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.

Fall 2014

Travis Chamberlain, “’Performance Archiving Performance’ at the New Museum: Reevaluating the Museum’s Responsibility for Documenting and Archiving Performance”
Tuesday, October 21
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 2015

Between, Among, and Across: Transhistories of the Visual
February 27-28 2014
Elon University

CALL FOR PAPERS: As we expand the study of art history across regions and periods in an increasingly less Eurocentric and Enlightenment-based model, we strive for better ways to reconsider chronological and geographic approaches to writing and teaching the histories of visual objects even those that might be European or made in the context of the Enlightenment. We seek papers that are transhistorical, transchronological, and/or transnational. We anticipate presentations that address these concerns creatively, rigorously, contingently, and/or in a questioning frame of mind. Please submit an abstract of up to 500 words and your CV to by July 11, 2014.

Friday, February 27

2:20-3:30: Reception & Conference Registration
3:30-6:30: Alumni Papers
7:00-8:00: Keynote Speaker
8:00-9:30: Dinner

Saturday, February 28

8:30: Conference Registration
9:00-12:00: Papers with respondent
12:00-1:30 Lunch (on own)
3:00-5:00 Papers with respondent
7:00: Dinner

Sunday, March 1

Breakfast and optional excursion


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."