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  • Commencement 2017

    History of Art Commencement exercises will take place on Tuesday, May 16 at 9:00 a.m. in the auditorium at BAMPFA. Save the date!

    We are excited to announce that our 2017 Commencement Speaker will be Tirza Latimer, Chair of Visual and Critical Studies at California College of the Arts.

  • Gallery Talk with Students at BAM

    Students who participated in a special curatorial component of the course Contemporary Art in the Americas, co-taught by Curator Constance Lewallen and Professor Julia Bryan-Wilson, discussed works on view at the Berkeley Art Museum. See the exhibit's online "booklet" here.

  • Final Three Weekends: Sojourner Truth, Photography, and the Fight Against Slavery

    This exhibition ends on Sunday, October 23. A review by Maria Porges, local artist and writer and Associate Professor at California College for the Arts, has recently been published. 

  • Rubens Professor in Residence Spring 2017

    The Department is pleased to announce the appointment of Koenraad Van Cleempoel to the visiting Pieter Paul Rubens Chair for Spring 2017. Koenraad Van Cleempoel is one of the world’s foremost experts on Flemish scientific instruments of the Renaissance period, having completed his PhD at the Warburg Institute in the School of Advanced Studies at the University of London in 1998 with a dissertation entitled Aspects of Scientific Instruments Production in Louvain between 1550 and 1600. He is also the co-author of Spheres: The Arts of the Celestial Mechanics (Paris: J. Kugel). Specifically art historical perspectives undertaken in his work include attention to the iconography of scientific instruments in Flemish and Dutch art—in such works as Gossaert’s portrait of a young girl, the Five Senses series of Jan Brueghel the Elder and Peter Paul Rubens and Jan Vermeer’s Astronomer. That Van Cleempoel is an avid pursuer of yet-undiscovered scientific instruments can be seen in his substantive 2003 co-authored article, “A Recently Discovered Sixteenth-Century Spanish Astrolabe” published in Annals of Science, and in 2015, “A Newly Discovered Medieval Astrolabe with Gear Mechanism,” in Medieval Encounters (proceedings of a conference at the Warburg Institute). He holds the position of Full Professor in Art History and Vice-dean of the Faculty of Architecture and Arts of Hasselt University, the youngest and most innovative of universities in Belgium.

    While at Berkeley, Professor Van Cleempoel will teach a seminar on “Sixteenth-Century Scientific Instruments as Materialized Knowledge.” We are fortunate to have the rare opportunity for such a course. It will combine notions and methods of the history of science, art and ideas with a focus on Louvain and Antwerp as centers of production of scientific instruments such as astrolabes, armillary spheres, astronomical rings and sundials in specific intellectual milieux.
     

  • New Book Co-Authored by Julia Bryan-Wilson

    Art in the Making: Artists and their Materials from the Studio to Crowdsourcing was released in June 2016 by Thames and Hudson. A book launch event will be held at the Berkeley Art Museum on October 6 (more information to come!).

     

  • Sojourner Truth Exhibition at Berkeley Art Museum

    The Berkeley Art Museum will be mounting an exhibition, Sojourner Truth, Photography, and the Fight Against Slavery, based on the materials used by Darcy Grimaldo Grigsby for her book, Enduring Truths: Sojourner's Shadows and Substance (University of Chicago Press, 2015). The exhibition is scheduled to run from July 27 to October 23, 2016; see the UC Berkeley press release for more information about it and a good brief review of the exhibition, "How Sojourner Truth Used Photography to Help End Slavery" is at Smithsonian.com; it's included in the August 12th KQED The Do List (starting at 3:04).

  • Celebrating Graduate And Undergraduate Students 2015-2016

    Undergraduate Awards

    Verenice Ramirez
    Getty Undergraduate Multicultural Internship

    Ramon de Santiago
    Haas Scholar - twenty highly qualified, academically talented undergraduates come together to build a supportive intellectual community during their final year at UC-Berkeley
    McNair Scholar - prepares selected UC Berkeley undergraduates for graduate study

    Ryan Serpa
    Summer Undergraduate Research Award - to conduct research in the eastern United States for an honors thesis on Bay Area Figurative Painting, advised by Darcy Grimaldo Grigsby

    Gabriella (Nunez) Wellons
    George A. Miller Scholar - provides outstanding community college transfer students with a research and community service stipend

    Jessy Bell
    Mathilde Andrews
    Berkeley's Institute of International Studies (IIS) Undergraduate Merit Scholarship supports undergraduate research in any area of international studies.

    Graduate Pre-doctoral Fellowships/Awards

    Sarah Cowan
    Fellowship for Research at Emory College; Mellon Curatorial Internship Award

    Jessica (Jez) Flores
    CASVA Summer Travel Award for American Art Historians

    Andrew Griebeler
    Dumbarton Oaks Dissertation Fellowship
    Townsend Fellowship
    CASVA Finley Award

    Elizabeth McFadden
    Kress Institutional Fellowship: will be in residence for two years at the Courtauld Institute, London

    Katherine (Kappy) Mintie
    Peter Palmquist Memorial Fund for Historical Photographic Research
    Junior Fellow Program at the Library of Congress

    Aleksandr (Sasha) Rossman
    Konstanz Three Year Dissertation Fellowship

    Andrew Sears
    John Boswell Dissertation Grant from the Medieval Academy of America
    Fellowship at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz - Max-Planck-Institut in the "Ethics and Architecture Research Group"

    Miriam Said
    Frances Markoe Fellowship at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, hosted in the Department of Near Eastern Art

    Emma Silverman
    Henry Luce/ACLS Dissertation Fellowship in American Art
    Smithsonian Predoctoral Fellowship in American Art

    Grace Harpster
    Getty Predoctoral Fellowship
    RSA Rensselaer W. Lee Research Grant

    Graduate Postdoctoral Fellowships/Awards

    Charles (Ollie) O'Donnell
    Kunsthistorisches Institut Postdoctoral Award

    Stephanie Pearson
    Getty Postdoctoral Fellowship (declined)

    Justin Underhill
    U.C. Berkeley, Digital Humanities Postdoctoral Award

    Elaine Yau
    Connecticut College, C3 Postdoctoral Award

    Job Placements

    William Ma
    Lewis and Clark College, One year appointment as Visiting Assistant Professor

    Stephanie Pearson
    Curatorial Assistant, Institut fur Klassische Archaologie der Freien Universitat Berlin

    Kailani Polzak
    Williams College, Tenure Track Position, initially a two-year C3 Postdoctoral Fellowship

    Jordan Rose
    UC San Diego, Tenure Track Position
     

  • Exhibition: The Papyrus in the Crocodile

    150 Years of Excavation, Exploration, Collection, and Stewardship at Berkeley

    May 6 – July 29, 2016
    Bancroft Library Gallery, University of California, Berkeley
    (The Gallery is open M-F, 10 am to 4 pm; closed weekends and administrative holidays)

    The collections assembled by Berkeley’s many patrons and collectors during the last 150 years form the foundation of research materials related to a variety of the university’s academic disciplines. The Papyrus in the Crocodile embodies Berkeley’s motto fiat lux (“let there be light”) by illuminating a selection of these invaluable objects as testaments to the cosmopolitan ideologies of Berkeley’s visionary patrons and donors—whose own lives were scarcely less fascinating than the archeological, ethnographic, and aesthetic materials they amassed. By gathering together artifacts from repositories across the university, this exhibition sheds light on the history of acquisitions and encounters that have contributed to the academic diversity celebrated on the Berkeley campus; and recognizes the remarkable men and women who enthusiastically answered the call of University President Benjamin Ide Wheeler to collect for the sake of research and the creation of new knowledge.

    The Papyrus in the Crocodile begins by highlighting Phoebe Apperson Hearst, one of the university’s greatest contributors, and the exceptional collections compiled under her patronage. In 1899, Hearst funded an expedition organized by Egyptologist George A. Reisner, who hired Oxford papyrologists Bernard P. Grenfell and Arthur S. Hunt. As they excavated an Egyptian necropolis in the sands of ancient Tebtunis, they uncovered over 31,000 papyrus fragments, including second-century BCE texts stuffed into mummified crocodiles. The artifacts from that excavation entered the university’s new Museum of Anthropology (since renamed the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology) and many of the papyrus texts went to The Bancroft Library, where they are now housed at the Center for the Tebtunis Papyri.

    For the young California university, founded in 1868, the turn-of-the-century expeditions to the far corners of the world returned with materials that propelled Berkeley forward as a beacon of research and learning on par with many of its more established East Coast and European counterparts.

    This exhibition showcases the diverse nature of Berkeley’s collections, which span multiple continents, represent diverse cultures, and encompass a wide range of materials and media. For example, Phoebe Hearst’s Chinese robes and costume accessories later served as pedagogical devices for young women at the YWCA and as reference materials for Berkeley’s Design Department. After the dissolution of the Design Department, the robes came to the Hearst Museum of Anthropology. The photographs, ritual objects, and ephemera collected by Theos Bernard, “the White Lama,” straddle the divide between entertainment and ritual, the secular and the religious. He incorporated pan-Asian objects and philosophies into his work and everyday life, and was a key figure in the dissemination of Eastern esoteric practices in the West. History unfolds before the viewer in the case of the Codex Fernández Leal, a twenty-foot long sixteenth-century illustrated scroll that documents Mesoamerican history and culture. Earthenware pots and woven baskets demonstrate the diversity of indigenous cultures stretching from South America to the Californian coastline. Combined with photographs, maps, and paintings, these objects attest to ethnographic and commercial interactions between indigenous cultures and Western explorers, merchants, scholars, and settlers.

    Natural history prints and paintings show how artists and scientists turned their attention to the natural world, combining the arts of illustration with empirical observation. Arts and Crafts books and interior designs detail domestic manifestations of this age of exploration in aestheticized natural motifs. Garden designers harnessed the life cycle of plants from around the world, to shape, color, and ornament the private landscape of home and garden.

    The collections on display in the exhibition are not only beautiful, but they also continue to serve the research needs of students and scholars at Berkeley and around the world. The Center for the Tebtunis Papyri provides primary research materials for the Advanced Papyrological Information System (APIS) Project. Hand-printed and hand-bound Arts and Crafts books, collected and donated by advertising executive Norman H. Strouse, are used in Berkeley classes taught at The Bancroft Library on the history of printing and the hand-printed book. The garden designs of Gertrude Jekyll, at the Environmental Design Archives, have made possible the restoration of Jekyll’s gardens in England. Berkeley’s stewardship of these collections has extended their lives beyond the moment of their creation and collection so that they continue to provide research opportunities across disciplines and departments, from Classics to anthropology, from art history to zoology, from religious studies to design. This unprecedented exhibition brings to light many objects never before seen by the public, and prompts both the public and new generations of scholars to engage with these remarkable collections in formulating and answering research questions.

    This exhibition is the capstone event of a three-year grant for Graduate Study in Curatorial Preparedness and Object-Based Learning from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Curated by students in the Mellon Exhibition Graduate Seminar, The Papyrus in the Crocodile represents the culmination of a year’s worth of research, selection, organization, and writing by students representing the fields of art history, anthropology, history, and religion. Co-taught by Professors Margaretta Lovell and Patricia Berger from the History of Art Department, the class began with whirlwind tours through Berkeley campus collections. Students gazed upon the painted faces of Egyptian coffins, delighted in the strains of Mozart pulled from a Baroque violin, marveled at the delicate well-provenanced creatures preserved in specimen jars, and pondered the possibilities of unrealized architectural plans. They met individually with curators from each repository to begin creating a list of objects for exhibition, and learned firsthand the meticulous process of compiling object lists—striking a balance between aspiration and feasibility—preparing loan agreements, writing labels, and designing compelling object groupings.

    The students of the Mellon Graduate Exhibition Seminar extend their gratitude to the directors and curators of the lending institutions, without whom this exhibition would not have been possible. Materials and consultations have been generously provided by the Bancroft Library, the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology, the C.V. Starr East Asian Library, the Environmental Design Archives, the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, and the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. Special thanks go out to The Bancroft Library for the use of its gallery and the invaluable tutoring on industry standards for exhibition planning offered by its staff.

    The project website can be found here.
     

     

  • Lauren Kroiz Wins Essay Award

    Assistant Professor of Art History Lauren Kroiz received the 2015 Patricia and Phillip Frost Essay Award for her article “‘A Jolly Lark for Amateurs’: John Steuart Curry’s Pedagogy of Painting.” The article was published in the spring 2015 issue of American Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s peer-reviewed journal for new scholarship. The Frost Award recognizes excellent scholarship in the field of American art history by honoring an essay that advances the understanding of the history of the arts in America and demonstrates original research and fresh ideas.

    The Jurors who selected Kroiz’s article wrote that it “offers a refreshing, innovative approach to 1930s art, especially Regionalist art, and the complex cultural politics of Regionalism as a locus of anti-fascism, as well as an important site for dialogue between ‘serious’ art and the world of amateurs. In this, it suggests transversal connections with other domains of art and cultural history of the 20th-century, such as photography, cinema and art education, and proposes a promising lead for American art history more broadly.”

    See the Smithsonian’s full press release here.

  • 2016 Commencement Exercises

    History of Art's commencement will be held on Monday, May 16 at 9:00 a.m. in the Auditorium at BAMPFA. Students and their families may contact our Undergraduate Advisor for tickets. This year's commencement speaker is Rue Mapp, Founder of Outdoor Afro, and an alumna of this department (2009).