Art History Speaker Series

Since 2003, Elon’s art history program sponsors a speaker series that has brought world-renowned art historians to campus. With several talks scheduled per year, the series gives students an opportunity to interact with the major scholars in the field. Past speakers include: Timon Screech, Norman Bryson, Terry Smith, Carol Duncan, Barbara Abou-el-Haj, Frank K. Lord, esq., Rebecca Brown, Carol Mattusch, John Neff, Gennifer Weisenfeld, Rebacca Martin Nagy, Dorothy Verkerk, Judith Rodenbeck, Rachael Ziady DeLue, David M. Lubin, Mary D. Sheriff, James Elkins, and Jaroslav Folda. Students are encouraged to recommend scholars they wish to meet.

Spring 2015

Friday, February 27

Jill H. Casid, “Art History on the Hyphen”
Keynote Speaker for Between, Among, and Across: Transhistories of the Visual
La Rose Digital Theatre (KOBC 101), 7:00 pm

The history of art is not one. Rather, taken from the vantage of what might seem deeply and canonically Western, that is, that classic of the academic painting tradition Ovid’s Metamorphoses, the history of art is already positioned on the transitive, altering, and globalizing hyphen. Through a series of propositions and case studies that move transhistorically but also globally, Casid demonstrates how re-versings of this Roman imperial text’s metamorphic scenes across a range of media work the sly and destabilizing, transformative properties of hyphenation. The ostensible foundations and origins of the Western canon of art history also shake the very ground of tradition.

The talk builds on Casid’s scholarship which has been dedicated to developing, both theoretically and historically, how imagination functions as a materializing social and political activity that shapes not just experience of a body, globe, or world but also the very matter that images might seem merely to represent. From transplantation as the engine of empire to the scene of projection as a pedagogical device that produces its subject, her research pursues the role of imaging in shaping the global.

A historian, theorist, and practicing artist, Jill H. Casid is currently Professor of Visual Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she founded and served as the first director of the Center for Visual Cultures. She received her B.A. with honors from Princeton, her M.A. from the Courtauld Institute of Art at the University of London, and her Ph.D. at Harvard. Her contributions to the transdisciplinary field of visual studies include Sowing Empire: Landscape and Colonization (Minnesota, 2006) and Scenes of Projection: Recasting the Enlightenment Subject (Minnesota, 2015) and the coedited volume Art History in the Wake of the Global Turn (Yale, 2014).
8:00-9:30: Dinner

Wednesday, April 22nd

Karen Overbey, Associate Professor of Art History at Tufts University
"Memory and Material: Medieval Reliquary Jewelry”
La Rose Digital Theatre (KOBC 101), 6 pm

Overbey’s talk will focus on the "long histories” of medieval reliquary jewelry. Made originally in the 7th century, these objects were refashioned in the 8th, 10th, 12th, and 14th centuries. Rather than understand these objects just as "medieval," we should understand them as implicated in history and art history over centuries. This talk is an extension of  Overbey’s recent book project, Broken Things, which takes up these trans-temporal isues through objects such as the 14th-century images of Anglo-Saxon saints, and a 12th-century Welsh shrine that was rebuilt in the mid-20th century. Overbey’s first book, Sacral Geographies (Brepols, 2012), focuses on how kings, churchmen, and other influential patrons shaped the cult of the saints at the same time they shaped the kingdoms and narratives of medieval Ireland.

Art History Speaker Series

Admission is free and open to the public.

Fall 2014

Tuesday, October 21

Travis Chamberlain, “’Performance Archiving Performance’ at the New Museum: Reevaluating the Museum’s Responsibility for Documenting and Archiving Performance”
Yeager Recital Hall, 6 p.m.

Travis Chamberlain is the Associate Curator of Performance at the New Museum in New York City as well as a New York Times-recognized director and producer whose recent work explores issues of legacy in contemporary performance through various forms of public engagement. In 2013, he was named one of Blouin Art Info’s “10 Cutting-Edge Curators From Around the World.” One of his recent curatorial events, “Performance Archiving Performance”, was a multi-platform presentation of projects that engage archive as medium, including work by a canary torsi, Jennifer Monson, Julie Tolentino, and Sara Wookey. Within these artists’ projects, the acts of recording, storing, indexing, and redistributing are as much a part of the work as the performance itself. As a result, the site of performance—its position in time, space, and form—is placed in question so that the actual process of archiving may be interpreted as its own mode of performance, its own singular event. Presented as part of New Museum’s 2013 Fall “Archives” Season organized by the Department of Education and Public Engagement, “Performance Archiving Performance” included an exhibition of these projects, an accompanying series of residencies, open studios, an experimental study program for teens, a workshop for families, published dialogues with the Museum’s Digital Archivist, and a lineup of performances and public talks with artists, curators, and scholars. Together these platforms provided an opportunity to reassess the role of archives and the Museum’s responsibility for their evolving forms. For this talk, Chamberlain will share a virtual walk-thru of the entire “Performance Archiving Performance” project and discuss the impact it continues to have on the Museum’s own performance document. Art History Speaker Series

Spring 2014 

Erica Rand, “Hip Check: Queer Experiments in Looking and Writing”
Tuesdsay, March 11
La Rose Digital Theater (KOBC 101)

Erica Rand’s book Red Nails, Black Skates: Gender, Cash, and Pleasure on and off the Ice (Duke, 2012) was an experiment in writing, thinking, and connection, an attempt to step away from disciplinary conventions about argumentation, articulation, and objects of study. This talk begins in a gift offered across numerous divides—rural/urban, female/femme, hips shaped and shapely—to reflect further on writing with visual culture. She focuses especially on queer and gendered dimensions of material and conceptual heft, including received notions of serious intellectual labor and, conversely, of fluff, that may harbor external or internalized sexism or anti-queerness, among various prejudices about what meaning-making and whose meaning-making matters.


Art History Speaker Series
Admission is free and open to the public.

Fall 2013

Asa Mittman, “Are the Monstrous Races ‘Races’: Representing Difference in Medieval Art"
Thursday, October 10
Yeager Recital Hall, 6 p.m.

Dr. Asa Mittman is Associate Professor of Art History at California State University, Chico. He is the author of Maps and Monsters in Medieval England, co-author ofInconceivable Beasts: The Wonders of the East in the Beowulf Manuscript, and Research Companion to Monsters and the MonstrousThis talk will examine images of and text about the "monstrous races" -- as well as current critical race theory -- in an effort to determine if they are indeed "monstrous races," and if we should retain or reject this characterization. The so-called "Monstrous Races" have been a popular feature of literature and art since the Ancient Greek period, when Herodotus included descriptions of cyclopses, cynocephali, and werewolves in his influential Histories. The fascinating descriptions of these wonders, believed to dwell in the distant and mythologized "East," were repeated by Pliny the Elder in his Natural Histories, and from there, became widely distributed in the ancient and medieval worlds. In recent years, they have received great and much deserved attention from scholars, but one important element has remained almost wholly absent from such discussions. They are, again and again, referred to as "monstrous races," and while scholars have paid close attention to their status as monsters, we have not interrogated their status as "races."  Are they races? What could this term mean for medieval audiences, and how does its use influence modern perceptions of these beings? 

Art History Speaker Series
Admission is free and open to the public.

Fall 2012

Dr. Jonathan D. Katz, "Queer Before Stonewall: Art, Eros and The Sixties"
Tuesday, October 2
Yeager Recital Hall, 6pm

Dr. Katz is co-curator of Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture, the first queer exhibition ever mounted at a major US museum. He directs the doctoral program in Visual Studies at the University at Buffalo and is presently completing a new book, The Silent Camp: Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg and the Cold War, to be published by the University of Chicago Press. This lecture explores why in the art world of the late 50s and 60s, before difference was particularized, specified, embodied, and made over into artistic identity, a single, universal human capacity—Eros—was elevated to determining status and made ground for a global politic of social liberation. For a few short years, a diverse group of artists, female and male, queer and straight, as different as Richard Hamilton, Lygia Clark, Franz West, Andy Warhol, Yoko Ono and Carolee Schneemann produced an art that, in politicizing the body while obfuscating its signs of differentiation, paradoxically engendered the very specific contemporary social categories like feminist and queer that now obscure Eros’ formative and foundational role.

Art History Speaker Series
Admission is free and open to the public.

Spring 2012

Martin Kemp, "Lost Works by Leonardo? Questions of Attribution"
Arts West, Room 126
April 3rd

Martin Kemp, Emeritus Professor in the History of Art, Trinity College, Oxford and author of Leonardo and Christ to Coke: How Image Becomes Icon, will discuss intersections of art history and forensic science in the attribution of recently discovered works to Leonardo da Vinci.  A light reception will follow the talk.

 

 

Art History @ Elon: A Symposium
La Rose Digital Theatre, Koury Business Center, Room101, 4:00 p.m.
February 17th

A presentation of recent scholarship by Elon's Art History faculty: 

  • Dr. Evan A. Gatti, “The Bishop’s Two Bodies & the Image In-Between”
  • Dr. Richard Liebhart, “Deconstructing the Architecture of the Wooden Tomb Chamber of Tumulus MM at Gordion”
  • Dr. Robert Mayhew, “Patterns and Preferences in the Consumption of Paintings on Paper, Cloth and Panel in Sixteenth-Century Antwerp ”
  • Dr. Vanessa Schulman, “New World, Old Narratives: British History in Antebellum American Painting ”
  • Dr. Kirstin Ringelberg will serve as moderator. 

A reception will follow.  This event is free and open to the public.

Fall 2011

Sigrid Danielson, "Hands and Temperaments: Art History and the Early Medieval Artist"
September 27
Yeager Recital Hall, 6 p.m.

Is it possible to discuss early medieval artistic identity? Danielson explores the ways scholars have worked to attribute early medieval objects with their makers and centers of production. During the first decades of the twentieth century, art historians regularly employed the themes of nationalism and authenticity to characterize those relationships. Far more than exercises in connoisseurship, these elaborate schemas often replaced the absent biography with narratives that served a variety of regional interests.  

Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw, "Righting Biography: Race, Religion, and the Internet in the Revision of American Art History"
October 24
Yeager Recital Hall, 6 p.m.

How has the internet age changed the possibilities for the writing of American art history? Can ever-increasing access to census records, maps, and books significantly change our approaches to studying works of art and the lives of the artists who made them? This talk investigates the ways that newly digitized archives and reference materials can change our understanding of artists who might otherwise have remained enigmas and works that have existed without explanation through an in-depth discussion of the Harlem Renaissance-era artist Sargent Johnson and his 1940 lithograph "Singing Saints."