtable is a collateral event in conjunction with Postdate: Photography and Inherited History in India, an exhibition on contemporary Indian photography at the San Jose Museum of Art (February–August, 2015), the catalog for which has been published by the University of California Press.
Join Pushpamala N. in conversation with Assistant Professor of South Asian Art Sugata Ray; Associate Professor in the Department of Art Practice Allan deSouza; Assistant Professor of English Poulomi Saha; and Associate Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures and Comparative Literature Harsha Ram on the aesthetics of the body.
In conjunction with the launching of the second, fully revised and expanded six volume edition of the Encyclopedia of Aesthetics (July 2014), the Arts Research Center will co-host a full day symposium on Friday, March 13, 2015, looking at aesthetics as both the subject and object of critique, and as a way to explore and expand new forms of aesthetics research in many disciplines. This symposium is free and open to the public.
Topics and speakers will include the following:
Arts and Humanities Dean Anthony Cascardi and Encyclopedia of Aesthetics Editor Michael Kelly
10am-12pm: When Is Art Participatory?
Shannon Jackson (UC Berkeley), Moderator
Grant Kester (UC San Diego)
Dee Hibbert-Jones (UC Santa Cruz)
Ted Purves (California College of Art)
Susanne Cockrell (California College of Arts)
Jen Delos Reyes (Artist, Educator and community arts organizer)
1-2:45pm: When is Computing Aesthetic?
Greg Niemeyer (UC Berkeley), Moderator
Edward Shanken (U Washington)
Sharon Daniel (UC Santa Cruz)
Eric Paulos (UC Berkeley)
3-5pm: When Is Art Contemporary?
Julia Bryan-Wilson (UC Berkeley), Moderator
Richard Meyer (Stanford)
Jeffrey Skoller (UC Berkeley)
SanSan Kwan (UC Berkeley)
5pm-5:30pm: Symposium Wrap-Up
Led by Michael Kelly
Robin Greeley, Associate Professor of Modern and Contemporary Latin American Art History, Berkeley PhD 1996, will return to the Department to give a public lecture on her current book project, on the intersection of photography, modernity and rurality in 20th century Mexico.
This talk explores 'Arab Surrealist' ideas and images from the period 1945-53: work by artists and intellectuals in Egypt, Lebanon, and Syria who conceived of the artist's medium as living and shape-shifting material rather than an inanimate means to make a picture on a surface. Lenssen draws on an archive of sketches, critical writings, and artist letters to highlight how figures such as Bishr Fares, Saloua Raouda Choucair, Mounir Canaan, and Fateh al-Moudarres sought to preserve the openness of visual form to possession by other, non-visual entities such as music, atomic energy, and the spirit. At issue in these investigations of surreality was the very nature of sovereign creation in the Arab East, past and future.
Until 6:30 pm | 03/05/2015
The Mobilities and Materialities of the Early Modern World Townsend Working Group presents:
Spaces of Cultural Change in Africa and the Atlantic
A workshop with presentations by:
Assistant Professor, History Department, UC Merced
“Enslaved Underwater Divers: Challenging Ideas of Race and Slavery from Below”
Assistant Professor, Art History Department, University of Chicago
“The Art of Conversion in the Kingdom of Kongo”
Co-sponsored by the Designated Emphasis in Renaissance and Early Modern Studies
The discovery in 1900 - and dispersal worldwide within little over a decade - of a Library Cave hidden for almost 1000 years in the Buddhist cave temples of Dunhuang was a catalyst for China's positioning itself as a key player in a pre-modern 'global' world, the Silk Road. Dunhuang, a UNESCO world heritage site, remains at the forefront of China's bid to consolidate this through the current international Silk Road nomination. In her talk, Susan Whitfield, curator, Central Asian manuscripts at the British Library, will introduce the collections, their discovery and dispersal and the role of China in the collaborative work of the past two decades to reunite the collections digitally, through the International Dunhuang Project, and Pat Berger of the Department of History of Art will also discuss the site.
The Stoddard Lecturer for 2014-15 is Professor Thomas B.F. Cummins, Dumbarton Oaks Professor of Pre-Columbian and Colonial Art at Harvard University.
Until 12:00 pm | 02/14/2015
Session: Divine Impersonators: Substance and Presence of Precolumbian Embodiments
Paper: Painted, Performed, Scratched: Divine Encounters in Moche Art and Image
Time: 02/13/2015, 2:30 PM—5:00 PM
Location: Hilton New York, 2nd Floor, Nassau Suite
The study of ancient religious experience in coastal Peru does not benefit from the decipherment of hieroglyphic inscriptions. The earliest Spanish chronicles and Quechua narratives are only of limited use in interpreting traditions of the deeper past. Without reliable recourse to texts, such study must turn its attention to image, object, and material. This paper presents a three-fold set of ancient Moche objects and images that may illuminate practices of engagement with what one might call divine beings: a fineline, stirrup-spout bottle in Berlin; a set of ceramic masks portraying a fanged protagonist known as Ai Apaec; and images of serpents and owls scratched into whitewashed temple walls at Huaca de la Luna and Huaca Cao. Considered together, this visual-material assemblage may provide insight into ancient ritual performance and practices of visionary perception, as marked through narrative representation (the Berlin vase), evidence of embodiment (masks), and haptic recording (so-called graffiti).
Session: The Talisman: A Critical Genealogy
Paper: The Serpent Column Revisited
Time: 02/14/2015, 9:30 AM—12:00 PM
Location: Hilton New York, 3rd Floor, West Ballroom
The serpent column in Istanbul is among the few surviving examples of the monumental talismans that once dotted the city. This paper addresses the circumstances and associations underlying the serpent column’s recognition as a talisman against snakes and snakebites in the 1390s. In doing so, it relates the serpent column to other Byzantine medical talismans, toxicology, and serpent biology. As the column became a talisman, this network of associations played out and embedded itself within a shifting urban landscape. The column’s particular relation to local space and its idiosyncratic ability to enact these associations visually predicated contemporaries’ recognition of it as a talisman. In this way, the serpent column demonstrates the crucial role that visual form, sense perception (especially touch), and affective response play in the recognition of talismans. Once habituated as a talisman, the serpent column instantiates a local logic of contagion and mimesis. Drawing upon Michael Taussig’s work on mimesis, I suggest that the talisman was seen to appropriate natural forces and replicate them as a second nature. As a result, the serpent column is less “an image against nature,” a manmade signifier that negates the natural signified, than it is an image as nature.
Session: Science Is Measurement? Nineteenth-Century Science, Art, and Visual Culture
Paper: Sculpture in the Age of Darwin
Time: 02/14/2015, 2:30 PM—5:00 PM
Location: Hilton New York, 2nd Floor, Madison Suite
Sculpture has received comparatively little attention in the recent turn toward evolutionary theory among historians of nineteenth-century art. This paper considers this neglected field, focusing on late-nineteenth-century sculpture in Britain and the United States. It aims to demonstrate that sculpture makes a distinct contribution to the current dialogue about Darwinism and the visual arts. The paper argues that sculpture’s methods and materials, its close relationship with decoration, and the contested status of ideal sculpture in the period all have important implications for evolutionary debates. It analyzes the use of evolutionary language in nineteenth-century sculpture criticism, exploring how these texts shed light on sculpture’s engagement with Darwinian themes.
Session: Comic Modern
Paper: Daumier's Money Pictures
Time: 02/14/2015, 9:30 AM—12:00 PM
Location: Hilton New York, 2nd Floor, Trianon Ballroom
This paper reconceptualizes the caricatural strategies of Honoré Daumier by focusing on the image of money in his lithographs. Generally speaking, caricature continues to be examined within the framework of the canivalesque, the world turned upside down. The figure of money in Daumier’s oeuvre – and here “money” refers not only to cash and coin, but also to such derivative things as pawnshop tickets, stock certificates, and advertising copy – reveals a different kind of comic operation, an alternative course of movement and exposition, one that proceeds, as it were, inside out rather than bottom to top. In a word, Daumier’s is a critical practice, matter of fact and worldly, partial, tugged and shaped by pessimism; it wages a war over history in the realm of representation.
Session: Handwriting and American Art
Paper: Words of Fulfillment: Practice and Performance in the Art of Sister Gertrude Morgan
Time: 02/12/2015, 12:30 PM—2:00 PM
Location: Hilton New York, 2nd Floor, Nassau Suite
The proliferation of writing has been a pronounced aspect of Sister Gertrude Morgan’s paintings and drawings, one that has been frequently observed, yet under investigated, as a sign of religious fervor by critics of self-taught art. My paper refines this broad assessment of Morgan’s writing by historicizing it within two coterminous arenas: the spiritual economy of post-WWII African American Holiness-Pentecostal belief and practice, and market economy for folk art in the early 1970s….I situate Morgan’s writing as a performative act of spiritual labor alongside the requirements of materiality, legibility, and visuality of which Morgan, who was producing these artworks for sale, was aware (and variously met). By triangulating Morgan’s handwriting with imperatives of religious belief and artistic production, this paper stresses considerations of vernacular performance to challenge the exoticizing and romantic tendencies that permeate the study of self-taught art in the United States.
Session: New Genealogies of American Modernism at Midcentury
Paper: “Almost to Defy Classification”: Horace Pippin and Ad Reinhardt
Time: 02/14/2015, 2:30 PM—5:00 PM
Location: Hilton New York, 3rd Floor, East Ballroom
In 1946, Ad Reinhardt instructed viewers “How to Look at Modern Art in America” with a family tree – a structure used to schematize biological inheritance. However, Reinhardt’s diagram strikingly undermined racial categories. His organization of artists’ surnames by style and subject matter scattered African Americans often grouped together as members of the Harlem Renaissance. Beginning from Reinhardt’s strange placement of the self-trained painter Horace Pippin as a flying bird among modern art’s leaves, my study considers Reinhardt’s early 1940s anti-racist illustrations and the wider 1940s reception of Pippin’s painting in order to demonstrate the ways formal aesthetic categories operated alongside and at odds with those of race in American modernism at midcentury. I explore the ways Reinhardt’s and Pippin’s artwork threatened both aesthetic and racial taxonomies to analyze why and how artistic genealogies can be productively constructed and challenged.
Henrike Christiane Lange, Ph.D. Candidate, Yale University
Ms. Lange is a candidate for a joint faculty position in Renaissance/Early Modern Visual Culture in the Departments of Italian Studies and the History of Art.
Feminist Translations/Queer Mobilities examines themes of genealogy, temporality, acts of translation, and metaphors of mobility in feminist and queer approaches to art, practice, and politics. Bringing together the seminars of Professors Mel Y. Chen (Queer Translations/Gender and Women's Studies) and Julia Bryan-Wilson (Feminist and Queer Theories in Art/History of Art) to foster trans-disciplinary conversation and debate, the conference aims to give equal attention to artists and art objects as to theories and methods, while presuming that such domains are deeply intertwined. Two keynote speakers — Nandita Sharma and Gaye Chan — will bookend the day of graduate student panels. Co-sponsored by the History of Art Department and the Center for the Study of Sexual Culture.
Chiara Franceschini, University College London
Dr. Franceschini is a candidate for a joint faculty position in Renaissance/Early Modern Visual Culture in the Departments of Italian Studies and the History of Art.