Exhibition | Egyptomania in Houston

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on March 23, 2012

Press release (16 February 2012) from the MFAH:

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 18 March — 29 July 2012

Bow Porcelain Factory, English, Pair of Figures as Sphinxes, ca. 1750. Porcelain (The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, The Rienzi Collection, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Harris Masterson, III)

An exhibition opening at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston March 18, Egyptomania, explores the Egyptian Revivals of the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries through some 40 objects, including photographs, Georgian garden sphinxes, 19th-century “Aegyptian” furniture and Art Deco perfume bottles with pharaoh-head stoppers. The works will be on view through July 29, 2012. “Westerners have long had an enduring romance with the idea of Egypt and its ancient people, of whom only their grand edifices really remain. We are captivated by their poignant narrative and other-worldliness,” said Christine Gervais, associate curator of decorative arts and Rienzi. “Egyptomania captures the way this fascination translates into European and American decorative arts objects,
from clocks, perfume bottles and ceramics to Tiffany glass
and Wedgwood.”

The fascination for Egypt has been repeatedly rejuvenated. Napoleon’s Egyptian Campaign (1798-1801), the opening of the Suez Canal (1869) and the 1922 discovery of King Tutankhamun’s tomb by English archaeologist Howard Carter all intoxicated the public, resulting in the reflection of Egyptian influences in Western culture, including literature, art and architecture. The exhibition focuses primarily on such trends in the decorative arts, where the influence can be seen in design motifs and symbols, as well as in actual forms. (more…)

Announcing: The 18th-Century Common

Posted in resources by Editor on March 23, 2012

One aim of Enfilade has been to help bridge the divide between academics and a much larger world also interested in the eighteenth century. While the site is intended to serve scholars, I’ve always hoped to make others welcome here, too. With that spirit of inclusiveness in mind, I’m especially excited to hear about The 18-Century Common. The following announcement from Jessica Richard appeared on the C18-L listserv. -CH

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I want to announce and solicit contributions to a new public humanities website called The 18th-Century Common which will debut at ASECS. The 18th-Century Common is a joint project of scholars and students of the long eighteenth century at Union College and Wake Forest University and is funded by the Wake Forest University Humanities Institute.

The aim of the website is to present the published work of eighteenth-century scholars to a general audience. Our initial focus is Richard Holmes’ popular book The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science (2009). This book captured the imagination of the general reader, but it omits the more complex contexts that scholarly accounts offer. We hope to provide general readers an accessible view of those contexts, and to move beyond Holmes’ book to the wide range of eighteenth-century studies. The site will feature short versions of published scholarship written for a general audience, as well as links to related resources, texts, and images around the web for readers who want to explore further.

We think this is the beginning of an exciting opportunity to reach the interested nonacademic, nonstudent readers who made Holmes’ book a bestseller, to “translate” what we do and to reach out beyond the academy as digital platforms in the humanities make particularly possible. We’ll be demonstrating the site near the registration table at ASECS Thursday and Friday; please stop by and chat with us. We encourage you to contact us if you are interested in contributing to the site or have ideas about how it can develop.

–Jessica Richard: richarja@wfu.edu and Andrew Burkett: burketta@union.edu

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