Exhibition | Benjamin West: General Wolfe and the Art of Empire

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on October 22, 2012

From UMMA:

Benjamin West: General Wolfe and the Art of Empire
University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor, 22 September 2012 — 13 January 2013

Benjamin West, The Death of General Wolfe, 1776 (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)

How is it that an American painter came to define the British Empire? Benjamin West’s iconic painting The Death of General Wolfe (1776) depicts the death of James Wolfe, the British commander at the 1759 Battle of Quebec, one of Great Britain’s most famous military victories, during what in this country is known as the French and Indian War. In conflating a momentous contemporary event with the genre of large-scale history painting, West flouted the conventions of academic painting and the work became one of the most celebrated paintings in Britain. The artist went on to produce six versions of the painting, one of which belongs to the William L. Clements Library at the University of Michigan. Through approximately 40 works, from Michigan, Canadian, and British collections, this ambitious and thematically focused exhibition will include the Clements canvas as well as other depictions of James Wolfe and his death on the battlefield. A fully illustrated catalogue published by the Museum as part of its UMMA Books series accompanies the exhibition.

Exhibition | Discovering Eighteenth-Century British America

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on October 22, 2012

From UMMA:

Discovering Eighteenth-Century British America: The William L. Clements Library Collection
University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor, 22 September 2012 — 13 January 2013

Mark Catesby, The Natural History of Carolina, Florida, and the Bahama Islands, 1731-43, hand-colored engravings (William L. Clements Library, 16791)

This significant exhibition provides glimpses of British America in the 1700s and is designed to complement the Museum’s concurrent exhibition Benjamin West: General Wolfe and the Art of Empire, which features the Clements collection’s major painting The Death of General Wolfe. William L. Clements assembled an outstanding array of primary sources on North America dating between 1492 and 1800, with a heavy emphasis on early European exploration and discovery and the eighteenth-century wars for control of the continent. The exhibition features a mix of rare items from Mr. Clements’s original donation and pieces the Library has acquired since 1923 to complement and enhance its strength in eighteenth-century American history.

This exhibition is part of the UM Collections Collaborations series, co-organized by and presented at UMMA and designed to showcase the renowned and diverse collections at the University of Michigan. The UM Collections Collaborations series is generously supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Display | The Geometry of War: Fortification Plans

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on October 22, 2012

From the University of Michigan:

The Geometry of War: Fortification Plans from Eighteenth-Century America
William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan, 15 October 2012 — 15 February 2013

The eighteenth century was a time of intensive military activity in Europe and in the Americas. Much of this centered on fortified towns or positions. The period from the 1680s to the French Revolution has been called the “classic century of military engineering,” a time when earlier forms of artillery fortifications were perfected and frequently tested in battle.

Designing, constructing, and recording fortifications was the job of the military engineer. He followed well-tested principles of design, based on geometry, to construct fortified places. These were recorded in detailed plans, many of surprising beauty and complexity. The Clements Library is rich in examples, manuscript and printed, and offers a sample illustrating the science of fortification in eighteenth-century America.

Conference | The Cultural History of Cartography

Posted in conferences (to attend) by Editor on October 22, 2012

From the conference website:

The Cultural History of Cartography
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 25-26 October 2012

This two-day interdisciplinary symposium on the cultural history of cartography intends to facilitate discussion among scholars of history, art history, literary criticism, area studies, and architecture and urban planning. To develop comparative modes of inquiry, each panel will address specific concerns across geographical spaces and temporal periods. Topics include the relations of mapmaking, map reception, and map use to perception, fantasy, temporality, indigeneity, travel, migration, the slave trade, colonialism, citizenship, costume books, and poetry and drama. The symposium is free and open to the public.

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T H U R S D A Y ,  2 5  O C T O B E R
Palmer Commons, Forum Hall

9:00  Welcome
Valerie Traub, Karl Longstreth, Brian Dunnigan, and Kevin Graffagnino

9:15  Travel, Commerce, Tourism
Chair:  Scotti Parrish
• Jordana Dym: “‘A Prick’d Line’: Route Maps and Travel Accounts, 1600-1930”
• Laura Williamson Ambrose: “Moved to Travel: Dislocation and Domestic Mobility in Anna Trapnel’s Report and Plea
• Jyotsna Singh:“Cartographies of the Guinea Coast and the Early Modern Slave Trade”
• James Akerman: “Rivers, Roads, and Rails: Travelers and Maps in the Early United States”

11:15  Break

11:30  Technologies
Chair: Mary Pedley
• Stephanie Leitch: “Us and Them: Vespucci’s Triangle and the Geometry of Difference”
• Lydia Soo: “Early Modern Maps of London”

12:30  Lunch

1:30  The History of Cartography Project
Chair: Karl Longstreth
• Mary Pedley
• Matthew Edney

2:00  Difference, Similarity, Classification
Chair: Ellen Poteet
• Marjorie Rubright: “The Il-logic of Location: Getting Lost in Early Modern Atlases”
• Susan Schulten: “Mapping the Population in the Aftermath of the American Civil War”
• Martha Jones: “Race, Space, and Citizenship in Antebellum Detroit: Rethinking the Power of Maps”

3:30  Break

3:45  Ornamentation
Chair: Betsy Sears
• Kathryn Will: “Mapping the Heraldic Field”
• Ann Rosalind Jones: “Allegories of the Continents in Sixteenth-Century Costume Books”

F R I D A Y ,  2 6  O C T O B E R
University of Michigan Museum of Art, Helmut Stern Auditorium

10:00  Welcome
Valerie Traub and Karl Longstreth

10:15  Maps, Theater, and the Literary
Chair: Valerie Traub
• Gavin Hollis: “‘Bed Work, Mappery, Closet War’: Shakespearean Anti-Cartography”
• Julia Carlson: “Poetry, Print Culture, and the Making of the ‘Lake-District’”
• Jonathan Zwicker: “Stage and Spectacle in an Age of Maps: Kabuki and the Cartographic Imagination in Nineteenth-Century Japan”

11:45  Relocate to 1014 Tisch Hall for panel and lunch

12:00  Mapping the Americas
Chair:  Michael Witgen
• Neil Safier: “Fugitive Landscapes in Deep Time: Mapping Indigenous Migrations in Amazonia”
• Jon Parmenter: “The Spatial Reconnaissance of Iroquoia, 1600-1775: Who Knew What, and When Did they Know It?”
• Martin Brückner: “Cartography and the Gigantic: Wall Maps, Aesthetics, and Technology in Nineteenth-Century America”

2:00 Relocate to Art Museum

2:30  Perception, Fantasy, Time
Chair: Celeste Brusati
• Gottfried Hagen: “Time and Narrative in Ottoman Maps”
• Bronwen Wilson: “Insular Navigations”
• Tom Conley: “The Baroque Hydrographer”
• Anne Herrmann: “‘Naive Geography’:  Aleksandra Mir’s ‘Switzerland and Other Islands’”

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