Two projects in the Department of History of Art have received grants from the new Digital Humanities at Berkeley initiative.
Professor Lisa Trever submitted a successful proposal to integrate digital components into her fall 2015 course "Mural Painting and the Ancient Americas." This seminar will explore the traditions of palace, temple, and tomb painting in ancient and pre-Hispanic Mexico, Guatemala, Peru, and the American Southwest, as well as modern and contemporary legacies of mural painting in Latin America and the United States. The Course Development Grant will allow the class to experiment with digital technologies for rendering digital models of ancient murals and for capturing site visits to murals in the Bay Area. This project is supported through the collaboration of digital curators and research specialists in the department's Visual Resources Center and the Archaeological Research Facility.
In addition, Professor Elizabeth Honig and the VRC have received funds from the Digital Humanities initiative to create a repurposable platform that can be used to catalog the works of any visual artist. Built using Drupal, this platform will be made freely available to other scholars. This grant w... [show more]
Five members of the Department will present papers at the College Art Association's annual meetings in New York, February 11-14, 2015. Please see the list of titles and abstracts here.
The 2014-15 academic year is off to a strong start with the offering of many new courses. Among them is Professor Darcy Grimaldo Grigsby and Professor Lisa Trever's joint seminar in The Bancroft Library: Photography, Archaeology, and Maya Ruins: The Frenchman Desiré Charnay in Mexico. Here, Grigsby and students examine and describe Charnay's 1859 double plate photograph from the site of Mitla (Oaxaca). Photograph by Lisa Trever.
CALL FOR PAPERS
Modern Money: Aesthetics after the Gold Standard
Department of History of Art
University of California, Berkeley
October 23, 2014
“Money is the root form of representation in bourgeois society.” So T. J. Clark put it in 1999. Almost aphoristic in its phrasing, the sentence turns on the set of questions it raises – about markets and money flows, about value and abstraction, about whom money belongs to, about the “social reality of the Sign” and the effect money has on artmaking. Money becomes a central form – maybe the central form – of life, inescapable and intractable. The conditions that shape our present and the failure of the Left to devise a practicable response have only intensified the urgency of the proposition and the questions that ground its pivot. Our proposition – the proposition of “Modern Money” – is this: that an obscure genealogy of economic thinking known as Chartalism (the coinage, of 1905, belongs to Georg Friedrich Knapp) alters the constitution of that terrain, obliging us in turn to pose Clark’s questions anew, against the orthodoxies (Left and Right) that have crystallized around them, after as it were the gold standard.
Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), ... [show more]
The Department is pleased to welcome Anneka Lenssen as our latest new Assistant Professor, in this case of Global Modern Art. Anneka earned her PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the History, Theory, and Criticism of Architecture and Art program (working with Professor Caroline Jones) and the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture (working with Professor Nasser Rabat). Even before finishing her PhD, she was hired by the American University in Cairo, where she has been directing their new Visual Cultures Program this academic year. Not surprisingly, Anneka’s time in Cairo (and before that in Lebanon and Syria) has given her unprecedented access to her research materials and an up-front seat at major social transformations: Anneka specializes in modern painting, contemporary visual practices, and cultural politics in the Middle East since the Second World War. Her research examines problems of artistic representation in relation to the globalizing imaginaries of empire, nationalism, communism, decolonization, non-alignment, and Third World humanism. Arising from her MIT doctoral dissertation, her current book project is a study of avant-garde painting and the making of Syria as a c... [show more]
Larger than Life—A Tribute to Professor James Cahill
James Cahill Memorial, Berkeley Art Museum, May 10, 2014
We’ve all spent the last months trying to find words to celebrate the life of James Cahill, our sensei, colleague, friend and paterfamilias, a man who was—still is—larger than life. There have been many wonderful formal tributes to him in the press and we have Howard Rogers’ warmhearted biography in your program today, with many more to come in scholarly journals, all testifying to his unrivalled career as a writer and art historian. He received all the highest accolades the field has to offer: the College Art Association’s Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award for Writing on Art in 2007 and the Charles Lang Freer Medal in 2010. Jim was one of only two art historians to be invited to deliver Berkeley’s annual Faculty Research lecture, which he did in 1982. His more-than two-dozen books and catalogs, countless articles and other, more ephemeral writing testify to his unceasing engagement with scholarship. He was a brilliant, original and tireless art historian and, hand-in-hand with this, he was also a great teacher, blessed with exceptional charisma, eloquence and ease and, no small thi... [show more]
From the Yale University Press website:
The renowned Italian painter Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571–1610) established his career in Catholic Rome, making paintings that placed particular importance on sacred relics and the glorification of martyred saints. Beginning with his early works, Caravaggio was intensely engaged with the physical world. He not only interrogated appearances but also experimented with the paint’s material nature. Caravaggio’s Pitiful Relics explores how the artist’s commitment to materiality served and ultimately challenged the Counter Reformation church’s interests. In his first ecclesiastical commission, Caravaggio offered an unconventional representation of martyrdom that collapsed the borders between art, contemporary religious persecution, iconoclasm, and relics in early Christian catacombs. Yet his art controversially and eventually led to a criminal trial. After he had fled from Rome in disgrace, his major altarpiece depicting the death of the Virgin Mary, portraying her mortality rather than her sanctity, was removed. Caravaggio’s materiality came into conflict with chang... [show more]
The Department of History of Art is very sad to report that Professor Emeritus James Cahill, one of the world’s foremost scholars of Chinese painting, died on February 14, 2014, at his home in Berkeley. He was 87. Professor Cahill was a distinguished member of the History of Art faculty at Berkeley for thirty years until his retirement in 1995. He published more than a dozen books and hundreds of articles on Chinese and Japanese art, literally transforming the field. He built an important collection of Chinese and Japanese painting, much of which he gave to the Berkeley Art Museum, and he fostered a generation of students who went on to become teachers and curators around the world. He received multiple accolades from the College Art Association and was awarded the Freer Medal in 2012 for a lifetime of service to the History of Art. James Cahill was a brilliant and eloquent scholar who remained intellectually engaged to the end. He was a man of rare wit and poetry, an immensely generous mentor and colleague—truly one of the immortals. Obituaries have been published by the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times and a brief tribute can be found at the Asia Society website as well.
For more on James... [show more]
Professor Emeritus Peter Selz received the 2014 University of Chicago Professional Achievement Award. Created in 1967, the Professional Achievement Award recognizes outstanding achievement in any professional field. The award honors those alumni whose achievements in their vocational fields have brought distinction to themselves, credit to the University, and real benefit to their communities.